Prehistoric Europe  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Prehistoric Europe refers to the prehistorical period of Europe, usually taken to refer to human prehistory since the Lower Paleolithic, but in principle also extending to geological time scale - for which see Geological history of Europe.

From the Lower Paleolithic, approximately 1.8 million years ago, and far into the Upper Paleolithic or 20,000 years ago, Europe was populated by Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis. In the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic, from approximately 40,000 to 6,000 years ago, Europe had Homo sapiens hunter-gatherer populations. During the last glacial maximum, much of Europe was depopulated and re-settled, about 15,000 years ago. The European Neolithic begins about 9,000 years ago in southeastern Europe, and reaches northern Europe by about 5,000 years ago.

The European Bronze Age begins from about 2800 BC with the Bell beaker culture. The European Iron Age begins from about 800 BC, spreading to northern Europe by 500 BC. During the Bronze Age, Europe gradually enters the historical period Classical Antiquity. Literacy came to the Mediterranean world from as early as the 8th century BC, while eastern and northeastern Europe remained in the prehistoric period until as late as the Late Middle Ages, around AD 1400, with the Northern Crusades. Thus, much of Europe was in a stage of Proto-history for a long period.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Prehistoric Europe" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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