History vs. Prehistory

I would say historical sources go back way farther than 6,000 years.

Not as history is usually defined, which requires written records. That’s why “prehistoric” is a word.


I would say that for example the Paleolithic cave paintings in places like Lascaux, France as well as figurines like the Venus of Hohle Fels are themselves a record of human cultural history.

Not as history is conventionally defined. I think we’re talking about two different meanings of “history” here. Sometimes it’s a generalized term for “past events”: “Earth history” isn’t history either. Paleolithic cave paintings belong to prehistory.

Yeah I get how the terminology is used but the point is there were certainly humans making things, including art both representative and abstract, that delivered a narrative about their world at the time long prior to 6,000 years ago. This is obvious to anyone outside of a religious commitment to a narrow fundamentalist religion.

Well, I’m not clear on “delivered a narrative about the world”. Every picture may tell a story, but it isn’t necessarily a narrative story. And they don’t seem to be historical sources in anything like the way the term has been used so far in this thread.


I mean the cave paintings at Lascaux presents a pretty good account of the megafauna of Western Europe at the time. Plus for many languages the line between representative art and writing is pretty blurry (Egypt, China, for example).

True. But, as John said, I was using the term in the specific and narrow sense, which I believe the person to whom I was responding was also doing. Well, actually, he was using the term to refer to written myths which I do not believe is also narrowly considered to be history. Though he things they are records of things that really happened.

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