The prehistory is the longest stage in the history of mankind: begins when, about 4 million years ago, human appears and ends about 5,000 years ago (i.e. in 3,000 b.c.), with the invention of writing.
The first men
The human being emerges within an order of mammals which also includes the Apes or rather monkeys: primates. Evolved apes are our ancient ancestors, the hominids (8-5 million years ago), from 4 million years ago appears the Australopithecus, able to walk on only the hind limbs. Succeeded by Homo habilis (2,500,000 years ago), able to fabricate tools. Homo erectus (2 million years ago) "exit" from Africa and knows the use of fire. Most advanced still is Homo sapiens neanderthaliensis (100,000 years ago), which is then supplanted by a different species: Homo sapiens sapiens (40,000 years ago). The earliest stage of human life is referred to as "the stone age" and is divided into three periods: Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic.
During the Paleolithic period (from 3 million years ago – 10.000 b.c.) the man is a hunter-gatherer and takes advantage of natural resources, modifying with rudimentary techniques; use chipped stone tools and know the use of fire.
Is organized in small bands and dedicated to the dead and worship & practice magical ritual for their ancestors; decorate the walls of the caves.
The end of glaciation.
Four major glaciations push men toward new territories to ensure survival. After the last ice age, in a profoundly changed environment, the Mesolithic period (10,000-8,000 BC).
The disappearance of animals hunted by man causes a decline in population that does not impede significant progress: the invention of the bow, the dissemination of fisheries and the domestication of animals, began with a settled lifestyle.
In the Neolithic (8,000 – 3,000 b.c.) spreads a new stone processing (no more chipped but smoothed).
Agriculture was born, bringing major innovations: development, creating containers, spinning and weaving.
The inventions of wheel and boats. The population increases; the first cities and in them there can be noticed or seen a light sketch of Division of labour and private property.
Starting from 6000 b.C. it initiates the processing of metals: copper first then the bronze ("bronze age"), then the iron (iron age – from 1200 BC).