So in an effort to help people find their feet I’m starting up a little glossary of terms so people new to the subject can work out some of the jargon. I’ll ask if we can keep replies to a minimum please, lets try to keep this thread just a glossary of terms. (If necessary I’ll edit to OP to include other peoples terms for ease of reading, pm me). For today I’m just going to stick with the ages, hopefully we’ll be able to grow the list in the future.
Ages - Historical and Archaeological time is usually broken down into ages to make it easier to navigate and understand. Although in a lot of places ages are marked as starting in a given year and ending in a given year they’re actually defined by the technology that people use, making it possible for one group of people to be in a given age, while their neighbors are in the next, or previous age.
Paleolithic - “The Old Stone Age,” the earliest period of mans history, covers the time from the first Hominids until the beginning of the Mesolithic. It is the longest age of Human history by far, longer than all the others combined. People living in this era where hunters and gatherers, and never settled in one place for any amount of time.
Mesolithic - “The Middle Stone Age,” or sometimes the “Epipaleolithic” (End of the Old Stone Age). It’s a time of technological innovation, new ways of making tools are invented and the first animals are domesticated.
Neolithic - “The New Stone Age,” starts with the earliest farmers, and represents the time between people settling into the first communities and the discovery of metals. Essentially the focus of the base game, this is when people stop wandering from place to place and start spending their whole lives in one location. By the end of the Neolithic we start to see the first cities appearing.
Eneolithic/Chalcolithic - “The Copper Age” is a transitory age after the New Stone Age. Copper is the first metal to be discovered, but not a very useful one, and doesn’t have the same impact on society that later metals will. Copper is mainly used as a decoration, while most tools and weapons continue to be made out of stone.
The Bronze Age - Technically all you need to enter the Bronze Age is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Bronze (most commonly a mix of Copper and Tin that is a lot more useful than either on it’s own, very few places have both of these metals, so creating Bronze typically means some form of long distance trade). This is also the time when we begin to see the first states that are larger than just a single city. Ancient Egypt, Akkad, Old Babylon and the Early Assyrians, and the Hittites are part of this period. The first written records (as we would understand them) come from this period.
The Iron Age - When Iron is discovered and replaces Bronze as the main material for making tools and weapons a civilization enters the Iron Age. This age currently lies outside the scope of the game, but is mentioned because it is an Age in which some of the most recognized civilizations from the Ancient World flourished: the Romans, Celts, Persians, and Greeks.
Material Culture - In Archaeology a “material culture” or just “culture” means a group of people in a similar time and place that use the same kind of tools/pots/houses etc. the idea being that if they use the same “stuff” they must have lived in a similar way. This grouping is used mostly in places where written records (that might give us a better understanding of divisions between people) are either absent, or not fit for purpose. Note: People belonging to the same Material Culture did not necessarily have the same Language, Ethnicity, or Identity.