Early societies in americas and oceania
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Early Societies in Americas and Oceania. Chapter 6. I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica. Migration from Siberia to Alaska (13000bce) May have also reached western hemisphere by watercraft, sailing or drifting. I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d. The Olmecs

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Early Societies in Americas and Oceania

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Early societies in americas and oceania

Early Societies in Americas and Oceania

Chapter 6


I early societies of mesoamerica

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica

  • Migration from Siberia to Alaska (13000bce)

  • May have also reached western hemisphere by watercraft, sailing or drifting


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

  • The Olmecs

    1. Early Agriculture in Mesoamerica

    a. 8000-7000bce

    b. Mexico to Honduras and El Salvador

    c. maize becomes staple food

    d. did not keep many animals

    e. domesticated animals: turkeys and barkless dogs for consumption


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d1

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

f. human laborers for cultivation

g. no wheeled vehicles

2. Ceremonial Centers

a. monumental pyramids

b. temples

c. palaces

d. located near agriculture villages NOT cities (BIG difference from eastern civilizations)


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d2

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

3. Olmecs: The “Rubber” People

a. ceremonial center near Gulf of Mexico became Olmec society

b. Olmec=rubber people, derives from rubber trees

c. cultural traditions influenced all complex societies of Mesoamerica

d. ceremonial centers: San Lorenzo, La Venta, TresZapotes


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d3

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

4. Olmec Society

a. authoritarian in nature

b. common subjects labored regularly on behalf of the Olmec elite (creating the drainage systems & ceremonial centers)

c. distinctive art creations: colossal human heads (possible likeness of rulers)


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d4

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

5. Trade in Jade and Obsidian

a. spread influence by military force, but trade also important

b. decorative objects of jade (imported jade)

c. absence of metal they used obsidian (knives, axes, cutting edges)

d. decline and fall: intentionally destroyed their ceremonial centers (possibly due to civil conflicts, ineffective ruling class)


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d5

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

e. created calendar to keep track of seasons

f. distinctive ball game

B. Heirs of Olmecs: The Maya

  • 100bce complex society arise in Mesoamerica

  • Human population grew, ceremonial centers arose

  • Ambitious programs: construction, large markets, specialization of labor

  • Developed in a manner roughly parallel to their counterparts in the eastern hemisphere


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d6

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

1. The Maya

a. heirs of Olmecs

b. located in what is S. Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador

c. excellent conditions for agriculture

d. permanent villages in 3rd century, prominent Kaminaljuyu (ceremonial city)

e. fell under economic and political dominance of Teotihuacan


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d7

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

f. harvested maize, cotton, cacao

g. cacao precious commodity, mostly consumed by nobles

2. Tikal

a. most important Maya political center (4th& 9th century)

b. paved plazas, temples, pyramids, palaces & public buildings

c. Temple of Giant Jaguar represented control over the surrounding region

d. organized into lots of small kingdoms (ex. Tikal, Palenque & Chichen Itza


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d8

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

3. Maya Warfare

a. Maya kingdoms fought constantly w/one another

b. Maya warfare was not so much to kill but to capture

c. Warriors won prestige when they brought back important captives from their neighbors

d. most captives became slaves or sacrificial victims


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d9

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

4. Chichen Itza

a. established a larger political framework for Maya society

b. absorbed captives and integrated them into their own society rather than annihilate them or offer them up for sacrifice

5. Maya Decline

a. 800 ce most Mayan cities began to desert their cities

b. Decline reasons: invasion by foreigners from Mexico, internal dissention & civil war,


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d10

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

C. Maya Society & Religion

  • Large class of priests: transmitted knowledge of writing, astronomy, and virtue

  • Hereditary nobility owned most land and cooperated with kings and priests

  • Merchants came from ruling noble class

  • Traveling had strong political overtones, not only traders but ambassadors

  • Other distinct social classes: professional architects, sculptors, artisans

  • Peasants and slaves fed entire society & physical labor

  • Developed calendar

  • System of writing

  • Concept of zero


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d11

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

1. Maya Calendar

a. elaborate calendar of ancient Americas

b. understand human events in the contexts of cycles

c. solar year: 365 governed agricultural cycle

d. ritual year: 260 days governed daily affairs by organizing time in 20 months of 13 days

e. believed each day derived certain characteristics determining the fortune of activities taken that day


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d12

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

2. Maya Writing

a. written inscriptions

b. flexible and sophisticated of all the early American systems or writing.

c. ideographic elements

d. symbols for syllables

e. wrote works of history, poetry and myth

f. kept genealogical, administrative and astronomical records


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d13

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

3. Maya Religious Thought

a. PopulVuh-Maya creation myth, gods created humans out of maize & water

b. Maya religious thought reflected the fundamental role of agriculture in their society, much like those of the eastern hemisphere

4. Bloodletting Rituals

a. letting of human blood, Mayas believed they would prompt the Gods to send rain to water their crops of maize

b. would sometimes bloodlet the captives (ex. Cut of ends of fingers or lacerate bodies)

c. Chan Bahlum, royal bloodletting, testifies to the imitation of the gods sacrifice


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d14

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

5. The Maya Ball Game

a. two men against each other

b. object of the game was for players to propel a rubber ball through a ring or onto a marker w/o using their hands

c. played ball game for several reasons: sporting purposes, laid bets, honored conclusion of treaties, captives played for their lives


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d15

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

D. Heirs of the Olmecs: Teotihuacan

  • Earliest center

  • North of the highlands of Mexico

  • Early settlers in the valley did not build extensive irrigation systems

    1. The City of Teotihuacan

    a. probably a large agricultural village

    b. prominent monuments colossal pyramid for the sun and moon

    c. thriving metropolis w/temples, palatial residences, neighborhood w/ small apartments, markets, workshops

    d. somewhat of a theocracy


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d16

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

2. The Society of Teotihuacan

a. cultivators, artisans and merchants

b. 2/3 worked in fields during the day

c. artisans created obsidian tools and orange pottery

d. participated in extensive trade and exchange networks

e. little military organization, no walls


I early societies of mesoamerica cont d17

I. Early Societies of MesoAmerica cont’d

3. Cultural Traditions

a. played the ball game

b. adopted Olmec calendar

c. complete system of writing

4. Decline of Teotihuacan

a. military pressure from other people around 500ce

b. 8th c. invaders sacked and burned the city, destroying books & monuments


Ii early societies in s america

II. Early Societies in S. America

  • Early Andean Society and the Chavin Cult

  • Mesoamerica and Andean societies though developed around the same time were largely independent of each other.

  • Geography discouraged communication between the regions

  • Agricultural and technological diffusion

    1. Early Agriculture in S. America

    a. earliest cultivators relied on beans, peanuts and sweet potatoes as their main food crops

    b. domesticated animals were llamas & alpacas, c. distinctive styles of pottery


Ii early societies in s america cont d

II. Early Societies in S. America cont’d

2. The Chavin Cult

a. 1000 bce new religion near Andes mountains

b. don’t know the real significance of the cult

c. name unsure, named after modern town Chavin

d. one theory suggests that the cult arose when maize became an important crop in S. America

e. designed to promote fertility and abundant harvests

f. built large temples, complex buildings animal carvings, used gold, coppers and silver jewelry and made cotton textiles


Ii early societies in s america cont d1

II. Early Societies in S. America cont’d

3. Early Cities

a. inspired the building of ceremonial centers rather than the making the true cities

B. Early Andean States: Mochica

1. Political and Economic Integration of the Andean Valleys

a. western side of Andes mountains, Peru and Bolivia

b. states emerges when conquerors unified the individual valleys and organized them into societies.

c. established trade and exchange networks

d. each region contributed to the larger economy of the valley, this economic integration was not an accident

2. The Mohica State

a. Early Andean states

b. Mohica ceramics take the form of portraits of individuals’ heads, others of gods, deities, and demons


Ii early societies in s america cont d2

II. Early Societies in S. America cont’d

c. even in the absence of writing Mochica left evidence of a complex society with considerable specialization of labor


Iii early societies of oceania

III. Early Societies of Oceania

  • Early inhabitants enter Australia and New Guinea 60000 years before

  • Descendants sailed large, ocean going canoes throughout the Pacific basin and had established human communities in all the habitable islands of the Pacific

  • Early Societies in Australia and New Guinea

  • The aboriginal peoples of Australia maintained hunting and gathering

  • New Guinea people turned to agriculture, both different kinds of regions


Iii early societies of oceania cont d

III. Early Societies of Oceania cont’d

1. Early Hunting and Gathering Societies in Australia

a. aboriginals lived in small mobile communities that took seasonal migrations

2. Austronesian peoples

a. seafaring people from SE Asia speaking Austronesian languages

b. possessed remarkable seafaring skills

c. sailed with open ocean in large canoes equipped w/outriggers which stabilized their craft

d. visited northern coast of New Guinea, traded w/indigenous and est. their own communities


Iii early societies of oceania cont d1

III. Early Societies of Oceania cont’d

3. Early Agriculture in New Guinea

a. Austronesian seafarers that settled down and introduced yams, taro, pigs and chickens to the island.

b. did not know how to harvest and domesticate animals very well though

c. when changing to agriculture, permanent settlements arose, pottery and tools appeared throughout the island

C. The Peoples of the Pacific Islands

1. Austronesian migrations to Polynesia

a. Austronesian excellent maritime allowed them to settle in Pacific Islands

b. inhabited the uninhabited islands

c. Voyage of Ru story told of the migration from Hawaii to uninhabited islands


Iii early societies of oceania cont d2

III. Early Societies of Oceania cont’d

2. Austronesian Migrations to Micronesia and Madagascar

a. one branch of Austronesian peoples settled in Polynesia while other settled to the region of Micronesia (islands of Mariana, Caroline, and Marshall)

b. others went to Indonesia, became first human settlers in Madagascar.

3. Lapita peoples

a. Earliest Austronesian migrants to sail out to Pacific Ocean

b. maintained communication and large exchange networks through the Pacific region

4. Chiefly Political Organizations

a. discontinued trade networks because they essentially became self-sufficient

b. established hierarchical chiefdoms

c. regarded themselves as divine or semi-divine and the commoners could not gaze at them


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