Timeline of Archeology


(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Timeline of Archeology. brakha.blogspot.com).

brakha .blogspot .com consults the following Archeology Timeline:

Clink the link to the Timeline page here - OR - click the link in the Pages list (top right sidecolumn).


(−3400) Early Bronze 1 Period
(−3000) Early Bronze 2 Period
(−2700) Early Bronze 3 Period
(−2200) Intermediate Bronze Period
(−2000) Middle Bronze Period
(−1550) Late Bronze Period

(−1200) Early Iron Period
(−1009) Late Iron Period

(−538) Proto Classical Period
(−331) Early Classical 1 Period
(−166) Early Classical 2 Period
(−36) Middle Classical 1 Period
(220) Middle Classical 2 Period
(324) Late Classical 1 Period
(425) Late Classical 2 Period

(638) Early Medieval Period
(1099) Middle Medieval Period
(1250) Late Medieval Period

(1517) Early Modern Period
(1917) Late Modern Period

(2240) ;-)


Here appear considerations for the Archeology Timeline above.


Archeologists debate when activities happen, or what dates define new trends in culture. Naturally, the periods that seem most important provoke the most interest, and the most challenges.

If compelling information comes to light, the Timeline updates to accommodate it.


The names of the periods strive for neutrality: Bronze, Iron, Classical, Medieval, Modern.

Neutral names work in a variety of contexts. For example, to periodize political trends for government structures, the name “Late Medieval Period” corresponds to the “Mamluk Period”. Alternatively to periodize spiritual trends for Tora (Judaism), this same period, “Late Medieval Period”, corresponds to the publication of the Zohar, and the flourishing of Kabala across the Tora World. Neutral names organize and coordinate a diversity of trends.

Neutral names reduce distortion. For example, to periodize by political names - thus to list those foreigners who oppress the Land of Yisrael - such as “Persian”, “Roman”, “Arab”, “Crusader”, and so on - seems to make some archeologists forget: the aborigines of the Land are still here - alive and well - and have been here since the dawn of human history. Most foreign rulers never visit the Land of Yisrael. For the aborigines of Yisrael - Yhudim (Jews) and Shomronim (Samaritans) - life goes on. Often the main difference is who they pay their taxes to.

The name “Proto” signals an ambiguous transition between between ages.

Here, the “Proto Classical Period” corresponds to the Persian Period. Archeologists usually separate it out as its own distinctive period. Some lump it with Iron Age, calling it Iron Age 3. Some lump it with the Hellenistic and Roman Periods, calling it the Second Temple Period. Here, the Persian Period is “Classical” in a sense similar to its contemporary neighbor, “Classical Greece” (−478\−322).

Similarly, the “Early” Modern Period corresponds to the Ottoman Period. It is “Modern” in a sense similar to the Renaissance Period of Europe.


An “age” divides into “periods”. Each period subdivides into “eras”.

The period is the basic measure of time, about a century or more. A period distinguishes the features of an evolution in culture.

Periods lump together into an age, about a millennium or more. An age is a panaroma to see the massive trends of the human species.

A period splits into eras, each about a decade or more. An era is a closeup to notice the developments of a vibrant generation.

I am keen to “metricize” the passage of time, also for neutrality. The keywords correspond roughly to magnitudes of 10.

Epoch: a million years or more (1m)
Eon: ten thousand years or more (10000)

Age: a thousand years - a millennium - or more (1000)
Period: a hundred years - a century - or more (100)
Era: ten years - a decade - or more (10)

Year: one year (1)

These keywords convey the scope of a comment, whether broad generalizations or narrow specifics, to help navigate thru time.

Age, period, or era.

Highlighting the amount of time that an activity involves helps show how it fits in the big picture.

Ideally, an “age” is a thousand years or more. However, conventional periodization makes this goal difficult for certain ages. For example, here the “Iron Age” is only six hundred plus years. Its brevity inspires doubt about it being useful as an “age”. Perhaps it makes more sense to think of Iron as periods within the Bronze Age. Perhaps a new name is more helpful, such as a “Law Age” beginning from the Middle Bronze Age with the Code of Hammurabi onward. Yet, the term “Iron” entrenches within the archeological tradition. So there are few options to rethink it. Oppositely, the Early Bronze Age is awefully long. All by itself it spans over a thousand years. Probably it is more useful to think of it as its own “age”. It might make more sense to split it off, to emphasize what makes it differ from the later other timespans.

Note, I lump the “Proto Classical” Persian Period with the “Classical Age”, rather than with the Iron Age. Among vast empires, the Persian Empire is at least as sophisticated as its Greek contemporary that defines the Classical Age. Indeed, the “Early Classical” Hellenic Periods exist because the Greek Empire blends with the Persian Empire. This transnationalism characterizes the Classical Period.

In any case, as is, cutting off timespans at magnitudes of ten, where possible, intimates a sense of scale. there are inconsistencies with this “metric” methodology.

Measuring by tens isnt perfect, but it is still good.


Archeology already uses a “year zero” for astronomical years, radiocarbon dating, and so on.

This year 0 equals the year 1 BCE in the common calendar.

By extension, year −10 (“year minus ten”) equals 11 BCE.

To remember: The “minus” date is “one less” than the common date BCE.

Note, dates that approximate round numbers, such as the “Copper Age” (−4500) remain round.

The invention of the common calendar, during the Medieval Age, lacks the mathematical discovery of the zero. But when exploring the distant past, calculations and comparisons become friendlier with a year zero.

Our hero, zero.


Modern numbers replace Roman numerals, for example, for archeological excavations (Early Bronze 2) and for dynastic names (Thutmose 3).

MCMXLVIII. Nuff said.


Usually, the meaning of a slash or backslash is obvious in context.


The slash signifies an uncertainty or a dispute about when an event happens, thus alternative dates.


A slash can signify if the year according to different calendar system overlaps two common years. The event might happen in the later part of one year or the earlier part of the next year. But not both.

For example, the phrase, “in the fourth year of King Shlomo”, referring to a regnal year in the ancient Yhudi (Judahite) calendar system. According to some chronological calculations, it overlaps two common years: −968/−967. Thus either date might be the actual one, but not both. In this case, it happens in spring, thus the beginning of the year, thus year −967.

Sometimes archeologists dispute a date. There are different approaches to define when the Bronze Age begins: −3600/−3500/−3400.


The backslash signifies an activity that takes place during an extensive span of time.

“both\and”, “from\to”, “begins\ends”.

For example, with regard to the Copper Age (chalcholithic):

−4500: begins in year −4500
−4500\−3400: begins −4500 and ends −3400
\−3400: ends in year −3400
\−4000\: an activity flourishes in year −4000, but its beginning and ending remain unsaid

Bio dates for a leader might look like so:

Hilel Ha'Zakan (−110, Reign −30\10)

Read this as “born in −90, and reigning from −30 to 10”, reigning until death in year 10, traditionally at age 120. In this case, Hilel reigns as one of the Zugot (“pairs”), probably two co-presiders over the Sanhedrin, analogous to the two Consuli of Rome.

Unless notes say otherwise, treat ALL ancient dates as “circa”. Even accurate dates may be one year off. Many dynasties can stretch earlier-or-later by several years, depending. Radiocarbon dating is vague. Astronomical synchronisms are rare. And so on.


In sum, brakha.blogspot.com uses timeline that strives to be accurate, convenient, and easy to understand.