Prehistory is the period of
time before the invention of
Prehistory refers to the
period of human existence
before the availability of
those written records with
which recorded history
1- What is Prehistory?
Archaeology (from the greek ἀρχαίος «old» or «ancient», and λόγος «study») is the science
that studies human beings through their material remains. It is one of the few disciplines that
collects information about societies that did not know how to write.
Prehistory comprises all
events which took place
before the creation of written
records. The timeline of
prehistory lists events from
the evolution of the universe
and the Earth to the origin of
life and human evolution, up
to the invention of writing in
approximately 3000 BC. Note
that many of these dates are
speculative or very rough
Timeline of prehistory
1- The Stone Age ends with evidence of the earliest known metal implements. It is divided into:
• Palaeolithic Age (2.5 million to 15,000 years ago - a time period that spans 95% of human history).
• Mesolithic Age (15,000 to 11,000 years ago).
• Neolithic Age (11,000 to 6,000-4,000 years ago).
2- The Metal Ages begin when human beings learn to use metals to make objects (about 7,000 years
ago). It is divided into:
• Copper Age
• Bronze Age.
• Iron Age.
VIDEO - VOCABULARY:
-1 million years ago: hace un millón de
-upright walking: caminar erguido
-to coexist: convivir, coexistir
-To look like: parecerse
-to bury: enterrar
.spear head: punta de lanza
What were early human beings like?
It was anatomically a combination of human-like and ape-like
features. It had a rounder cranium housing a large brain and small
teeth, but it also had some ape-like features including relatively
long arms and a strongly sloping face that juts out from
underneath the braincase with a pronounced jaw.
This species, one of the earliest members
of the genus Homo, has a slightly larger
braincase and smaller face and teeth than
in Australopithecus. But it still retains
some ape-like features, including long
arms and a moderately-prognathic face.
Its name, which means ‘handy man’, was
given in 1964 because this species was
thought to represent the first stone-tool
maker. Currently, the oldest stone tools
are dated slightly older than the oldest
evidence of the genus Homo.
Early African Homo erectus fossils are the oldest known early humans to have possessed modern
human-like body proportions with relatively elongated legs and shorter arms compared to the size of the
torso. These features are considered adaptations to a life lived on the ground, indicating the loss of
earlier tree-climbing adaptations, with the ability to walk and possibly run long distances. Compared
with earlier fossil humans, note the expanded braincase relative to the size of the face.
The appearance of Homo erectus in the fossil record is often associated with the earliest handaxes, the
first major innovation in stone tool technology.
Generally considered to have been the first species
to have expanded beyond Africa, Homo erectus is
considered a highly variable species, spread over two
continents (it's not certain whether it reached Europe)
and possibly the longest lived early human species -
about nine times as long as our own species, Homo
sapiens, has been around!
Neanderthals are our closest extinct human relative. Some defining
features of their skulls include the large middle part of the face, angled
cheek bones, and a huge nose for humidifying and warming cold, dry
air. Their bodies were shorter and stockier than ours, another
adaptation to living in cold environments. But their brains were just as
large as ours and often larger - proportional to their brawnier bodies.
Neanderthals made and used a diverse set of sophisticated tools,
controlled fire, lived in shelters, made and wore clothing, were skilled
hunters of large animals and also ate plant foods, and occasionally
made symbolic or ornamental objects.
There is evidence that Neanderthals deliberately buried their dead and
occasionally even marked their graves with offerings, such as flowers.
No other primates, and no earlier human species, had ever practiced
this sophisticated and symbolic behavior.
DNA has been recovered from more than a dozen Neanderthal fossils,
all from Europe.
The species that you and all other living human beings on this planet belong to is Homo sapiens.
During a time of dramatic climate change 200,000 years ago, Homo sapiens (modern humans)
evolved in Africa. Like other early humans that were living at this time, they gathered and hunted
food, and evolved behaviors that helped them respond to the challenges of survival in unstable
Anatomically, modern humans can generally be characterized by the lighter build of their
skeletons compared to earlier humans. Modern humans have very large brains, which vary in size
from population to population and between males and females. Housing this big brain involved
the reorganization of the skull into what is thought of as "modern" -- a thin-walled, high vaulted
skull with a flat and near vertical forehead. Modern human faces also show much less (if any) of
the heavy brow ridges and prognathism of other early humans. Our jaws are also less heavily
developed, with smaller teeth.
Scientists sometimes use the term “anatomically modern Homo sapiens” to refer to members of
our own species who lived during prehistoric times.
-People lived from hunting, gathering and fishing.
-People were nomadic.
- People lived outdoors, in caves or in wood huts.
- They were organised in tribes.
- They made tools and objects of stone.
- They discovered fire.
2- Life in the Paleolithic Age
-New stone instruments.
-They learned how to cultivate plants
and domesticate animals:
.Agriculture was discovered and cereals
(wheat, corn and rice) were cultivated.
.Animals, such as goats, sheep, oxen or
horses were domesticated.
-People started to store food.
-People settled in a fixed place, they
became sedentary and built villages.
4- The Neolithic Revolution
-Most villages were built next to rivers.
-Most villages were encircled by a fence
-They had animal pens and storehouses.
-They started using polished stone.
-They started making textiles.
-They invented pottery.
-Work became specialised.
A social revolution.
Life in the Neolithic Age.
People began to make metal objects
about 7000 years ago.
The first metal they used was copper
(but it was weak), then they used
bronze and iron. They made tools,
weapons and jewellery.
There were three important
5- The Metal Age
-The search for metals to make tools
created new trade routes.
-Trade produced wealth.
-New professions appeared.
-As wealth was divided unequally, social
-Villages became cities, protected by
walls, and with new buildings.
A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either
alone or together with other stones. The word "megalithic" describes structures made of such
large stones, utilizing an interlocking system without the use of mortar or cement.
What were megalithic monuments?
A menhir (French, from Middle Breton: men,
"stone" and hir, "long"), standing stone,
orthostat, or lith is a large upright standing
stone. Menhirs may be found singly as
monoliths, or as part of a group of similar
stones. Their size can vary considerably, but
their shape is generally uneven and squared,
often tapering towards the top. Menhirs are
widely distributed across Europe, Africa and
Asia, but are most numerous in Western
Europe; in particular in Ireland, Great Britain
and Brittany. There are about 50,000
megaliths in these areas
A dolmen, also known as a portal tomb, is a type of
single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting
of two or more upright stones supporting a large
flat horizontal capstone, although there are also
more complex variants. Most date from the early
Neolithic period (4000 to 3000 BC). Dolmens were
typically covered with earth or smaller stones to
form a barrow.
It remains unclear when, why, and by whom the
earliest dolmens were made. The oldest known
dolmens are in Western Europe, where they were
set in place around 7000 years ago. Archaeologists
still do not know who erected these dolmens, which
makes it difficult to know why they did it.
A stone circle is a monument of standing stones
arranged in a circle. Such monuments have been
constructed in many parts of the world throughout
history for many different reasons.
The best known tradition of stone circle construction
occurred across the British Isles and Brittany in the
Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, with over 1000
examples still surviving to this day, including famous
examples like Stonehenge. Another prehistoric stone
circle tradition occurred in southern Scandinavia
during the Iron Age, where they were built to be
mortuary monuments to the dead.
The size and number of the stones varies from
example to example, and the circle shape can be an
DÓLMENES DE ANTEQUERA (MÁLAGA)
Megalithic monuments in Spain
Guía de monumentos megalíticos en España
In this link you can find all the megalithic monuments in Spain by provinces.
Megalithic monuments in Spain
Exercise 5 on page 137.
Exercises 7 and 12 on pages 138-9
Complete exercises 1 and 5 in your book.
Then, make exercises 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 and 11 in your notebook.
ACTIVITY ROUND-UP. Pages 138-9