tare-3571224_1920

Archaeology:

The story of what it

means to be human 

Dating artifacts from the

ancient world with the

archaeological timescale

Human habitation on this Earth is dated by archaeologists according to the tools and technologies used at that time and in that particular place.

Because different cultures around the world adopted these technologies at different times, the dates of the ages vary by location. Also,  archaeologists distinguish between Old World archaeology,  consisting of Africa, Europe, Asia and the Near East and New World archaeology which comprises all of the Americas.

Anthony Bourdain

PALEOZOIC ERA

IRON AGE DWELLING

1200 BCE to 800 AD

IRON AGE

Iron Age dates vary widely by location beginning in 1200 BCE in the Ancient Near East, but not until 100 BCE in Japan. Characterized by the ability to smelt iron ore into steel tools and weapons which were stronger and decorated elaborately. Iron Age people also began to grind grain into flour, developed the potter’s wheel, the loom to create textiles and the lathe to shape wood. Vertebrates first appear on land. Land plants cover the surface of the earth, some in dense forests. 

PALEOZOIC ERA

STONEHENGE BRONZE AGE

3000 BCE to 1000 BCE

BRONZE AGE

The dates of the Bronze Age vary by locality, according to when each respective society began production of bronze tools and weapons. For example, the Near East Bronze Age began about 3000 BCE and not until 2000 BCE in East Asia. The Bronze Age marked the first time humans started to work with metal and bronze tools and weapons replaced earlier stone versions. This time is also characterized by the invention of the wheel, the ox-drawn plow, the development of trade networks and the first forms of writing such as cuneiform script and hieroglyphs. At this time, widespread migrations and trade began in earnest across Europe and in the Mediterranean. 

PALEOZOIC ERA

chalcolithic pottery.jpg

5000 BCE to 3500 BCE

CHALCOLITHIC AGE

Between the Bronze and Stone ages, lies the transitional period when pure copper is first used. Referred to as the Chalcolithic or Copper-Stone Age, and lasting approximately 1,000 years, at this time, people also produced pottery painted with several colors. Crops like barley, wheat and pulses were mostly locally grown, while domestic animals such as sheep, goats, cattle and pigs were raised for meat. Homes were constructed of stone or mudbrick and some were connected by shared walls. Others were built around a central courtyard.

PALEOZOIC ERA

STONE AGE TOOLS

2.5 million years ago
to 3300 BCE

STONE AGE

The Stone Age is characterized by the creation and use of stone tools and weapons and tools made of antler, bone, leather and wood. Because different civilizations developed the use of tools at different times, the beginning and end of the Stone Age varies by location. The use of the term "stone Age" is debated and some archacologists prefer to break this time down into specific periods  called the Neolithic, Mesolithic and Paleolithic Periods, as shown below.

 
 
 

PALEOZOIC ERA

teepee-510233_1920.jpg

11000 BCE to 9500 BCE

ARCHAIC CULTURE

It is believed that upon entry into North America, people migrated on foot and by primitive boat along the coastline. These first people migrated and flourished throughout the Americas and shared a common style of stone tool production, producing arrowheads, dart and spear points made of materials such as flint, obsidian and quartz. Pleistocene mastodons, giant beavers, wooly mammoths and ancient reindeer proliferated, providing hunters with a diet rich in protein, and animal hides for use in clothing and shelter.

PALEOZOIC ERA

bison.jpg

11000 BCE to 9500 BCE

FOLSOM CULTURE

It is believed that upon entry into North America, people migrated on foot and by primitive boat along the coastline. These first people migrated and flourished throughout the Americas and shared a common style of stone tool production, producing arrowheads, dart and spear points made of materials such as flint, obsidian and quartz. Pleistocene mastodons, giant beavers, wooly mammoths and ancient reindeer proliferated, providing hunters with a diet rich in protein, and animal hides for use in clothing and shelter.

PALEOZOIC ERA

clovis point.jpg

11000 BCE to 9500 BCE

CLOVIS CULTURE

It is believed that upon entry into North America, people migrated on foot and by primitive boat along the coastline. These first people migrated and flourished throughout the Americas and shared a common style of stone tool production, producing arrowheads, dart and spear points made of materials such as flint, obsidian and quartz. Pleistocene mastodons, giant beavers, wooly mammoths and ancient reindeer proliferated, providing hunters with a diet rich in protein, and animal hides for use in clothing and shelter.

PALEOZOIC ERA

bering.jpg

11000 BCE to 9500 BCE

PRE CLOVIS CULTURE

It is believed that upon entry into North America, people migrated on foot and by primitive boat along the coastline. These first people migrated and flourished throughout the Americas and shared a common style of stone tool production, producing arrowheads, dart and spear points made of materials such as flint, obsidian and quartz. Pleistocene mastodons, giant beavers, wooly mammoths and ancient reindeer proliferated, providing hunters with a diet rich in protein, and animal hides for use in clothing and shelter.

OLD WORLD TIMESCALE

NEW WORLD  TIMESCALE

PALEOINDIAN CULTURES

 
 

PALEOZOIC ERA

NEOLITHIC PERIOD triskelion

9000 BCE in Near East,
7000 BCE in SE Europe, 6000 BCE in East Asia to 2000 BCE

NEOLITHIC PERIOD

Characterized by the introduction of copper metallurgy, farming, cereal cultivation and animal domestication which led to larger food production. Ample farm food led to sedentary societies, villages and cities and in turn, the development of social and political organizations.

PALEOZOIC ERA

MESOLITHIC PERIOD

9,600 BCE to 7000 BCE
in Central Europe to

4000 BCE in Northern Europe

MESOLITHIC PERIOD

Fossilized remains of late hunter-gathers who used chipped stone tools called microlithic technology.

PALEOZOIC ERA

PALEOLITHIC CAVE ART

2.5 million years ago
to 9600 BCE

PALEOLITHIC PERIOD

Finds from this time include fossilized human remains and stone tools increasing in complexity as time progresses. Artifacts are distinguished by the techniques used, with the earliest—simple choppers and flakes called Oldowan. From 1.7 million years ago, more complex shapes with sharp edges called Acheulean are found. At about 38,000 BCE, the first personal ornaments and cave paintings begin.