This book is about the prehistoric archaeology of Europe—the lives and deaths of peoples and cultures—about how we became human; the rise of hunters; the birth and growth of society; the emergence of art; the beginnings of agriculture, villages, towns and cities, wars and conquest, peace and trade—the plans and ideas, achievements and failures, of our ancestors across hundreds of thousands of years. It is a story of humanity on planet Earth. It’s also about the study of the past—how archaeologists have dug into the ground, uncovered the remaining traces of these ancient peoples, and begun to make sense of that past through painstaking detective work.
This book is about prehistoric societies from the Stone Age into the Iron Age. Th e story of European prehistory is one of spectacular growth and change. It begins more than a million years ago with the first inhabitants. Th e endpoint of this journey through the continent’s past is marked by the emergence of the literate societies of classical Greece and Rome.