Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [prehistory]

Prehistory is the span of time of before written history. It often refers to the period of human existence, but in broader terms also includes all time preceding this.

11
votes
3answers
2k views

What was the staple food of the natives of South East Asia before rice?

According to Wikipedia, history of rice, rice was first brought to South East Asia region across the caravan routes of the central Asian steppes. Now many of the subcontinental people of South East ...
2
votes
1answer
81 views

Where are official images and metadata of cave paintings housed?

I have seen a few cave paintings at the British Museum and a couple other museums, but not very many and only of specific types. I also saw Lascaux (French International Center for Cave Art) which ...
1
vote
0answers
99 views

Was currency used in England, before the Roman occupation? [closed]

And if so, were coins from 200 BC were still being used in year 1 AD? If not, how was commerce done?
1
vote
0answers
169 views

Have large human bones been used as measuring instruments?

Have any of the six types of large bones from the arms1 or legs2 of human beings ever been used (to a significant or considerable extent), in ancient or prehistoric times, as measuring instruments for ...
3
votes
1answer
129 views

is Ubaid 0 actually related to Eridu and Ubaid I-IV?

Most sources state 5400 B.C. as the beginning of the Ubaid period. The Ubaid period is further divided by them into Ubaid I-IV. Wikipedia lists Tel El Oueili (6500 B.C.) as "Ubaid 0", thus placing the ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Did Egyptian civilization start from North to South or vice versa?

I've been reading archeological claims that say that the ancient Egyptians came from the South and that the first chiefdoms and kings were in the south. Some also claim that there is a crown of ...
23
votes
1answer
385 views

Why so many early temples on Malta?

Why is there such a concentration of early neolithic temples on Malta? Seven world heritage sites, plus several other significant locations (see Megalithic Temples of Malta) adds up to a lot of ...
6
votes
1answer
188 views

What do we know culturally about Cheddar Man?

There's a lot of press today about a new DNA study of Cheddar Man, who lived about 9,000 years ago in what's now the English county of Somerset. They concentrated on the genes for hair, skin, and eye ...
5
votes
1answer
376 views

Do indigenous Latin Americans share any common “recent” ancestors with the Chinese?

I'm trying to understand this genetic map World map of Y-DNA Haplogroups and reading this article Settlement of the Americas. The article says North America and South America were settled by people ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Why did native americans originally migrate to the Americas?

Native Americans migrated to America around 13000 or 15000 years ago just around the last ice age. I read that during the first wave of migration, they used the Beringia strait to travel across from ...
2
votes
3answers
979 views

Were/are the Gaels, Picts and Britons physically distinct?

Were they only different in culture and language or were there physical differences between the three groups? Did they all belong to the same ethnic group (Celts)? For those who don't understand "...
1
vote
0answers
175 views

Why have so few paleo-Indian skeletons been found?

I recently read Charles C. Mann's 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, Second Edition, and was intrigued by the footnote on page 174: [Aleš] Hrdlička's complaint about the lack of ...
0
votes
1answer
463 views

Intuitive misconceptions [closed]

Are there any ideas that one would have in History intuitively that would be disproven by analysis? On the other hand, are there any intuitive historical ideas that have been verified by historians? ...
1
vote
1answer
196 views

What evidence do we have that disabled people became shamans in pre-historic times?

Ian Crofton writes in 50 world history events you really need to know, regarding division of labour in pre-historic hunter-gatherer societies: Before the coming of farming there was some division ...
3
votes
1answer
159 views

Differences among foraging, cultivation, domestication

I am currently researching the transition from hunter-gathering bands to agricultural communities. I am coming across the word cultivation a lot. It's getting confusing, because sometimes the word ...
7
votes
2answers
283 views

Did humans hunt with dogs before planting crops for food?

Were humans hunting with dogs before they were planting crops?
20
votes
5answers
4k views

Why were there no agricultural, city-state forming civilizations in the Ice Age?

In spite of various fringe historians claiming to have found remains of Ice Age civilizations on lost continents, Atlantis and what not, there is - to the best of my knowledge - no tangible evidence ...
21
votes
1answer
601 views

Is there an accepted explanation for multiple independent “cradles of civilization”?

Human history begins with millions of years of hunter-gathering and lithic technology: The Paleolithic ... is ... distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools ... and covers ...
6
votes
4answers
633 views

Early reasons to bury the dead [closed]

I am curious whether the practice of burying the dead started as a religious ritual or out of concern for public health. I am sure it didn't take much science for the early humans to realize the ...
5
votes
3answers
217 views

What are early archeological clues of humans boiling food?

Over the course of my life I have seen several large, dangerous fires. Unfortunate animals often perish in these. Especially slower ones, such as turtles. Surely, it can not have been difficult for ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

Did Native-Americans Have Horses? [closed]

So I was reading my history text, and it states that horses were likely hunted to extinction in North America. However, many movies and books display Native-Americans as in-tune-with-nature horse-...
2
votes
1answer
693 views

Why is there a gap of information in Russia for human migration?

I've noticed that in a lot of maps for human migration, there's usually a really unspecific arrow pointing from the Iran area that goes through Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia to North America. These ...
1
vote
0answers
76 views

Is the rise of domestication somehow connected to the rise of agriculture? [closed]

I have read in Homo Adaptabilis that the first domesticated animals were wolves captured by nomadic tribes. These tribes then used the wolves as hunting partners. The prey they hunted were deer, much ...
1
vote
0answers
117 views

Is there a process name for islanders becoming unisolated?

Basically I would like to know if there is an official term for the process which an independent island would undertake once reaching the point in societal/technological development to travel to other ...
6
votes
1answer
633 views

What distinguishes the mesolithic period from neolithic and paleolithic?

It seems like neolithic is distinguishable by the fact that it involves the development of agriculture and all of the advancements that came with that. Paleolithic is a very long period that ...
4
votes
2answers
738 views

Were there more than 4 River Valley Civilizations? [closed]

If you graduated U.S. Public School education system(k-12), you might have learned about the 4 great River Valley Civilizations: Indus, HuangHe, Nile, Euphrates. They were basically the birthing ...
4
votes
0answers
77 views

How and when did gold achieve its cultural role? [duplicate]

How and when did gold achieve its cultural role? My assumption is that before some point there is no evidence for a human affinity for gold— and then there is. What happened? Do any other species ...
3
votes
2answers
175 views

Why does the Ħaġar Qim seem to have drilled holes / pitted dots on its stoneworks?

Does anyone has idea/knowledge, why neolithic temple stones would have these small holes? They are facing to sun, other side of the stones is flat. Smaller object were drilled all over, not just one ...
3
votes
2answers
101 views

Request for ancient history video lecture references

I just read a page on the Math Stack Exchange linking pages with videos of Math lectures and would love to have a similar thing for History--hopefully that's an acceptable "question" to ask here. ...
5
votes
3answers
639 views

What caused women to lose their access to resources and become a part of men's possessions with the start of the agriculture era?

I'm reading the book SEX AT DAWN: the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality, the book suggests that in prehistoric times, when homo sapiens were just foraging on the earth, the relation between men ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

What did early humans do with their long hair? [closed]

What did early humans do with their hair? Surely once it got too long it would've become a hindrance, obscuring vision as well as getting caught in plants. Did they do anything to manage it or not?
11
votes
2answers
434 views

Did iron age Britons still use the “ritual” sites built by their neolithic predecessors?

Pre-Roman sites in Britain get lumped together as "ancient", but in reality they span a good couple of thousand years between the neolithic and the iron age. That made me wonder whether there was any ...
3
votes
1answer
134 views

How did first humans build tools? [closed]

I'm referring this question in this way and tell me if I'm wrong: The first humans were just surrounded by: rocks, trees, plants, water, sand, animals, fruits. So how just with hands, mouth, feet ...
2
votes
1answer
377 views

Has anybody a complete list of Obelisks in the World?

I'm interested to see if we can build up a full list of all Obelisks around the world. It would be great to have the coordinates of each location, so I can mark them on Google Earth. Yes, I did do a ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the oldest verifiably correctly translated written work?

How old is the oldest written work where we have translated what is written on it in correctly that is verified? Sigh. I've tried writing that sentence in a way that is understandable and am having ...
2
votes
0answers
171 views

Why are cave paintings so few and rare? [closed]

Just watched a few documentaries about cave paintings. While I acknowledge the importance of discovery, I can't help but question one simple thing - why are there so few paintings in those caves? ...
4
votes
2answers
713 views

Chinese legendary figures with European appearance [closed]

I've been fascinated by the discovery of the Indo-European origin of the mummies in the Tarim basin. This article says: The new finds are also forcing a reexamination of old Chinese books that ...
2
votes
1answer
226 views

Technology and status symbols that predate language [closed]

I remember distinctly reading about peoples and cultures - in, I believe, the Caucasus - that used to knap large flakes of flint into spearheads and would use them (instead of actual tools) as status ...
0
votes
1answer
227 views

Why does the Philippines have little fossil deposits? [closed]

Is there minimal wildlife in the Philippines during pre-history? Why does the Philippines have little amount of fossil deposits? I've known that we have some mammoths that live in the area but what ...
3
votes
1answer
106 views

Does special perception of rhyme by humans indicate importance of poetry in prehistoric era? [closed]

Humans perceive poetry, rhyme and rhythm specifically, it produces some emotions and feelings that prose cannot do. Does this indicate an evolutionary trait that evolved under extensive use of poetry ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Why are there no dogs pictured in paleolithic cave paintings?

It has been described before that the occurence of raindeers is strangely low, while this was the main food source. But isn't it even stranger for dogs? Recent genetic research suggest that dogs were ...
4
votes
0answers
200 views

How come Week days in India match with Western system? [closed]

How come Week days in India synchronize with the week days in Western countries? When did this happen?
6
votes
4answers
961 views

Did people have better nutrition before agriculture?

A lot of proponents of new diets, e.g. Paleo, Primal, Atkins argue that grains have made people unhealthier and life expectancy was much better before the transition to agriculture. Some research ...
6
votes
1answer
188 views

Who is responsible for the oldest known calendar?

What is the oldest known calendar? Where exactly was it developed? Who was responsible for its creation?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What was the main diet of pre-agricultural Asians?

The modern Asian diet is based mostly around rice. Was rice a major part of the paleolithic Asian diet? Did they know how to process and eat rice before agriculture? Aside from meats, what were other ...
11
votes
2answers
566 views

Have the current polar ice caps receded further than those that existed before the beginning of the last Ice Age?

Has science been able to determine from the geologic record how our current ice caps compare to those that existed before before the beginning of the last Ice Age? If so, how do they match up? (I ...
14
votes
4answers
5k views

Has the existence of a matriarchal society really been discredited?

I always thought that there was proof of the existence of matriarchal society in the ancient times but apparently, according to Wikipedia this hypothesis is mostly discredited today. Why? Wiki cites: ...
0
votes
1answer
630 views

Are the Neanderthals a subspecies of Homo sapiens or not? [closed]

For some time, scientists have debated whether Neanderthals should be classified as Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, the latter placing Neanderthals as a subspecies of Homo ...
-2
votes
1answer
480 views

How do we derive information for civilizations from periods before record keeping? [closed]

Civilizations record their history, but how do we derive information for periods before record keeping started? How much do we know for that era of human civilization?
20
votes
2answers
733 views

How does Göbekli Tepe fit into the current picture of society development?

Göbekli Tepe is a huge archaeological site in Eastern Turkey, currently under excavation (make sure you click on "Pictures"). It is one of the oldest architectural complexes in the world, possibly the ...