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The Upper Palaeolithic is the last phase of the ‘Old Stone Age’, which is characterised by the use of stone tools and goes back much further than humans themselves (to approx 3.4 million YBP).
It was a time of continuous migration out of Africa and across the world. The Middle East region would have been the first location those Early Modern Humans first leaving Africa would have reached, making it a crossroads for this migration. Upper Palaeolithic Near East.
The Neolithic Era coincides with the end of the geological Pleistocene period (Ice Age) and beginning of the warmer Holocene. The Levant and Mesopotamia regions, along with the Nile Delta in Africa become ‘The Fertile Crescent’ and the beginnings of Agriculture appear here, replacing the older hunter-gatherer way of life. Later in the Neolithic, but included in this time-span is the ‘Chalcolithic’ – copper metallurgy which would eventually give way to the Bronze Age (see Ancient Period).
The Middle East in the Ancient Period begins with the invention of Bronze, revolutionising the world that it encompassed, which started in the Middle East and spread quickly into Europe, where it traded with (especially for tin).
Agricultural settlements become cities and knowldege from civilisations like Ancient Egypt spreads to the likes of Greece.
Migrations back into Europe from the Asia and the Steppe bring with it the Indo European Language root.
Mediaeval Middle East.
Modern Middle East.