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Learning about the Past. I Geography Place Location Human-environment interaction Movement Regions History Pre-History: Before written records Fossils are remains of living things (plants, an imals, people), not things that were made.

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learning about the past
Learning about the Past

I Geography

    • Place
    • Location
    • Human-environment interaction
    • Movement
    • Regions
  • History
    • Pre-History: Before written records
      • Fossils are remains of living things (plants, an imals, people), not things that were made.
      • Artifacts are remains of things that were made, not remains of living things.
    • History: After written records
people who study the past
People who study the past
  • Historian
  • Archeologist
  • Anthropologist
  • Paleontologist
  • Geologist
search for human origins
Search for Human Origins
  • Archeologists
    • Study past cultures by locating and analyzing human remains, fossils and artifacts
    • Use scientific tests such as carbon dating to analyze fossils and artifacts
  • Anthropologists:
    • Study culture or people’s unique way of life.
    • They study artifacts at archaeologist digs

The study of past societies through an analysis of what people have left behind.

Artifacts are those things that people left behind, they can include:

Tools and Weapons

Art and Sculpture


Ancient Buildings and Monuments

Human Remains



The study of human life and culture

The remains of ancient plants and animals.

By studying fossils archaeologists and anthropologists can learn about what people ate, what animals they had around, and their way of life.

Carbon dating can be used to date organic artifacts, or things that were once alive

All living things contain a radioactive isotope of Carbon called Carbon 14 which they absorb from the sun while they are alive.

Carbon 14 has a half-life of 5000 years. That means it takes 5,000 years for half of the Carbon 14 in something to break down.

If we know how much Carbon 14 something has left we can count back to how much is had to begin with to determine the age of the artifact. Is limited to things 50,000 years old or less.

Thermo luminescence Dating: Measures the light given off by the electrons in soil surrounding artifacts. Can measure up to 200,000 years.

famous people
Famous People
  • Mary Leaky: Found footprints of earliest humanlike in Eastern Africa.
  • Donald Johanson: Found a complete adult female skeleton in Ethiopa (E. Africa)
    • Named her “Lucy”

Monument begun in the Neolithic age and finished in the Bronze Age

Located on the Salisbury Plain in England

What it may have looked like at completion

  • Example of an archaeological site in England.
  • Started during the Neolithic and completed during the Bronze Age
  • Religious Site??

Family of mankind that walked up right

The first Hominids, they are thought to have emerged in East Africa in the Great Rift Valley between 3-4 million years ago.

Second stage in early human development, Homo erectus, which means upright human being, emerged about 1.5 million years ago.

These were the first hominids to leave Africa and moved into Europe and Asia.

They also used more complex tools

homo sapiens dawn of modern man
Homo Sapiens“Dawn of Modern Man”
  • Emerged in Africa 100,000 to 400,000 years ago
  • Migrated from Africa into Eurasia, Australia, and Americans.
  • Two Branches
    • Neanderthal: 200,000 to 30,000
    • Found in Europe and SW Asia
  • Cro-Magnon
    • 40,000 to 8,000
    • Found in Europe
    • Fully modern humans
    • Created Cave Art

About 250,000 years ago Homo sapiens emerged.

Homo Sapiens means “Wise Person.”

This group split into two distinct groups:

Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens Sapiens

Found in the Neander Valley in Germany.

Thought to have lived between 100,000 and 30,000 years ago.

Used stone tools, and buried their dead. It is thought they had some primitive religious beliefs.

Were killed off by Homo Sapiens Sapiens


Homo Sapiens Sapiens


Modern Human Beings

Appeared in Africa between 150,000-200,000 years ago

Began to migrate outside of Africa 100,000 years ago.

Replaced the Neanderthals by 30,000 B.C..

By 10,000 B.C. Homo Sapiens Sapiens could be found throughout the world due to migration.

During the last ice age between 100,000 B.C. and 8000 B.C. the water level in the oceans dropped revealing a land bridge connecting Asia and North America

early man1
Early Man
  • Hunter gatherer Societies
  • Survival depended on the availability of wild plants and animals
  • Physical environment shaped their lives
old stone age paleolithic era
Old Stone AgePaleolithic Era
  • Longest Period of time
  • Characteristics
    • Hunter-gatherers societies
    • Invented first tools, weapons
    • Nomadic (Migrated in search of food/water/shelter)
    • Lived in Clans: small groups
    • Developed oral language
    • Created “Cave Art”
    • Use of Fire

Gathering was a more reliable source of food and so in Paleolithic society it is thought that it may have been Matriarchal, or female dominated.

Women were often seen at the time as symbols of life and fertility. Many ancient religions were centered around the worship of the earth and the woman was often representative of the earth and life because of the fact that women have children.

Early ideas about religion are often called sympathetic magic.

It is thought that early man often drew, or made representations of what he/she wanted to happen. Fertility statues for having many children, paintings of successful hunts etc.

  • Learned how to make fire
    • Cook food -Scare away animals
    • Keep warm -Live in caves
  • Developed oral language
    • Allows people to work together
    • Give specific instructions
    • Exchange ideas
    • Pass on culture from generation to generation
religion and the afterlife
Religion and the Afterlife
  • Basis for polytheism
  • Paintings, statues
  • Burials- simple and high status
neolithic era neolithic revolution new stone age
Neolithic Era/ Neolithic Revolution/New Stone Age
  • “When Civilization Began”
  • Started between 13,000 -10,000 B.C./BCE
  • Change in Climate, rising temperature worldwide provided longer growing seasons
  • Characteristics:
    • Developed of Agriculture: Greatest breakthrough in history.
    • Domesticated Animals
      • Tamed horses, dogs, goats and pigs
neolithic era
Neolithic Era
    • Uses of advance tools
    • Made Pottery
    • Developed weaving skills
    • Neolithic- farm, wheel/axel, domestication, population increase, pottery
  • Outcomes:
    • A small supply of grain helped support a small population boom
    • People started to live small farming communities
    • Free people to do other things: artisans,
    • Specialization Because people could focus on one particular thing technology and skills improved.
    • Civilization********************************

Copper and Bronze Ages 4000-1000BC

  • Iron Age begin 1000 BC
  • People begin to keep written records

Agricultural Surplus

As farming technology improved people were able to grow the food they needed. Because of this not everyone had to work on providing food anymore and so people could do other things.


People who made crafts such as textiles (fabrics), pottery, jewelry, etc. . .

People could do what they were good at instead of having to farm.

Specialization of Labor

Because people could focus on one particular thing technology and skills improved.

Storage of Food

Pottery and other devices were invented as ways to grow extra food. This extra food was vital for feeding a growing population.


As artisans made goods they began to exchange goods with other villages, and later cities, who had different goods. This was a barter system.

neolithic new stone age
Neolithic- New Stone Age
  • Developed agriculture- Agricultural Revolution
  • Domesticated animals
  • Used advanced tools
  • Made pottery
  • Developed weaving skills
  • Neolithic- farm, wheel/axel, domestication, population increase, pottery

Variations on Agriculture

As agriculture spread different areas began to grow different crops that were suited to their environment.

These places where people began to settle down, grow crops, and start villages became known as the Cradles of Civilization.

Most of these areas were in river valleys. This first was Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates River Valleys.

Other river valleys include The Nile in Egypt, the Indus in India, and the Huang He in China.

These villages spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

The oldest and largest of the villages are found in SW Asia.

early civilizations

Early Civilizations

…and their features

river valleys1
River Valleys
  • Good place to farm
    • Rich soil due to silt from flooding
    • Great source of water
    • Valleys tend to protect from invasion by nomads.
  • Examples
    • Egypt & Kush (Nile River)
    • Mesopotamia (Tigris and Euphrates Rivers)
    • Indian (Indus River)
    • Chinese (Huang He River)
how civilizations develop
How Civilizations Develop

Increased Population


Surplus Food


  • New, Better Things
  • Tools, plows, irrigation
  • Use of Iron, Bronze
  • Job Specialization
  • People master one job
  • Blacksmith, farmer, weaver, etc.
  • More Leisure Time
  • More people = less work
  • Less work = more time to think, invent.
  • Increasing population due to extra food
  • Farming communities grow very big.
  • These population centers are called cities.
job specialization1
Job Specialization
  • Increased Population:
    • Less people needed in fields
      • People have leisure/free time to think/create.
  • People can train & work in one job for life
    • Fisherman, Blacksmith, Pottery Maker, etc
  • Results in new items
    • Trade of items and ideas = cultural diffusion.
organized governments
Organized Governments
  • Plan and run things that benefit everyone.
    • Food production, roads, bridges, irrigations systems, etc. (Public Works)
  • Early government types:
    • City-state: city and land surrounding it.
    • Kingdom: multiple city-states together
    • Empire: many nations under one ruler
organized governments1
Organized Governments
  • Hereditary rulers emerge
    • Ruling families (dynasty) remain the rulers.
  • Created and used laws
    • Examples:
      • Hammurabi’s Code
      • Ten Commandments
writing systems
Writing Systems
  • Pictograms (earliest written symbols)
  • Hieroglyphics (Egypt)
  • Cuneiform (Sumer)
  • Alphabet (Phoenicia)
  • Used to explain the world & nature
    • Farmers pray for rain, sun.
  • Most early civilizations are polytheistic
    • People often pray to nature gods.
  • Priests are important
    • Only they can “talk” to the gods
    • Often become important in government