Prehistoric Times

The Prehistoric Times refer to the period from about 1,700,000 years ago to the establishment of the Xia Dynasty in the 21 century BC. As people who lived during this period developed the use of stone tools, this age is also called the Stone Age. According to the different implements people used then, the age is divided into two periods: the Paleolithic Age and the Neolithic Age.

The Paleolithic Age was characterized by the use of some simple tools. It is said that Yuanmou Man lived 1,700,000 years ago and was the earliest man in China known to the people. He was found in Yunnan Province. Lantian Man and Peking Man also lived during the Paleolithic Age. Mainly inhabiting caves, humans at that time were gregarious. In addition to the use of some simple tools, they first discovered fire and used it often in their daily lives.

The Huts of Banpo Matriarchal Clan Community
Huts of Banpo Matriarchal Clan Community
Ancient people used caldron to cook food.
Ancient people used caldron to cook food.
The Neolithic Age was a more advanced period compared to the Paleolithic Age. People built houses and began to farm by using grinding stones. Extraordinary advancements were made during this period, whether in spinning and carving skills, or in vehicle making techniques, and music. The famous Yangshao Culture and Longshan Culture belonged to this age.

As life in Prehistoric Times was hard and full of challenges, people lived together to fight against terrible weather conditions and all kinds of natural disasters. The Chief was chosen according to one's ability in a system that was called the Abdication System. Shun was recommended by the previous chief, Yao, and  became his successor. Later, Yu became the chief because of his contribution to controlling floodwaters. This system continued until 2070 BC when Boyi was recommended by Yu and Qi. Yu's son killed Boyi and made himself the king. Thus the Abdication System ended. The first dynasty - Xia hereafter came the forth ruling family in Chinese history.

Basin painted with the design of human face and fish
Basin Painted with the Design
of Human Face and Fish
The Fossil Skull Belonging to 
Prehistoric Times
As for civilization during the Prehistoric Times, myths and legends were the main content. Some of the best known are the legend about the Creation of the World by Pan Gu, the legend of the creation of the humans by Nvwa, and the legend of Dayu's control of water.