Definition of prehistory in English:

prehistory

noun

  • 1The period of time before written records.

    ‘myths that stretch back into prehistory’
    • ‘Up to the age of 14, children in Britain are taught the basics of archaeology and history from prehistory to the recent past - and this now includes much more archaeology to enrich and enliven the story than there was 20 years ago.’
    • ‘After studying archaeology at Cambridge University, he became curator of prehistory at the Museum of London.’
    • ‘Many vertebrae were cleaved, suggesting animals had been divided into left and right portions, an unusual butchery practice for this period of prehistory, perhaps for feasting.’
    • ‘The wheel, the horse, the camel, and roads facilitated huge improvements in the speed and carrying capacity (though not the range) of overland transport when compared with the foot traffic of prehistory.’
    • ‘I studied prehistory and archaeology at Sheffield University, and then specialised in scientific methods in archaeology at Bradford.’
    • ‘The south coast of Peru is the region that much of Andean prehistory bases its archaeological chronology on, so this is not a minor issue.’
    • ‘Childe really saw that you couldn't write European prehistory on its own and in isolation.’
    • ‘Not only in the earliest periods but throughout prehistory, humans disposed of the bodies of their loved ones by a variety of means, most of which have left no traces and can be only be guessed at by scholars today.’
    • ‘A Cotswold-Severn tomb is one of the classic sites of British prehistory, and to have an opportunity to excavate one completely was such a treat, and a privilege.’
    • ‘The earliest of seven main subdivisions of Andean prehistory, spanning the period 9000-1800 bc, embraces the time from the earliest human presence in the region down to the first use of ceramics.’
    • ‘Many archaeologists vigorously deny that cannibalism has ever been normal practice in Britain or elsewhere, in prehistory or at any more recent period.’
    • ‘Living on the Isle of Wight with a life-long interest in prehistory I have spent many hours field-walking and have a substantial collection of flint tools and flakes.’
    • ‘Here the old idea of prehistory, that time ‘before human beings could record their present or their past’ has no useful purpose.’
    • ‘Thus what had been an ordinary rubbish pit in prehistory has now become - for the modern prehistorian - a meaningful layout of objects.’
    • ‘Archeological findings have placed knowledge of Iranian prehistory at middle Paleolithic times.’
    • ‘Thus, the information in our genomes carries with it a record of our prehistory.’
    1. 1.1The events or conditions leading up to a particular occurrence or phenomenon.
      ‘the prehistory of capitalism’
      • ‘The eminence of these works, in particular the Almagest, had been evident already to Ptolemy's contemporaries. this caused an almost total obliteration of the prehistory of the Ptolemaic astronomy.’
      • ‘Under all these conditions, the strains had the same prehistory and, therefore, the same genetic constitution.’
      • ‘Hip-hop's prehistory offers a team of curators any number of potential entry points: African griots and other oral poetic traditions, the Beats, talking blues, Muhammad Ali trash-talk.’
      • ‘A given social episode or condition may be treated in the most detailed and compelling manner, but its prehistory is nearly always left out of the picture.’
      • ‘It provides a critical genealogy, even prehistory, of the debates leading up to the problems of intermedia in the present.’
      • ‘Research on early medieval Italy based on written sources therefore shifted to later periods, taking the innovatory character of the Lombard era for granted and of relevance only for tracing the prehistory of later phenomena.’

Pronunciation:

prehistory

/prēˈhist(ə)rē/