A profound consideration is underway of the nature of long-term human history. The major turning points identified—the invention of farming, growth of cities, and technological change—were not events, but long-term processes, with unpredictable effects. ‘Rethinking prehistory’ explains that a progressive prehistory is increasingly at odds with the empirical evidence of the past as we understand it. The older model emphasized increasing human control, but this is not a feature of human history. All periods and places exhibit dynamic prehistories and histories. Our task is to appreciate, compare, and contrast those dynamisms and to debate across cultural differences what the past means to each of us in the present.