The early history is a branch of the archaeological discipline " Prehistory " and refers to a period of human history : It deals with those cultures of humanity , over the first written are records (mostly from other cultures) known, some of the evidence is is also obtained through archaeological excavations . It begins very differently from region to region with the first appearance of written documents and extends into the historical period of history in the narrower sense.
The preceding epoch is prehistory , which goes back to about 2.5 million years ago when the first stone tools appeared in human history; The following epoch is history in the narrower sense, in which historical developments are essentially recognized through the evaluation of written sources and the material culture is often archaeologically developed in parallel.
Regional early history
In the regions of archaeological and historical research, the written culture begins at different times. Therefore, early history can only be defined regionally. Developments in the Far East , North America , Africa and Australia are dealt with in separate disciplines. The Middle East , the Middle East , North Africa and the Mediterranean area , on the other hand, are those areas for which an early historical phase can usually be determined and dealt with.
European early history
|European early history|
|Holocene||(➚ History of Europe )|
|Early Middle Ages|
|Roman Imperial Era|
|(↘ prehistory )|
In southern Europe , early history begins with the Minoan culture and the use of the Archanes script around 2000 BC. Chr. In stage Mittelminoisch I . It was replaced on Crete around 1450 BC. From the Mycenaean culture , which began around 1700/1600 BC. BC on the Greek mainland, during the late Helladic II or Späminoic II stage . With the literary cultures of the Greeks and Romans, early history ends at the beginning of the archaic era , with which historical time begins in southern Europe . The subjects Classical Archeology and Provincial Roman Archeology deal with material culture .
The transition from prehistory to early history can not be precisely defined for Central Europe . Usually the use of Roman written documents about Germans and Celts outside the Roman Empire (especially works by Caesar and Tacitus ) is considered to be the beginning of early history. The Roman-dominated areas of Central Europe are assigned to the subject area of Roman provincial archeology, here the early history as a special archaeological discipline only begins with the end of antiquity . This is why the Roman imperial period in the Barbaricum is occasionally rated not as early history, but as a separate period between prehistory and actual early history. The subject of research and discussions has long been the problem of cultural and political continuity or discontinuity in the transition from late antiquity to the early Middle Ages .
In the archeology of Central Europe, early history is divided into
- Roman Imperial Era (more precisely: " Roman Imperial Era in Barbaricum " as a distinction to the use of the term in classical archeology),
- Migration period and
- Early Middle Ages, which in turn in Merovingian times and Carolingian is divided time.
- Bernhard Hänsel : The study of prehistory and early history at German universities. Does the university education have to meet later professional requirements? In: Archäologisches Nachrichtenblatt . 4 (2), 1999, 143-148.
- Hermann Müller-Karpe : Basics of early human history. 5 vol., Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart and Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1998
- Anne-Maria Wittke (Hrsg.): Early history of the Mediterranean cultures. Historical-archaeological manual (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 10). Metzler, Stuttgart 2015, ISBN 978-3-476-02470-1 .
- Homepage of the Department of Prehistoric Archeology and Archeology of the Middle Ages, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
- Information pages of the Chair for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archeology at the University of Würzburg
- Homepage of the Department of Prehistory and Early History, Friedrich Schiller University Jena
- Homepage of the Institute for Prehistory and Early History, University of Cologne