We can define the period of prehistory as the part of history that involves the life of primitive man , from when he made his appearance on Earth, until the moment when writing was invented . It comprises one of the longest periods in the development of humanity, during which the first progress took place , the creation of language and the domestication of animals and plants. Two important stages that we will see later make up prehistory, the stone age and the age of metals.


What is Prehistory?

Prehistory is the period of human life that spans from the appearance of the first man in the world until the invention of writing in 3,000 BC.



The prehistory stage is a period of human life that begins with the appearance of man on the face of the earth and that is known or characterized by having had a large number of vestiges such as instruments, constructions, paintings rock and bones. Prehistory was a period that ended at the time when writing was invented and despite this, there is no exact limit or a certain date, since writing developed little by little throughout all regions. of the planet.


Characteristics of prehistory

The main characteristics that we found in the prehistoric stage were the following:

  • Prehistory was divided into two different stages, one was the stone age and the other was the age of metals .
  • In this period came the invention of tools .
  • The nomadic tribes began to organize .
  • Communication and society were improved .
  • It began the exchange and use of the currency .
  • The inhabitants of prehistory practiced livestock and agriculture .
  • They were polytheists .
  • There were great contributions and advances


Prehistory was a very important stage in the history of man that spanned a period that ranged from the time the first human being appeared on earth until it was invented or until the first features of writing appeared in the world, a process that went away giving little by little worldwide. It was a stage of great changes in the human being, with which he was able to overcome the different adversities and managed to establish a culture that has undergone a process of change over the years. With great advances in agriculture, livestock, housing, politics, society and religion , prehistory was a base time for the development of thepeoples of humanity.

Stages of prehistory

The stone age in prehistory

It was the stage in which man used stone to make his everyday utensils , tools , weapons and instruments . It has two important periods:

  • Paleolithic period : it was the era of the carved stone and goes from the origin of human history to 10,000 years BC.  The stone was used to make knives, points, spears and scrapers. At that time there was a Palaeolithic man who lived in caves and was called a troglodyte . They ate roots, wild fruits, seeds, etc. They were gatherers , hunters and fishermen , they were nomads and they discovered fire . They lived in clans, drawing and painting on the walls and ceilings of caves.
  • Period neolithic : stage was polished stone . The first houses began to be built , megalithic monuments were erected , vegetable fibers were used , such as linen in making fabrics, and clothing began to be used. Agriculture was discovered , the animal-drawn plow was invented and some of them were domesticated, giving rise to livestock . The wheel , exchange and communication appeared . The man became sedentary and there was a better organization of society .

The age of metals

The need to have materials harder than stone created the new moment of humanity that was divided into three ages: the copper age, the bronze age and the iron age.

Featured events

Some of the most outstanding events that we can mention and that happened in prehistory are the following:


The economy that existed in the prehistoric period was carried out through barter in which products were exchanged mainly obtained through hunting , the collection of different roots and fruits . With the passage of time, the inhabitants of prehistory developed this activity more and even used a type of currency made from precious stones or shells .


At the beginning of Prehistory, the political organization in the stone age was organized by the elders , who were priests , witches or even sorcerers . When this stage ends and the metal stage arises , the different clans that ruled the political aspect for many years begin to be created . When this period ended, the different empires had already begun to be established in the cities and authority began to be recognized in the hands of a king .


At the beginning of prehistory, there were no strict hierarchies and the tribes were completely nomadic . The pillar of society at that time was based on the hierarchical order of the family. The only ones who enjoyed the highest hierarchical rank at that time were the elderly . As time went by, some specific social strata and some of the social classifications appeared , thus emerging priests , warriors and peasants , even at the end of prehistory, slaves or prisoners also emerged.of war as they were also known.


The artistic manifestations of prehistory were observed in rock art , furniture and megalithic . Rock art gets its name from the rocky walls of the caves and shelters in which the paintings depicting animals and hunting scenes were made . Furniture art consisted of figures and decorative objects carved from bone , animal hides , or stone, or roughly modeled in clay. In megalithic artThere are monuments made up of large stones , standing alone or combined to form a structure , placed for religious purposes or as a burial , and sometimes as memorials for outstanding events.


It was not actually literature since it appears with the emergence of writing in history, but it refers to cave paintings that were the first manifestations diagrammed using drawings. Depending on the context of the drawings, the stories can be anthropomorphic , theogonic, eschatological , among others.

Inventions and tools of prehistory

The time of prehistory was the era in which tools and some inventions such as fire and shelter arose . They began to use some other utensils such as stone and weapons were made with metals such as gold , copper , bronze and iron . Permanent settlements, agriculture and livestock were invented as well as clothing mainly made from animal skins.


Scientific activities have their origin in prehistory. Despite the fact that at that time man was not capable of philosophizing , situations began to arise in which man had to apply . The use and application occurred before scientific research and originated at this time.


The medical knowledge of prehistory was made by means of two tools, one was paleopathology and the other paleomedicine . Paleopathology studies the different diseases that are present in fossils and mummies . It is believed that the inhabitants of prehistory suffered from diseases such as arthritis and osteoarthritis , trauma , infectious diseases , dental and tumors . The conception of health in prehistory was something supernatural and had no explanation.

They had some surgical techniques such as trepanation with which they pierced skulls and practiced it on both the living and the dead. They performed mutilations such as circumcision and for sacrifices , some plants were used to try to cure diseases and they used magical medicine and black magic .


Prehistory was characterized mainly because its inhabitants had a series of polytheistic beliefs since they believed in many gods. However, it should be noted that during the last stage, and after the social strata evolved, priests and human figures began to be created that began to have a sanctified character . It is in the prehistoric stage when the different funeral rites and burials begin to be born .


In prehistory, agriculture was practiced by means of which they dedicated themselves to the sowing of some vegetables , greens and cereals that at the same time they used for consumption and for food of the inhabitants and that thanks to the advances and evolution of the human being it became more and more extensive . Also, with the invention of livestock and the creation of armaments , some animals that had not been incorporated into the diet before were given way to hunting and fishing .


In prehistoric times, the garment that the inhabitants used was the tail cap , which was a piece of cloth that was passed over the legs and that was tied at the waist with leather. In some towns the weather was very cold and had to be protected from the ravages of the weather, so the nomadic people covered their bodies with leather and animal skins they hunted and these were made a kind of tunic .

The communication

At the beginning, communication was done through gestures or symbols that they made with their own body, probably without sounds , which would appear later. They gave a noise or sound to each thing, adding gestures or body movements , which were specified until a much more formal spoken language was achieved.

Women in prehistory

The women of our genealogy played a fundamental role in the continuity of prehistoric societies and that is why at this time they dedicated themselves to procreating . They took care of children and engaged in small game hunting , fishing or cultivating the field.

Prominent figures

Some of the characters that have stood out in prehistory were:

  • Lucy : it was an Australopithecus afarensis found in Ethiopia in 1974, which was an important discovery, as it was the oldest fossil hominid found at 3 million years, and it was a new species found, it was also known that it walked in a bipedal way .
  • Ötzi : known as the ice man . His condition was perfect because he was mummified by ice, and he was able to keep part of his clothing (cape, vest and boots), weapons (bow and arrows, flint ax) and other objects that he carried (medicinal plants, mushrooms, flint and pyrite to make fire).


Prehistory is one of the most important stages in human history, since it was at that moment that social relations began to satisfy survival through productive activities of collective work. It is the first mode of production , which begins with human evolution until the creation of historical records and metals . In this way, it marks the beginning of the human race as an intelligent species , far superior to other species. It showed that man was capable of acquiring new knowledge and surviving, and was also an important part of the theory of evolution.

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