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Ages of Humankind

Since the "ages" are a measurement of humankind's development, the dates are different in Europe and the Americas. The first person to divide human history into a Stone Age, a Bronze Age and and Iron Age was Titus Lucretius Carus (LUCRETIUS), a Roman philosopher and poet (about 95-55 BC).

Stone Age

A period from two million years ago until 4000 BC in Europe. (The equivalent in the Americas was from 30,000BC, when human beings first arrived in the New World, to 2500BC.) This is the earliest of the three prehistoric periods, when stone tools and weapons were used.


Paleolithic (Old Stone Age): Two million BC until the close of the last ice age around 13,000 BC. Chipped stone tools were first used, and hunting and gathering were common. Near the latter part of the paleolithic, specialized implements such as needles and harpoons were used. This was the era of Cro-Magnon man in France, and the source of wall paintings.
[ See also: Gargas | Lacoste | Murs | Sault ]

Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age): after 13,000 BC, when the weather was more clement and food became more readily available. During the latter part of this period, around 8000 BC, the first agricultural villages were developed.

Neolithic (New Stone Age): 6,000 BC - 3,000 BC in Europe and western Asia. From the Greek neos ("new") and lithos ("stone"). The Neolithic Period, or New Stone Age, refers to the second part of the stone age, and represents the time when stone and horn tools were refined by grinding and polishing. During this period there was also the beginning of pottery and some use of copper. Man also first tamed wild animals, used the wheel, weaved, and cultivated crops.
[ See also: Mazan | Vacqueyras ]

Chalcolithic (Chalcolithique) Period

The Chalcolithic is a period of Prehistoric Europe from about 3500 to 1700 BC. Chalcolithic is named from the Greek for copper + stone. This was the transition period between the neolithic and the bronze ages.
[ See also: Comps; Vaison-la-Romaine ]

Bronze Age

Around 1500 BC in Europe. This age describes the time when most tools and weapons were made of bronze, succeeding the earlier stone or copper implements. During this time, agricultural villages evolved into townships. Animals were used for riding and for pulling wheeled vehicles, and trading and shipping began. The plough was developed, along with writing and arithmetic, and men became specialized in their jobs.
[ See also: Sault ]

Iron Age

Around 1000 BC in southern Europe, and later in northern Europe.
[ See also: Vence ]

Hallstatt Culture

Hallstatt Culture: (from about 750 to 450 BC) is characteristic of an early stage of the Iron Age in western Europe (named from an Austrian village). This early part of the iron age is characterized by elaborate funeral rites and is marked by an increasing use of iron and an increasing skill in ironwork. Hallstatt art remains in geometric-patterned ironwork, bronze work and pottery, used especially as grave furniture.
[ See also: St. Rémy ]

La Tène Culture

La Tène Culture is the latter stage of the Iron Age in central and northwestern Europe, from about 450 BC to the subjugation of Gaul by Julius Caesar in 58 BC. La Tène is named from a Celtic site in Switzerland (meaning The Shallows), where a 19th-century discovery was made of many iron weapons, implements, and jewelry. Features of this culture include curvilinear ornamentation (S shapes and spirals) and animal art forms.

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