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A History of Human Civilization. Jeff Feasel 17 Feb 2006. What we’ll learn. Brief overview of human history. What does the archeological record show? Discuss which factors contributed to human civilization. When Did Human History Happen?. [ See Timeline ]

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a history of human civilization

A History of Human Civilization

Jeff Feasel

17 Feb 2006

what we ll learn
What we’ll learn
  • Brief overview of human history.
  • What does the archeological record show?
  • Discuss which factors contributed to human civilization.
when did human history happen
When Did Human History Happen?

[See Timeline]

  • 200,000 BC: Split from all other Homonid species
  • 100,000 BC: Anatomically Modern Humans
      • as shown by fossil bones
  • 50,000 BC: Cro-Magnons (“Mentally Modern”)
      • as shown by archaeology
  • 8,000 BC: First signs of settled life
  • 4,000 BC: Written record begins
early migration of humans6
Early Migration of Humans

[See Migration Map]

  • Long before the last Ice Age, people were already spread out through most of Eurasia, Africa, and Australia.
  • Lived as hunter gatherers.
  • No evidence of farming/herding before Holocene.
arriving in the new world
Arriving in The New World
  • “Clovis” people
    • Broke from Mongoloid population living in Siberia.
    • Already adapted to arctic conditions
  • Entered North/South America via land-bridge on Bering Strait.
  • Exact timing is known because of “airlock” effect.
  • Tremendous boom! Spread from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego in less than 1000 years.
    • Mass extinction of large land mammals
the pace of civilization
The Pace of Civilization
  • 10,000 BC: End of last Ice Age
      • Humans had reached every habitable area.
      • Everyone has roughly the same lifestyle: hunter-gatherer.
  • 1400-1600 AD: European Expansion
      • Guns vs. Spears
  • Why did civilization proceed so much faster in some parts of the world than in others?
      • And what does this tell us about civilization?
who had what and why
Who Had What, and Why?
  • Mesopotamia
  • Egypt
  • Indus River
  • China
  • Mesoamerica
  • Andes
  • hunter-gatherers:
    • Southern Africa
    • Australia / New Guinea
    • Northern / Western Europe
    • North Asia

[See tables: Earliest Domestication of Animals/Plants]

natural resource animals
Natural Resource: Animals

[Table of Domesticated Animals]

  • Uses??
    • food, clothing, hunting, transportation, traction
  • [Necessary for domestication:]
    • Pack behavior – dominance heirarchy
    • Able to live in dense groups
    • Willing to breed in captivity
    • Usually herbivorous
    • Usually relatively large (>50 lbs) (often the same animals you’d hunt)
  • [No new animals domesticated until after the Industrial Revolution.]
  • Compare New World to Old World.
  • Why such an imbalance of useful domesticatable animals available?
    • Luck-of-the-Draw or Mass Extinction
    • Why weren’t Old World animals hunted to extinction?
natural resource plants
Natural Resource: Plants

[Table of Domesticated Plants]

  • Grains and legumes form most of the human diet.
      • (70% of calories come from cereal)
  • [Necessary for domestication:]
    • Fast-maturing
    • Large-enough seeds or fruits
    • Storable
  • Not quite as imbalanced as animals, but still...
  • Compare New World to Old World
  • Why did some areas take to farming more than others?
    • Climatic advantage.
      • Incoming solar energy gradient.
    • What are the “sweet-spots”?
      • Band near, but not on, Equator.
      • Which are suitable for GRASSES to grow?
earliest domestication of plants
Earliest Domestication of Plants

[Bracketed crops were borrowed from other cultures]

the effects of geography
The Effects of Geography
  • Climate
  • Migration of people.
  • Diffusion (or stimulus diffusion) of domesticated plants/animals and technology.
putting it all together
Putting it all together
  • What is Civilization?
  • What factors allow it to happen?
factors
Factors
  • Climate
  • Geographical location
  • Available domesticatable species
  • Food production (animals, plants)  Surplus
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Specialization
  • Increased Population Density
  • Germs & Immunity
  • Infrastructure
  • Exchange of ideas
    • within culture
    • across culture
recommended reading
Recommended Reading
  • Cook, Michael. (2005) A Brief History of the Human Race. W. W. Norton and Company, New York.
  • Diamond, Jared. (1997)Guns, Germs, and Steel.W. W. Norton and Company, New York.
  • Diamond, Jared. (1992)The Third Chimpanzee.HarperCollins Publishers, New York.