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Journal number 3 ∘ Ramaz Abesadze
Economic development processes in the pre-industrial era



The paper examines the processes of economic development in the pre-industrial era, which includes the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages.

Although very slow development has taken place since the beginning of the earth, modern society has been founded as the result of the evolution and development of the earth, man, and the economy.

Key words:    Primitive economy, Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age ,, Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic


The formation of modern society has been led to by : the unique cosmic events of the formation of the Earth; miraculous events that made earth, out of all infinitely numerous celestial bodies in the universe,  into the planet where life exists (Although it is possible for life to exist on another celestial body,but it is still unknown); By still unexplained the origin of life on Earth and its highest form, man, and his evolution; The use of tools by man, the emergence of a primitive economy and its evolution. Therefore, without the evolution and development of the earth, human and the economy, modern civilization would not exist.

Changes have been very slow since the creation of the earth, significant positive changes have taken billions and millions of years, but today’s grandiose achievements have laid the foundation for just that time.

Ancient prehistoric processes are currently unexplored with complete scientific accuracy, as they rely solely on the results of archaeological science. Therefore, there are different views on these events, but the main thing is that the earth, human, the economy and society as a whole have evolved and formed in their present form.

In contrast to the traditional understanding of economics, the scientific literature is an attempt to create a theory of prehistoric economics. According to which such an economy is a process of earning a living, an activity related to the provision of human vitality [e.g. Polanyi K. 1964].

The formation of economics of present turn has taken much time. At first it was as primitive as man and the weapons he used (so such an economy could be called a primitive economy), But it still has certain signs of modern economics in spite of its primitivism, since it existed even then: a relationship with nature; Relationships between members of the community (group) in the collection of food (and then with it during the processing of natural raw materials and the distribution and exchange of products obtained); Technologies (production of tools and ceramic pottery, food preparation, agricultural production and processing, etc.); Physical and human capital - the ability and habits of primitive man; Labor tools (initially natural, then manufactured); Exchange of information (presumably first through sound signals, then through speech and writing); Institutions (For example, the laws of Hammurabi in Babylon (1792-1750 BC) and many others) and so on. 

The origin of the earth and human ancestors 

It is estimated that the Earth originated in the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. Then the earth looked like a dark gray sphere, had neither a crust nor a nucleus, the atmosphere was saturated with carbon. There was no sign of life on him. It is hard to imagine, without supernatural forces, this completely dead and lifeless mass being transformed into a planet full of life today and a society highly developed on it. Science still does not have an exact answer to this.

According to one view, life on Earth originated about 3.6-4 billion years ago, but only in the form of single-celled microscopic organisms. They played a role in shaping life on Earth, in particular the carbon-saturated atmosphere around the earth over the tens of millions of years transformed into an oxygen-saturated atmosphere produced by these microbes.

 2.8 billion years ago occurred photosynthesis, causing the atmosphere to be filled with even more oxygen. Microorganisms for which oxygen was necessary emerged, and existing organisms died due to the increase in the share of oxygen in the atmosphere. New organisms evolved fairly quickly, and 2.5 billion years ago, organisms with complex cells appeared. 1.6 billion years ago living organisms acquired the property of sexual reproduction. 1 billion years ago, living organisms evolved that had a solid membrane as an outer skeleton. During this period, the largest event in the history of the earth - glaciation. Masses of ice reached the equator. 541 million years ago life began to resurrect, evolving into a variety of plants, first invertebrates and then vertebrate multicellular animal organisms, eventually amphibians.

Life first existed in water masses and then spread over land. The land is covered with dense, impassable forests, the fossilized remains of which are preserved in the form of one of the most important fuels, coal.

252.17 million years ago the climate on Earth became extremely dry and hot. As life revived, the plant and animal world became even more diverse with small and giant plants and animals. Dinosaurs, crocodiles and birds appeared, which were considered the descendants of dinosaurs. Mammals emerged. Some biological groups of plants, such as cycads, have survived to the present day [Геологические..., 2018].

66 million years ago on Earth  the geological Cenozoic era ("New Life Era") began, which continues to this day. During this period: a dry and cold climate developed, which led to the extinction of large reptiles, however, there was a rapid development of mammals, especially warm-blooded ones; Many useful minerals have arisen from oil and natural gas to gold and platinum; The earth gradually took on its present form; A new form of life emerged - primates [Кайнозойская..., 2014].

Scientists believe that the oldest primates on Earth (mammals, which partially include human ancestors), parapithecus, originated 30 million years ago, living in open space and on a tree. From them arose various species of creatures, including Australopithecus, the immediate ancestors of humans.

The next stage was coming down of Australopithecus from the trees, walking on two legs, releasing the hands and giving it another function (using natural objects as a weapon, etc.), thus completing the final formation of Australopithecus. They lived 3 million years ago and ate vegetable and animal food. Their tools were: stone, bones and stick without any artificial treatment [Этапы..., 2003]. Then the stone age begins. 

The Stone Age 

The Stone Age, in it’s way, includes: the Old Stone Age, (Paleolithic·); Middle Stone Age (Mesolithic - XII-IX millennia BC) and New Stone Age (Neolithic - X-VI millennia BC).

The Paleolithic began 2.6 years ago. By this time people lived in groups and used highly primitive stone tools as well as tools made from bone, leather, wood and other materials of plant origin. They were busy hunting and collecting plant food. Fishing was just beginning. The beginning of the Paleolithic coincides with the formation of human society. Paleolithic is the greatest period of human existence (covering 99% of human history), which is characterized by a very primitive stone tool. The Lower and Middle Paleolithic is the age of the existence of ancient human species

Homo habilis was formed about 2 million years ago. They already had well-developed hands. They produced up to 20 denominations for processing stone and wood, and for hunting animals for food in general. Mostly used pebbles, chilled volcanic lava, wood and bones. Led a nomadic life [Человек…, 2016]. 1.5 million years ago, "Homo erectus" was formed. They lived in caves, used fire, clothes, lived together, in groups. In the Upper Paleolithic (40-12 thousand years BC) "wise man" (Homo sapiens) appears on the stage.  After the glaciation, the earth warmed and the flora and fauna changed substantially. The number and diversity of both plants and animals has increased. Large animals (mammoth, cave bear, reindeer, bison, etc.)  appeared. Hunting has become a major activity. During the hunt, they used a corral of animals in previously prepared camouflaged pits. The animal was frightened by fire. Hunting gave people not only meat, but also hard bones to make tools and skins for clothing, the necessity of which arose because of the glaciation. This time is the beginning of fishery which led to invention of fishing- tackles (harpoon, different spears, bone hooks, nets, seines). They began to knit with yarn, which led to the emergence of weaving. The boat was invented, which became the basis for the beginning of shipbuilding. They created a stone hammer, an ax, darts and spears, needles, punctures, and incisors. Tools began to be equipped with convenient frames and handles and replaceable cutting blades. In addition to mechanical extraction of the skin, a chemical method – ashing was used. Dwellings were built, which were covered with lattice poles, leaves and leather, then the dwellings were illuminated with a stone lamp containing fat and wick. Wooden and reed boats, stretchers and drags, a pole, a sled were used as vehicles [Дятчин..., 2000].

The tools are improving over this period. These tools: knife, ax, spearheads and arrowheads, scrapers, etc. The cleavage technique was used. A new weapon appeared - a harpoon and a spear thrower, which were used for hunting and protection, and then the bow and arrows were invented. An ancient invention was the use of a stick as a lever. In addition to stone and wood, tools and clothing were used to make: horns, teeth, shells, leather, rods, resin, plant fibers, etc. Already in the Middle Paleolithic began to prepare food

And in the Upper Paleolithic, the "Homo sapiens" appears on the stage.

The Paleolithic is replaced by the Mesolithic, a Middle Stone Age that lasted several thousand years and no significant changes in the direction of tool perfection were observed. Only after the natural conditions changed as a result of the glacial period on Earth, the characteristic features of the Mesolithic are: change in the dimensions of the tools, the production of miniature stone tools.

The next period, the Neolithic·, is characterized by a new technique of stone processing, man learned to drill, polish, grind the stone to give it the desired, rather subtle shape, which triggered the most important event - the "Neolithic Revolution"·, which is one of the turning points in human history. When man replaces fishery, hunting, and gathering with production (farming, cattle-breeding) and resident life. This process has been quite lengthy and spans millennia. Beginners: guide of animals; Use of clothes and shoes of animal skins; Acquisition of building techniques for construction of land houses and huts; The use of sledges to move goods, using draught animals, the use of harpoons, rods, nets for fishing, pottery; mastering the techniques of consecration, the passage from incisions and torches into primitive oil lamps; Creation of the first forms of jewelry and cults; Extraction of underground raw materials, primarily flint, jasper, shale, and later limestone, excavation of pillars and shafts. Mining was born. As the tool were used: picks, hacks, hammers, shovels, rakes, stakes, retouching techniques brought to the level of real art; agricultural machinery Improved. Used: sickle, ხელკეტი, mortar; The technology of stone processing was improved by its grinding, drilling and sawing, which made it possible to produce axes, hoes, mortars, hacks from stronger stones - basalt, nefrit and jadiet. The woodworking technique was also improved, the wood was already polished.

In the Neolithic era, the main activities of people were hunting and farming. Animals are domesticated (sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, then horses and camels). In addition to meat and leather (which were also obtained by hunting), domestic animals provided milk and wool. Pets were used to move cargo and pull force.Cattle breading separated from agriculture. To establish slavery began [Дятчин. .., 2000]. 

The Bronze Age 

After The Neolithic, the historical period of the development of society is the Bronze Age (spread in different countries at different times in the IV-I millennia), when instead of stone tools the main material for making combat and work tools was bronze (copper alloy with various elements).

There is a „copper era transiting from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age (Eniolithic– IV-III millennium BC), which is characterized by copper tools, although stone tools still predominate. A new field is emerging - metalworking, which will bring about a technological revolution that has dramatically changed the history of human society, the development of its economy [Общие…, 2015].

In the early stages of the Bronze Age, bronze wares were rare. Metallurgy is improving in the second half of the Bronze age. Besides combat weapons include the first agricultural tools, swords, hard armor, as well as bronze and gold artefacts, copper sheet products, and more. Significant qualitative changes took place during this period: improving the processing of copper and tin and obtaining bronze from them; The formation of class societies and ancient states; Separation of handicrafts from farming, revitalization of trade ·.

During the Eneolithic and Bronze Age: one of the most important phenomena of mankind took place - the invention of rotational movements (used: wheel, potter’s wheel, hand round mill); Artificial irrigation systems were built. It consists of channels, dams, sluice and shadufs – water-lifting lever device; Ремесла были Used: wooden plows and primitive plough; copper moulding began. Crafts were separated from agriculture; Trade revived, the first units of money appeared; States emerged; Brick was made of clay, which became the main building material; Soap made from vegetable oil and alkali was invented; Pyramids were built with cut boulders, the largest of which consisted of 23 300 000 stone boulders, average weight was 25 t (some 15 t) and total mass- 6,25 mln. T. A lever and an inclined plane were used to move the boulders; The technology of making papyrus, which had been used for millennia before the invention of paper, was mastered; Solar and water clocks were invented; Silk weaving developed, the making of silk thread and the invention of the knitting machine developed the textile case. To grow rice began; Organic fertilizer and pesticides were obtained and used; Cotton and sugar cane were extracted: commercial and military shipbuilding developed.

The development of economics, which is related to many quantitative quantities, led to the birth of mathematics, and the need to calculate time - led to the emergence of astronomy; Calendar was created. It was divided into 365 days in 12 months, and also in 3 periods, each consisted of 4 months.This calendar existed for centuries before the Julian calendar; Tea medicine; Geographical maps emerged.

Iron Age 

Iron Age·, one of the epochs in the history of the development of society, when for the production of military and agricultural tools mainly iron was used ·.

The use of iron over bronze was not due to its advantages over bronze (since iron had many disadvantages compared to bronze - it is less hard (although bronze is more fragile), prone to corrosion, has a higher melting point, etc.), but in nature it is more than copper and tin.

The early Iron Age lasted from the 1st millennium BC. until the 5th century AD (Old World), and later –  from the 6th century until the industrial revolution. The Iron Age coincides with the disintegration of the primitive communal system and the creation of states. Estates and nationalities are created. Significant changes are taking place in the economy: relatively cheap iron tools (sakhnis, plow, sickle, scythe) are more productive. Through them happens: the rapid use for arable land, thus expandanding agriculture in forested areas. The acceleration in development of handicrafts (metallurgy, crockery, construction, woodworking, etc.). Deepening in specialization (for example in metallurgy: ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, blacksmithing, weapons manufacturing, jewelry, etc.) [Грибов…, 2018]; development of irrigation system; facilitating the extraction of copper ore; Improvement of offensive and defensive weapons, horse harness; development of transport, which strengthened trade relations and monetary activity.

During this period excellent works of science, techniques, literature, culture were created (it is considered that science originated in old Greece in VI BC). Gradually, people appear who are busy obtaining new knowledge - scientists. in the V-IV centuries BC lived great thinkers: Socrates (469-399 BC), Plato (428-347 BC), Aristotle (384-322 BC), Democritus ( 460-370). BC, at the beginning of the 3rd century, the first research institution was created – a museum, which included laboratories for experiments, a botanical and zoological garden, and a large library. Outstanding scientists Euclid, Epicurus, Archimedes and others worked here. BC, in the 3rd century, the construction of a grandiose defensive structure and the largest architectural monument – the Great Wall of China with a length of 8,851.9 km began (according to other sources, from the beginning the length of the wall was 21,196 km); Height – 7.5 m, with merlons – 9 m; Thickness –6.5 m•.

In the 1st century BC and in the 5th century A.D, science, education and technology were further developed. Invented: diopter - the prototype of the modern theodolite; Odometer - a device for measuring distance; Eolipil - a prototype of a jet steam turbine; Self-loading high-speed crossbow; Fire pump, automatic and software devices, etc. Construction has found great development; Industrial production of iron, copper, lead, silver and gold; steel casting; glass blowing technology. The foundations of chemistry were laid, the alloying of metals was carried out, the technique of painting objects was mastered. The level of improvement and comfort in cities has increased: water supply and sewerage are maintained, temples, churches, theaters, baths, etc. were built. Such grandiose buildings were built as: the ancient Egyptian pyramids (III millennium BC), the "Hanging Gardens" of Babylon (VII century BC), “the mausoleum in Halicarnassus” (mid-IV century BC). ), “Temple of Artemis” at Ephesus (c. 550 BC), “Colossus of Rhodos” (292 - 280 BC), “the statue of Zeus” at Olympia (c. 430 BC) , “a lighthouse” on the island of pharos in Alexandria (III century BC).

In antiquity, military technology also developed greatly, especially rifle machines (also invented in the 7th century BC). Especially perfect was the multi-layer machine for the trajectory of firing - catapults, scorpions, grenades and much more; Military equipment in particular, battering rams and multi-storey moving towers - helepoles. Shipbuilding developed.

The decimal system was created in India in the 6th century. 100 years later, negative numbers and "0" were introduced. Algebra was founded in the 9th century. Optics was founded in the late 10th and early 11th centuries. In subsequent years, astronomy has developed. In 1428, an observatory was built, the main instrument of which was a grandiose goniometer - a sextant.

In the X-XII centuries water and wind mills appeared in Europe, mechanical clocks, large hydraulic structures were built, urban planning was developed, construction was developed. Universities were established

The renaissance began with the revival of the achievements of antiquity in all fields of science and art: medicine developed. Ideas about the structure of the human body realized, telescopic observations introduced, treatment methods refined; The concepts: force, moment of force, coefficient of friction were introduced into physics; A new heliocentric model of worldview emerged, the geocentric model, that the planets revolve around the sun and their axis, that the moon is not an independent planet and that it revolves around the earth was rejected. The period of rotation of the Earth around the Sun is one year, and around the axis - one day. First, the spyglass was invented, and on its basis, the telescope, further expanded the understanding of the structure of the Universe.

Classical Mechanics was created in the 17th century. The fall of the body, its movement along an inclined plane, the vibrations of the strings of the pendulum are studied, the speed of sound in air is measured. A coordinate system was introduced, the foundations of analytical geometry were established, and the law of conservation of momentum was created. The concept of the atomic structure of bodies was developed. The mass obtained by combining atoms was called a molecule. The theory of hydraulics and hydrometry, as well as atmospheric pressure has been developed. The mercury barometer was invented. The laws of vibration of a physical pendulum, the wave theory of light were created, and classical physics was formed.

The laws of universal gravitation, Newton and Boil-Marriott were discovered, and concepts such as mass, density, number of motions, and cell were introduced. Light dispersion, chromatic aberration, diffraction and interference are detected. Corpuscular and wave theories of light have been developed, etc. A microscope and a telescope appeared. There was a pledge of magnetism and electricity. Firearms, torches, compasses and ships, which could float across the ocean, paper were invented and book printing began(XV). Increases the connection and interaction between society, science and technology. Founded scientific journals, academia, society (for example, London Roial Society (1662), Paris Academy of Sciences (1666)) faunded.

Until the beginning of XVII century, production in the economy was based on the guilds of artisans. Manufacturing production was then established, which increased productivity. Manufacturing production was based on the use of animal, water and wind energy, thus for the increasing the efficiency required the use of new types of energy, enabled by advances in science and technology. Started a whole series of steam generating machines. Metallurgy was developed, with the ability to replace wood-burning coke with semi-solid coke (1709). The steam engine was created in 1782 and perfected in 1788. This was the herald of industrial revolution. The passage of manual labor to the machine, from the manufactory to the factory, from the agrarian industry to the industrial began [История...2017].

Before the Industrial Revolution, the so-called precursor of the Industrial Revolution took place he "agrarian revolution", which changed not only the rules of production but also the structure of society, created new social groups suitable for an industrial society in the form of a large mass of entrepreneurs and hired workers.

 As early as the XVI-XVII centuries, particularly intensively developed so called The "fencing" (landowners' possession of peasant community lands), which had already been approved by the relevant acts of parliament (in England) in the eighteenth century, led to the pauperization of the peasants. This mass of peasants left without land and therefore without a source of livelihood was forced to work in industry.

There are different views about the end of the Iron Age. Some believe that this lasted until the Industrial Revolution, others believe that it continues to this day, as steel and cast iron are among the main structural modern materials.

We believe that the first view is true, because after the Industrial Revolution, huge processes began, which led us to the creation of more technology, through which the capabilities of people in any field of their activities have increased immeasurably. Significant qualitative changes begin.

The period from 1750 to 1850 is a period when changes in agriculture, industry, mining, transport, and technology had a profound effect on society, the economy, and the cultural environment. An "industrial revolution" took place. The "industrialization process" began, which was followed by the formation of an "industrial society" and then a "postindustrial society" in developed countries, with a highly developed innovative economy.

The term "industrial revolution" marks the most important turning point in human history, which gave rise to a whole new way of life and, consequently, a new “industrial era”.

Whereas the term "industrial revolution" marks a process of global significance for modern times, the term "industrialization" implies more economic and technical "modernization".


1. The foundation of modern society was laid as a result of the evolution and development of the Earth, man and economy, which led to: unique space phenomena and the formation of the Earth; The miraculous events of the transformation of the Earth, the only planet of infinitely between many celestial bodies on which life exists (the existence of life is possible on other celestial bodies, but this is still not confirmed by real facts); Until now, the origin of life on Earth and its highest form, man, and his evolution remains completely unexplained; Human  use of tools of labor, the emergence of a primitive economy and its evolution. Since the creation of the Earth, changes have been realized very slow, significant positive changes have taken billions and millions of years;

2. It took a long time to shape the economy as it is today. At first, it was as primitive as a person and the tools of labor that he used (therefore, such an economy could be called primitive. But, despite the primitiveness, it has some features of a modern economy, because even then there were: a close attitudes  with nature; the relationship between members of the common community (group) in the process of collecting the food; physical and human capital - the abilities and skills of primitive human being; his tools; exchange of information ; institutions and so on:

3. The Earth developed from a completely lifeless mass to the creation of all the necessary conditions for life (atmosphere, water, land, flora, fauna, minerals, climate, etc.). It is difficult to imagine how, without supernatural forces, the Earth turned into today's planet, full of life, with a highly developed social order. Science still does not have an exact answer to this question;

4. The economy evolved from a collective economy to a manufacturing one, which happened in parallel with the use of natural tools (clubs, stone without processing) and with the improvement of man-made tools, when agriculture, cattle breeding and crafts were formed as separate industries, when natural sources of energy were used - energy of water and wind;

5. About 2 million years ago, Homo habilis appeared. He already had well-developed arms. 1.5 million years ago, it was replaced by "Homo erectus". In the Upper Paleolithic (40–12 thousand years BC), “Homo sapiens” appears in the arena;

6. The Neolithic is characterized by a new technique of stone processing, a person learned to drill, polish, grind a stone in order to give it the desired, rather thin form, which served as an impetus for the most important event - the "Neolithic revolution", which became one of the turning points in the history of mankind, when a person replaces fishing, hunting and gathering by production (agriculture, animal husbandry) and settlement. This process was quite lengthy and lasted for millennia;

7. There are different views about the end of the Iron Age. Some believe that this lasted until the Industrial Revolution, others believe that this period continues to this day, as steel and cast iron are among the main materials in modern designs. We believe that the first point of view is correct, because after the industrial revolution, huge perestroika processes began, which led to the creation of more than one new technology, thanks to which the opportunities of people in any field of their activity have increased immeasurably. Significant qualitative changes began, wonderful works of art, science, technology, literature and culture were created. Science began to develop especially (mathematics, physics, astronomy, etc.);

8. The period from 1750 to 1850 is a period when changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation and technology had a profound impact on society, the economy and the cultural environment. An "industrial" or "industrial revolution" has taken place. The "process of industrialization" began, followed by the formation of an "industrial society", and then a "post-industrial society" in developed countries with highly developed innovative economies.

9. The term "industrial" or "industrial revolution" marks a major turning point in the history of mankind, which marked the beginning of a completely new way of life and, as a result, a new "industrial era";


10. Whereas the term "industrial revolution" means a process of global significance for modern times, the term "industrialization" more implies economic and technical "modernization".


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  • · In an article without links, Factual materials are used from the following sources [Primitive..., 2003 ]; [Палеолит,  2018]; [Groeneveld…, 2016]; [Майдачевский... 2008]; [Human..., 2010]; [современные..., 2008]; [Bronze..., 2006.]; [Iron..., 2006]. 
  • · The oldest stone tool was found in Kenya, near Lake Turkana in 2015 and dates back 3 million 300 thousand years.
  • · https://archaeo.fandom.com/ka/wiki/ნეოლითი
  • · The name "Neolithic Revolution" was first used by Gordon Child to describe the agro-cultural (agricultural) revolution in the Middle East in the 1920s.
  • · https://ka.wikipedia.org/wiki/ბრინჯაოს_ხანა
  • · This term was first used by the Danish architect Christian Jurgensen Thomsen in the 19th century.
  • · https://www.google.com/search?client=opera&q=век+железа&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8