How would the discovery of gunpowder in the stone age/early bronze age effect civilization in the millennia to come?

Assume gunpowder is invented, studied, improved-upon and refined in prehistory, what would be the large-scale implications of such a discovery on culture, religion, warfare, superstition, traditions, etc? How would this affect the rise and fall of certain empires or peoplegroups in this completely alien timeline? What impact would this have on trade, economics and diplomacy (cotton would become a massive cash crop as it would be needed to fix nitrogen)? Or on the sciences (animal urine would be further studied to produce greater yields of nitrate for saltpetre)? What about armors or fortifications; would castles and sieges even exist in a timeline where wonderweapons could tear down large bastions with ease?

Scenario 1: Mid-to-neolithic age (hwachas, bamboo guns, fireworks, flamethrowers)

Scenario 2: Early bronze age (culverins, bronze cannons, maybe some improvised version of the mysorean rocket)

For simplicity sake, you can assume black powder was still invented by the Chinese, however, do feel free to superimpose this discovery on other cultures (perhaps the inhabitants of the Caucasus with their great tradition for pastoralism or the West Africans with their abundant resources, or even pre-PIE Western Europe with their large coal reserves)

Also, bonus points if anyone can manage to fit a more reliable/effective form of nitrogen fixation in the brief time window I have given you.
 
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Assume gunpowder is invented, studied, improved-upon and refined in prehistory, what would be the large-scale implications of such a discovery on culture, religion, warfare, superstition, traditions, etc? How would this affect the rise and fall of certain empires or peoplegroups is this completely alien timeline? What impact would this have on trade, economics and diplomacy (cotton would become a massive cash crop as it would be needed to fix nitrogen)? Or on the sciences (animal urine would be further studied to produce greater yields of nitrate for saltpetre)? What about armors or fortifications; would castles and sieges even exist in a timeline where wonderweapons could tear down large bastions with ease?

Scenario 1: Mid-to-neolithic age (hwachas, bamboo guns, fireworks, flamethrowers)

Scenario 2: Early bronze age (culverins, bronze cannons, maybe some improvised version of the mysorean rocket)

For simplicity sake, you can assume black powder was still invented by the Chinese, however, do feel free to superimpose this discovery on other cultures (perhaps the inhabitants of the Caucasus with their great tradition for pastoralism or the West Africans with their abundant resources, or even pre-PIE Western Europe with their large coal reserves)

Also, bonus points if anyone can manage to fit a more reliable/effective form of nitrogen fixation in the brief time window I have given you.
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Damn, no takers?
It’s a difficult prompt to interact with. Most discussions on here begin with a single event going differently, somone living longer of shorter, marrying someone else, a battle won or lost etc. this in comparison is pretty much rewriting all of civilization, it’s a handful. Also, with prompts this big the question of how it happens is extremely important, and it might seem as too handwaved here.
 
Stone Age gunpowder mainly have a use as a explosive, so it will mainly make it easier to make canals and roads, and of course make stonewall more useless, instead pushing earth Fortifications and moats.
 
This is complete ASB. I never thought somebody would be seriously proposing gunpowder in prehistory of all things. I repeat my answer. Prehistoric Europe has:
neither the technology, the right social, political, and economic conditions, or the appropriate resources or means of using them.
 
This is complete ASB. I never thought somebody would be seriously proposing gunpowder in prehistory of all things. I repeat my answer. Prehistoric Europe has:

I wouldn't go ASB. But it is a big change, like the fundemental differences between the Americas not having beasts of burden vs Eurasia which does.

A lot more use in irrigation and in warfare. Metalwork is probably not up to Cannon and I don't have a sense of how easy it is for the tech to spread. How common it is makes a big difference.
 
This is complete ASB. I never thought somebody would be seriously proposing gunpowder in prehistory of all things. I repeat my answer. Prehistoric Europe has:
You can treat it as ASB, and the POD doesn't need to take place in prehistoric Europe, China, the Levant, Egypt or any other location where the invention of gunpowder during such a time would be infeasible. The constituent parts of gunpowder are fairly redimentary and have been known to us for millennia, I'm simply wondering about the consequences of such an invention during this period and just how radically different human history will be.

If there's no way to realistically mass-produce gunpowder with the technology of the era, then feel free to push this POD as far forward as you need to. Most importantly, be as creative as you want with these types of scenarios.

It’s a difficult prompt to interact with. Most discussions on here begin with a single event going differently, somone living longer of shorter, marrying someone else, a battle won or lost etc. this in comparison is pretty much rewriting all of civilization, it’s a handful. Also, with prompts this big the question of how it happens is extremely important, and it might seem as too handwaved here.
Same as above; you can make up any POD as you like, and build off of that. I don't care who develops gunpowder and why, I only care about the long-reaching consequences on society.
 
See the discussion in this thread


I am still waiting for "WI Neanderthals discover gunpowder"
 
In China horse archers lasted into the 19th century and it’s super thick walled cities stood into the 20th. Gunpowder transform warfare IF you waged war in a certain way. If you’re engaged in ritualistic wars of intimidation it would have far less relevance.
 
If you’re engaged in ritualistic wars of intimidation it would have far less relevance.
I would assume the presense of firecrackers and rockets would still impact the ritualistic side of society, especially if wars still had these connotations of mysticism attached to them. For peoplegroups who venerated a god of war, surely this would influence their rituals and beliefs in some way or another.
 
I would assume the presense of firecrackers and rockets would still impact the ritualistic side of society, especially if wars still had these connotations of mysticism attached to them. For peoplegroups who venerated a god of war, surely this would influence their rituals and beliefs in some way or another.

As civil, religious ritual sure. On the battlefield people will get used to them. It’s a good way to scare horses though.
 
As civil, religious ritual sure. On the battlefield people will get used to them. It’s a good way to scare horses though.
Certainly, the use of gunpowder isn't limited to just warfare, and I wouldn't ask this question if I didn't believe that the invention of gunpowder would have large-reaching consequences on culture, customs and intersocial norms too.

Perhaps I should've asked this on a worldbuilding forum instead; I understand that my hypothetical scenario is too open-ended for a simple explanation, and that most people here are simply too busy to be writing paragraphs and stories over a WI.
 
Assume gunpowder is invented, studied, improved-upon and refined in prehistory, what would be the large-scale implications of such a discovery on culture, religion, warfare, superstition, traditions, etc? How would this affect the rise and fall of certain empires or peoplegroups in this completely alien timeline? What impact would this have on trade, economics and diplomacy (cotton would become a massive cash crop as it would be needed to fix nitrogen)? Or on the sciences (animal urine would be further studied to produce greater yields of nitrate for saltpetre)? What about armors or fortifications; would castles and sieges even exist in a timeline where wonderweapons could tear down large bastions with ease?

Scenario 1: Mid-to-neolithic age (hwachas, bamboo guns, fireworks, flamethrowers)

Scenario 2: Early bronze age (culverins, bronze cannons, maybe some improvised version of the mysorean rocket)

For simplicity sake, you can assume black powder was still invented by the Chinese, however, do feel free to superimpose this discovery on other cultures (perhaps the inhabitants of the Caucasus with their great tradition for pastoralism or the West Africans with their abundant resources, or even pre-PIE Western Europe with their large coal reserves)

Also, bonus points if anyone can manage to fit a more reliable/effective form of nitrogen fixation in the brief time window I have given you.
I am not sure if you had ever came across Charles Stross (the Sci-fi author) whom very recently wrote a sub-series spin-off (from the Corporate Clan series) called "Empire Games" trilogy.

In the spin-off trilogy, which featured travel across parallel timelines, there was an extinct human civilisation called the "Forerunners" that had advanced technology to access alternate timelines. These "Forerunners" were described as having the ability to start building nuclear reactors at the time of the Roman Empire in OTL.

While the novels never did describe the backstory of the "Forerunners", in my mind, I suspect these guys had a industrial revolution much earlier, maybe discovering gunpowder towards the end of the Neolithic (stone-age) period.
 
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