Appeared in Fall 1993 | Vol. XIX, No. 2, 3

The greatest portion of the timespan encompassing mankind’s existence on earth is enshrouded in what it is customary to call “prehistory.” Untold hundreds of millennia and thousands of generations of human communities passed by before the first written records would provide a key to the thoughts and activities of our first ancestors. And yet those mute ages were by no means static, for by the time the ancient Mesopotamians developed cuneiform writing around 3500 B.c., much of the world had already been peopled, many cultures had grown up, migrated, supplanted others, and been transformed by interaction with their neighbors. Consequently the application of the term prehistory to those ages is in a sense misleading, for history began with the first man.

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