Prehistory is the period of human activity between the use of the first stone tools, roughly 3.3 million years ago and the invention of writing systems, the earliest of which appeared 5,300 years ago.
Sumer in Mesopotamia, the Indus valley civilization and ancient Egypt were the first civilizations to develop their own scripts, and to keep historical records; this took place already during the early Bronze Age. Neighboring civilizations were the first to follow. Most other civilizations reached the end of prehistory during the Iron Age. The three-age system of division of prehistory into the Stone Age, followed by the Bronze Age and Iron Age, remains in use for much of Eurasia and North Africa, but is not generally used in those parts of the world where the working of hard metals arrived abruptly with contact with Eurasian cultures, such as the Americas, Oceania, Australasia and much of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 15,200 BC, according to the ASPRO chronology, in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world and ending between 4500 and 2000 BC.
Traditionally considered the last part of the Stone Age AKA The New Stone Age, the Neolithic followed the terminal Holocene Epipaleolithic period and commenced with the beginning of farming, which produced the “Neolithic Revolution”. It ended when metal tools became widespread (in the Copper Age or Bronze Age; or, in some geographical regions, in the Iron Age). The Neolithic is a progression of behavioral and cultural characteristics and changes, including the use of wild and domestic crops and of domesticated animals.