The prehistoric time period ends at different dates in different parts of the world and also depends on the definition in use. One definition often used is that prehistory is the span of time before recorded history. Using this definition prehistory only ended in large parts of Europe when the Romans conquered it. Another definition, and one that I agree with more, is that prehistory ends when farming begins. With farming came permanent villages and cities, and all of the social intricacies associated with that. And while some let prehistory begin when early humans started to appear, I think prehistory does not necessarily mean that humans need to be present: the Age of Dinosaurs and the Rise of the Mammals are just as much a part of prehistory as the time when (a form of) humans walked the Earth.
So for easy definition for this theme prehistory is the time before agriculture, which roughly coincides with the end of the Upper Paleolithic at 10,000 years ago. Last time we only had two months for this time period, as I didn’t get the quarterly themes set up until February 2012. But we read some great books. I read Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker (see full review) and Promise of the Wolves by Dorothy Hearst (see full review). Promise of the Wolves was not as good a read as I’d expected and hoped and several others who happened to read the book for the theme as well agreed. Raptor Red on the other hand was great. My absolute favorite bit of the whole novel was this:
Aegialodon the scorpion-killer stays absolutely stll. He's survived, and he'll live to a ripe old age - eleven months. By that time his aegi genes will be in swarms of children and grandchildren.
Over a hundred million years later, the flow of aegi genes will produce wonderful creations - giraffes, elephants rhinos, whales, bats, monekys, chimps, Democratic senators, Republican majority leaders. Charles Darwin himself. All can be tracked back to the supreme bug bopper the Aegialodon.
I hope for this quarter I’ll be able to read some more great books about this underappreciated time in history. High up on my list of possible reads, because it’s on my shelf, is Circles of Stone by Joan Dahr Lambert.