PREHISTORY

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PREHISTORY
• Prehistory is the period when human beings existed on earth
but had not yet invented writing and therefore left no
written records behind them
– Knowledge of them comes from physical artifacts that
they left behind
• Tools, weapons, ornaments, garbage, and their
skeletons
• Limits what we will ever know about them
– Will never know for sure that they thought about,
how they organized themselves, how they interrelated with each other, or why they behaved the
way they did
» This is all based on speculation
ORIGINS
• 3 million years ago, a group of
small ape-like creatures
appeared along the shores of
the lakes of East Africa
– Brain capacity was larger
than other apes of the
region
• Developed complex
social organization in
which they lived
together, and cooperated
in hunting, food
gathering, and defense
• Developed ability to
make and use tools and
weapons
EVOLUTION
• Became dominant species in region
– Made possible by superior
brainpower
• Creatures evolved due to natural
selection
– A biological process in which the
best traits in a species are passed
on and amplified from generation
to generation while negative traits
are not
– Became larger, stronger, smarter
and less ape-like in appearance
– Also began to migrate to other
places in Africa
MORE CHANGE
• Process of simultaneous
evolution, population
increase, and migration
continued over several
million years
– Caused more mental
and physical change
– Caused groups of them
to leave Africa and
settle in Middle East,
Europe, Asia, and North
and South America
THE BEGINNING OF US
• This long-term process of
evolution and migration
resulted in the appearance
of homo sapiens sapiens
– Around 200,000-100,000
BC
• Lived in small groups in
virtually every habitable
place on the globe
– Beginning of the
Paleolithic Age
GROWING DIVERSITY
• Humans adopted behavioral
patterns determined by the
environment where they lived
• Minor variations also appeared
among humans due to
environmental conditions
– People who lived in
northern regions lost much
of the melanin in their
chemical body
compositions
• Caused their skin to
become lighter in color
THE PALEOLITHIC LIFE
• Paleolithic humans
supported themselves
exclusively by hunting and
gathering
• Did not establish
permanent settlements but
lived in temporary shelters
– Moved on when supply
of food ran low
• Formed bands of 30 or so
people and cooperated
together to obtain food and
protect themselves
PALEOLITHIC INNOVATIONS I
• Paleolithic humans
made and used tools
CHIMPS AND TOOLS
Jane Goodall has observed chimpanzees
taking a twig, stripping it of leaves, spitting
on it, and then sticking it down an ant hill
or termite mound to capture insects to eat
She has also seen male chimpanzees grab
a stick and use it as a weapon in a fight
She therefore claims that chimps also
make and use tools
But they do not save these items for future
use, nor do they make any attempt to
improve them
DIFFERENCE
• Humans shaped a variety
of materials into tools
and weapons
– Stone, wood, bone
– Corresponded to ideas
they had in their
minds
• Preserved creations for
future use and taught
other people how to
make and use them
TECHNOLOGICAL PROGRESS
• Later generations would
improve on what they had
been taught and make
even better ones
– Result was a continual
improvement in human
technology
– Ancestors progressed
from crude, sharpened
stones to spears, knives,
scrapers, fish hooks,
fishing nets, and the
bow and arrow
PALEOLITHIC INNOVATION II
• Spoken language
was another great
achievement of
the Paleolithic
Age
MAMMAL COMMUNICATION
• Some other apes and other
mammals make sounds to
express emotions and
communicate with each
other
– Notably dolphins and
whales
• But none of these animals
can give a name to an
object nor can they
describe something
IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION
• Human beings developed capacity to describe things, name
things (including each other), and share their knowledge,
experiences, and feelings with each other
– At first did so through a combination of primitive sounds
and sign language
– In time, they developed spoken language
• Allowed them to transmit everything they knew and had
learned to others; allowed them to cooperate with other;
and allowed them to teach their children survival skills.
PALEOLITHIC INNOVATION III
• Paleolithic people believed that the
forces of nature were living things
– They acted with a purpose
– Nature was thus unpredictable to
them
• To make forces of nature act in a
predictable way that benefitted human
beings, they made offerings to them
– Gradually medicine men and
witchdoctors emerge who
specialized in dealing with forces of
nature through special chants,
rituals, and ceremonies
GRAVES
• Humans also began
practice of burying their
dead
– Bodies often posed in
fetal position
– Sometimes with
offerings and the dead
person’s tools and
weapons
– Indicated the
development of some
sort of notion of an
afterlife
PALEOLITHIC INNOVATION IV
• Paleolithic people produced the
first art in human history
• Painted very skillful pictures of
animals
– In Africa, Asia, Europe, North
and South America
• Painted wherever they happened
to be living but the only paintings
to survive the ravages of time and
weather were the ones painted
inside of caves
PURPOSE
• “Cave Art” had something to do
with magic
– Many animals painted in
caves are wounded
• Expressing desire for
successful hunt
– Other paintings portray large
herds of animals
• Expressing hope that
game would be plentiful
• Paintings were part of rituals
that hunters engaged in before
they went out for the day
BIRTH OF NEOLITHIC AGE
• Human beings who
lived in hills of
Middle East
discovered
agriculture and
animal husbandry
– 10,000 years ago
– Ushered in the
Neolithic Age
THE FIRST FARMERS
• Women who gathered barley and
wheat probably noticed that
dropped seeds sprouted with time
– After some experimentation,
they began to cultivate small
plots of land devoted to these
crops
• Advantages were obvious
– Instead of wandering around
looking for edible cereals and
stuff, people could now grow
them near where they lived and
have guaranteed source of food
DOMESTICATION OF ANIMALS
• First animals to be
domesticated for meat
were sheep and goats
– Both of whom roamed
wild in the region
• Advantage was that instead
of tracking wild animals
over great distances
without any guarantee that
you would find any, they
could now be penned up
nearby and slaughtered
whenever necessary
PERMANENT SETTLEMENTS
• Agriculture diminished
the need for humans to
stay constantly on the
move
– Since they were no
longer forced to
continually follow the
supply of game
– Led to the
establishment of
permanent settlements
HUMAN CONCENTRATION
• Hunting required that human
social groups remain small
– The more reliable production of
agriculture encouraged
population growth and larger
concentrations of people in a
single area
• Agriculture encouraged population
growth and the development of
relatively large, permanent
settlements of people
TRADE
• Appearance of permanent
settlements gave rise to trade
– Neolithic farmers produced
surplus of food which they
traded to other groups of
people elsewhere who
possessed things farmers
needed but did not produce
themselves.
• Middle Eastern farming
communities traded food to
people in other regions for salt,
volcanic glass, and iron ore.
DIVISION OF LABOR
• People within Neolithic
communities began to
manufacture items that
farmers needed but did
not have the time or
talent to make
themselves
– Traded these items for
food
– Pottery containers,
agricultural implements,
etc.
PRIVATE PROPERTY
• Awareness of private property
developed with agriculture
– The concept that this land is “mine”
and that no one else could mess
with it
• Certain families gained more property
than others
– They thus gained power over the
others and became “leaders”
• Government and social hierarchy were
created in the Neolithic farming
communities of the Middle East
Neolithic Age did not appear
everywhere in the world at the
same time. It appeared first in
the Middle East and then later in
other parts of the world
CATAL HUYUK
JARMO
Agriculture would be later
in other parts of the
world, either
indepenently or as result
of contact with areas that
had already discovered it
JERICHO
NEOLITHIC TECHNOLOGY I
• Neolithic people
made pottery
containers for
cooking and
storing food and
water
NEOLITHIC TECHNOLOGY II
Neolithic people
invented the wheel
and the sail
Improved
transportation on
both land and
water
NEOLITHIC TECHNOLOGY III
• Neolithic people
invented the plow
–Made farming
easier and more
productive
NEOLITHIC TECHNOLOGY IV
• Neolithic people discovered the
use of metal
– First to be employed was
copper
• Easily shaped into tools
and weapons, durable,
and could be recast and
reshaped when they items
broke
– Later bronze was discovered
• Alloy of copper and tin
• Harder and more durable
than copper, making
possible better tools and
weapons
SUMMARY
• During the Neolithic Age, food
supply became more reliable,
permanent settlements were
established, and population
increased
– Families that acquired more
land than others gained a
higher status and became local
leaders
• Human society was becoming
more and more organized and
complex
– Approached the threshold of
civilization

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