6 The End of the Neolithic Era

Image of a greenish-metallic slab of copper.
Minoan copper ingot from Zakros, Crete by Chris 73 is under licensed CC BY-SA 3.0

At least two factors mark the transition from the prehistoric era to the ancient era. The first is the transition from stone to metal. Towards the end of the Neolithic era, copper metallurgy is introduced, which marks a transition period to the Bronze Age, sometimes referred to as the Chalcolithic or Eneolithic Era. Bronze is a mixture of copper and tin, which has greater hardness than copper, better casting properties, and a lower melting point. Bronze could be used for making weapons, something that was not possible with copper, which is not hard enough to endure combat conditions. In time, bronze became the primary material for tools and weapons, and a good part of the stone technology became obsolete, signaling the end of the Neolithic and thus, of the Stone Age.(6)

The second factor is the transition from oral storytelling to writing. Whereas prehistoric peoples depended upon word of mouth and images to pass along their culture and traditions, by 3000 BCE, humans living in Mesopotamians begin creating a written script to record their ideas. With this innovation in human history, the shift from pre-recorded history to recorded history begins.(8)


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