Introduction to the Prehistory Period: Before history was recorded – 1

Prehistory is the time which holds records of human activity, culture, utilization of stone tools. This time doesn’t see any writings from the citizens, consequently, this period is the primordial period in Ancient history.

 Cavemen told tales around campfires, ice sheets receded, continents formed, the Thames flowed into the Rhine, and the British Channel was the Seine Valley. There was no written record of any of this. Despite the stories that were told, there is no evidence of them.

There may be clues to their content in today’s savages, but the prehistoric history we learn from stone chips and burial mounds belongs to us, not our ancestors.

A thousand-year-old text has been unearthed by archaeologists, who have pushed the boundaries of knowledge into the seemingly impenetrable past. It would mean that the boundaries between archaeology and history would constantly be shifting, resulting in an infinite slew of uncertainty; thus, archaeologists today treat the entire field where they can find any written texts as part of history.

The distinction between History and Prehistory

Therefore, the existence — or permanence — of inscriptions serves as a litmus test for determining if anything is historical or prehistoric, as the possibilities of history depend on it. There is potential for an account even if the inscriptions have yet to be interpreted. The tools are here, and while we may not know how to use them yet, the confident movement of modern scholarship includes them in the area of history and the ones that have already been mastered. They will help us understand the past.

History and prehistory have a distinct flavour of anticipation and achievement, but they don’t necessarily fit the facts. The archaeologist is justified in making this distinction because it is as excellent as any found so far and does not put undue demand on one’s faith.

As a result, the word “prehistoric” should not be used to refer to the previously unrecorded past, as much remains unknown about the past, both inside and beyond the field of history.. This appears to be the case at first glance. Even while it may seem that the meaning has shifted, the hieroglyphs were once unread, and the key to deciphering them was purportedly lost for all eternity when history did not extend beyond the Bible and Herodotus. So the first texts restricted the scope of history, as a result.

Symbolism and significance of historical inscriptions, monuments, paintings, etc.

Even the literary archaeologist has only a tiny percentage of the information he needs to piece together his story from inscriptions. In actuality, it is as crucial to the game’s outcome as any other factor. It essentially delineates the distinction between tales about specific individuals and generic movements of peoples or between what is unique and universal. In addition, writing is the only method to preserve historical events out of all the available sources.

It’s impossible to get a complete picture of a person’s life from a monument. Stonehenge’s stone circles show that a large group once worked together to accomplish something spectacular. However, we have no idea what tribe they belonged to or what reason, monumental or religious, they had for concentrating their energies in this manner. All that we have is what we’ve accomplished. Even if a message or sign is linked to the drawing, it does not represent a specific event. If the bison sketched by the Paleolithic cavemen are magical symbols or recollections from the hunt, there is no way to tell.

It’s possible to create a sort of moving-picture narrative using the hieroglyph, which is half-picture, half-writing, and can organize its succession of symbols in various ways. The good themes of history are action and motives, and writing is the only vehicle that can record these.

The dearth of documentation in the prehistoric field means that it can only rely on comparisons between the cultural remains of unknown peoples and the production of similar cultures today to corroborate its results. We’re using anthropology’s comparative method to piece together a timeline that goes back to before recorded history even began.

The lives and society of European men in the old stone age are best illustrated by the Tasmanian savages of a century ago or the African Bushmen of today. A deeper look into Esquimaux’s lifestyle and mental attitude may be revealed by adding bone implements to their crude hunting gear. As a result, the comparative technique evaluates archaeology’s data sources by comparing them to anthropology’s.

Inferences drawn from Prehistoric evidence

Externally similar institutions from many tribes have been extracted from their contexts, massed together, and used as the foundation for broad generalizations about the general pattern of social evolutions; the prehistoric world’s data has then been evaluated in light of the inferences.

In light of these conclusions, these are not historical events but rather hypotheses; some of them may yet be proven by fact and prove to be true. However, the historian must not misunderstand their character. If his study of the historical method has taught him anything, phenomena are never precisely the same outside of their surroundings because the environment is a part of them. The value of an institution is determined by its usage, not by its presence or form.

The comparative technique may reconstruct the prehistoric world’s anthropological history. It can imply manners and conventions and, more importantly for our purposes here, a peep into the mental outlook of peoples who have no recorded history.

Quiz Time: Answer in the comments

Write about is prehistory?
Differentiate between history and prehistory?
What do you mean by hieroglyphs?
Write on the significance of historical inscriptions, monuments, paintings.
What are the inferences drawn from Prehistoric evidence?
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