We live in a geological epoch called the Holocene, which begins 10,000 years ago as the last great glaciers melt away, and with them the 2.58 million years of the Pleistocene fade. But humans only started keeping written records about 5,000 years ago. What happened during that long twilight in the first half of the Holocene? Mute testimonials include Stonehenge, Nebra Sky Disk, and much more... More
What really happened during that early twilight zone of human existence--after the last Ice Age, but before people started writing things down?
We live in an epoch called the Holocene, which began about 12,000 years ago, and of which we know relatively little except for the past 6,000 years since writing was invented. But there are mysterious megaliths around the world (Stonehenge being just one of thousands), and other evidence that all is not what we may think. Will we ever find out the whole story?
To understand the missing 6,000 years, we actually have to delve back at least 50,000 years into the Ice Ages, where we will meet our ancestors. They are fully modern human beings who sing, who make music, weave beautiful clothes, paint glorious Dreamtime images deep in the caves of France and Spain.
Meanwhile our cousins, the Neanderthals. are not oafish brutes, but people not unlike ourselves, who die out shortly after 30,000 years ago. Mesolithic man in the Holocene was little more than Paleolithic man without the ice and the megafauna.
Jericho, the world's oldest city, population 500, was actually founded in the last shadows of the Paleolithic. It lies on the primordial
From Mesolithic hunter-gatherers to Neolithic farmers and city builders, we follow the miracles of wheat and wine, and the ritual killing and resurrection of kings who atone for their people.
As the Mesolithic and Neolithic Ages unfold in their remarkable stories, we uncover the dark secrets of the prehistoric Holocene. As always with history, we learn surprising things about ourselves.
Julius Caesar describes the frightening customs of the Druids, who burned human sacrifices alive in the Wicker Man (or was that Roman propaganda?). Stonehenge is one of thousands of mute testimonials to ancient engineering. The Nebra Sky Disk is a Copper Age sky calendar to accurately measure planting and harvest seasons. What else did our long-ago ancestors understand about the cosmos around them?