Difference Between History and Prehistory

History vs Prehistory

History and prehistory show differences between them in their nature and substance. History can be explained as a record of the events that happened in the past. Prehistory does not record the happenings due to the fact that there were no recording facilities available in the period implied by the word ‘prehistory’.


The word prehistory gave rise to words such as prehistoric man and prehistoric period. Hence in short it can be said that prehistory is the term that is used to denote the time period before recorded history. Historians and geologists use the word ‘prehistory’ to denote the period of time since the beginning of the universe and since life began on the planet Earth. It is also used to denote the time since human existence began.

It is important to note that prehistory is characterized by the three-age system. The three ages by which prehistory is divided are called the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. These three ages are characterized by the types of tools used and the materials that were used in the making of these tools.

Written records almost do not exist in the case of prehistory.


History on the contrary is served well and to nicety by written records. There exist written records of some of the greatest empires in the world history. These great empires include the Mughal empire in Indian and several other empires all over the world. Most of these empires have come to be known to the posterity thanks to the recorded historical texts written during those periods.

Hence it is true that history depends on written source. It is a recorded set of events that might have happened during a particular period of time. History in short can be called the study of human past. History heavily relies on writing and hence you can say that history could mean that time period after writing was invented.