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    Tables – Eras of human history

    Time EraEpochDescription
    PrehistoryPeriod before written records.
    Paleolithic~2.5 MYA-10k YAEarlier part of the Stone Age, when primitive stone implements were used.
    Neolithic~10k-4.2k BCLater part of the Stone Age, when ground or polished stone tools were first made.
    Ancient HistoryThe Bronze Age and the Iron Age, characterized by use of metals.
    Bronze Age~3.3k-1.2k BCFirst time when humans started to use tools and weapons of bronze.
    Iron Age~1.2k BC-600 ADIron used as the main material for tools, replacing bronze.
    Classical AntiquityPeriod between Iron Age and the Middle Ages in Europe and Near East.
    Middle Ages600-1500Period of European history between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance.
    Modern History1500-present
    Early Modern1500-1800Period following the Middle Ages, encompassing the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery.
    Late Modern1800-1945Industrial Revolution to the end of World War II.
    Contemporary1945-presentPost World War II period.