The earliest of seven main subdivisions of Andean prehistory, spanning the period 9000–1800 bc, embraces the time from the earliest human presence in the region down to the first use of ceramics. The Pre‐Ceramic stage is usually divided into six subperiods. Subperiods I (before 9000 bc) and II (9500–8000 bc) are characterized by a hunting subsistence base. Subperiod III (8000–6000 bc) is seen as transitional from just hunting to hunter‐gatherer subsistence. Subperiod IV (6000–4000 bc) sees cyclical seasonal migrations. In subperiod V (4000–2500 bc) sedentary occupation sites first appear, as do monumental structures. In subperiod VI (2500–1800 bc) larger settlements are known and the first agriculture and ceremonial centres appear. The early Pre‐Ceramic (I and II) is equivalent to the Palaeo‐Indian Stage identified elsewhere in the Americas.