November 12, 2007 / 3:45 AM / 12 years ago

FACTBOX: Europe's main pre-historic periods

(Reuters) - A 7,500-year old Neolithic settlement in what is now southern Serbia suggests that Europe’s Copper Age could have started 500 years earlier than previously thought.

Here is a table detailing Europe’s main prehistoric periods, as commonly accepted by archaeologists, with the oldest at the top. It is impossible to give precise dates because different parts of Europe developed at different times:

AGE CHARACTERISTICS EXAMPLE

Stone Age

Palaeolithic Nomadic tribes lived as Cave paintings

hunter-gatherers, used stone in Altamira

tools, discovered fire.

Mesolithic First settlements, tools made Lepenski Vir

of wood, stone and bones, humanoid

intensive hunting, gathering sculptures

and fishing

Neolithic Houses made of wattle and Stonehenge

daub, intensive farming, first monument

domesticated animals, invention

of pottery.

Metal Age

Copper Age Man starts using copper for Aegean

tools and decoration, megaron

mining and metallurgy.

Bronze Age The discovery of bronze, an Cycladic

alloy of copper and tin, marble idols

boosts trade and handicrafts.

Iron Age First cities develop, trade Houses on

and transportation improve the Isle of

with the use of the wheel, Lewis

horses, carts and ships.

Sources: Arheoloski leksikon, Prehistoric Art in Europe, Penguin Dictionary of Archaeology, Reuters

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