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Chapter One: Nature, Humanity, & History, to 3500 BCE

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1 Chapter One: Nature, Humanity, & History, to 3500 BCE


3 African Genesis: Interpreting the Evidence
In 1859, Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species-species evolve by natural selection African origins suggested by discovery of Australopithecus africanus in confirmed by work of the Leakeys in E. Africa beginning in 1950 Archaeological evidence, understanding evolution of other species & tracing human genetic code backwards has helped scientists track evolution of human beings over 5 million years Australopithecus africanus First pre-human ancestors discovered- Initially rejected because of small brain. Opinion changed when new evidence showed it hadmany features intermediate between apes & humans

4 Human Evolution Australopithecines & modern humans are hominids- members of primate family Distinguished from other primates by three characteristics: bipedalism, large brain & larynx low in neck Hominids gained advantages during climate changes More climate changes2 -3 million years ago caused evolution of Homo habilis- brain 50 % larger By 1 million years ago, Homo habilis & all australopithecines were extinct Replaced by Homo erectus (1.7 million years ago) & then Homo sapiens (400,000 to 100,000 years ago) Genetic evidence suggests further development emerged around 50,000 years ago (capacity for speech)

5 Migrations from Africa
Low sea levels associated with Ice Age allowed Homo erectus & Homo sapiens to migrate from Africa to Europe & Asia Homo sapiens migrated from Africa (40,000 years ago) & crossed land bridge to Americas during last glacial period (32,000–13,000 years ago) Low sea levels allowed Homo sapiens to reach Japan & New Guinea/Australia Minor physical evolutionary changes (skin color) Humans adapted to new environments through process of technological adaptation

6 Ice Age: Food Gathering & Stone Tools
Stone Age (2 million - 4,000 years ago) Paleolithic (Old Stone Age—to 10,000 years ago) Neolithic (New Stone Age) Paleolithic - characterized by production of stone tools used to scavenge meat from dead animals & hunt Homo sapiens very good hunters –probably caused extinction of mastodons & mammoths about 11,000 years ago Stone Age people foraged vegetable foods more than meat Human use of fire traced to 1.5 million years ago-conclusive evidence of cooking (clay pots) only found 12,500 years ago

7 Gender Roles & Social Life
Slow maturation rate of human infants & ability of adults to mate any time are thought to be causes of development of two-parent family (characteristic of hominids) Women gathered food, cooked, child-care Men mainly hunted Hunter-gatherers lived in small groups-migrated regularly to follow game animals & to take advantage of seasonal variations in ripening of foraged foods

8 Hearths & Cultural Expressions
Migrating hunter-gatherers lived in camps; used natural or temporary shelters Permanent fishing communities made more solid structures Clothing of animal skins sewn together w/ vegetable fiber & rawhide cords Hunter-gatherers spent 3-5 hrs a day on food, clothing & shelter- left time for cultural activities like gathering, organizing, passing on information, art & religion Cave art suggests Ice Age people had complex religion Burial sites indicate belief in afterlife

9 Agricultural Revolution: Domestication of Plants & Animals
Occurred independently worldwide at different rates--Caused by climate change Transition occurred first in Middle East, but also Eastern Sahara, Nile Valley, Greece, Central Europe Early farmers practiced swidden agriculture, changed fields when fertility declined Environments dictated choice of crops. Mediterranean = Wheat & barley -South & SE Asia = Rice -Equatorial W. Africa = Yams Sub-Saharan Africa = Sorghum, millet -Americas = Maize, potatoes, quinoa, manioc

10 Domesticated Animals & Pastoralism
Domestication of animals proceeded at same time as plants Hunters first domesticated dogs; sheep & goats were later domesticated for meat, milk, wool Animals pulled plows; supplied manure for fertilizer Two exceptions to pattern of Americas: no animals suitable for domestication except llamas, guinea pigs, & some fowl; hunting remained main source of meat; humans main source of labor power Arid parts of Central Asia & Africa: environment not appropriate for settled agriculture; pastoralists herded cattle or other animals from one grazing area to another

11 Agriculture & Ecological Crisis
Humans transitioned to agricultural or pastoralist economies because global warming ( B.C.E.) brought environmental changes-reduced game & wild foods Agricultural revolution increased world’s human population—from 10 million in 5000 b.c.e. to between million in 1000 b.c.e.

12 Life in Neolithic Communities: Cultural Expressions
Early food producers worshiped ancestral & nature spirits centered on sacred groves, springs, wild animals; deities such as Earth Mother & Sky God Early societies used megaliths (big stones) to construct burial chambers & calendar circles to aid astronomical observations Expansion of food-producing societies reflected in patterns of language groups dispersed around Eastern Hemisphere; Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, & Afro-Asiatic

13 Early Towns & Specialists
Most people lived in villages, but in some places, the environment supported the growth of towns in which one finds more elaborate dwellings, facilities for surplus food storage, & communities of specialized craftspeople Two best-known examples of Neolithic towns are: Jericho- on west bank of Jordan River; walled w/mud-brick structures; dates back to 8000 B.C.E. Çatal Hüyük- central Turkey, dates to 7000–5000 b.c.e.

14 Catal Huyuk Center for obsidian trade; craftspeople produced pottery, baskets, woolen cloth, beads, leather & wood products No evidence of dominant class or centralized political leadership Art reflects fascination with hunting, but agriculture was mainstay of economy Flourishing religion that involved offerings of food; may have centered on worship of goddess & administered by priestesses Remains include decorative, ceremonial objects made of copper, lead, silver, gold; tools/weapons continued to be made from stone

15 What is significance of Jericho & Catal Huyuk?
Emerging social organization; food producers supported nonproducing specialists; priests & craftspeople Labor mobilized for nonproductive projects; defensive walls, megalithic structures & tombs Don’t know if labor was free or coerced

16 Conclusions Humans are descended from hominids that evolved in Africa about 7 million years ago. Modern human beings are descended from communities that evolved in Africa 50,000 years ago Humans began developing a variety of tools more than 2 million years ago from stone, bone, skin, wood, and plant fiber. Though primarily vegetarian, Paleolithic people also used weapons to hunt. They developed a sexual division of labor and became knowledgeable about the natural world that provided them with clothing and medicine. Climate change drove early human communities to abandon hunting and gathering and develop agriculture and pastoralism, which consequently increased the global human population from 2 to 10 million in less than 10,000 years. Prosperity of the settled life during the Neolithic period led to the first towns, trade, and specialization. Archaeology reveals that humans developed forms of religion to recognize the cycles of death and rebirth.

17 Discussion Questions How did the physical and cultural characteristics of hominids change over time, and how do scientists document and explain these changes? How have changes in the environment influenced the physical development of the human species? What is culture? Do environmental conditions and changes in the techniques of production have an effect on culture? If so, how? What effects did the agricultural revolutions have on Neolithic societies? What were women’s roles in the first 4 million years of human history? What evidence can we find that might give us some indications of what women’s roles may have been? Does the evidence indicate how women’s roles may have changed over time? How and why might such change have occurred?


19 Civilization Emerges Cities: As farmers settled in fertile river valleys, they began to grow surplus or extra food. This extra food increased the population of the settlements. In time, the settlements grew into cities, such as Ur in Sumer or Babylon in Mesopotamia. Organized Central Governments: As cities developed and expanded, the food supply and irrigation systems needed to be maintained. Governments, such as councils or religious leaders, began to oversee the business and existence of the cities. Complex Religions: Religious leaders would conduct elaborate ceremonies to appease the gods (polytheism)and insure a bountiful harvest. Floods and droughts were blamed on the gods’ anger so rituals were conducted in the temples. Job Specialization: As civilizations became more complex, artisans and craftsmen were needed to maintain specific items and tasks. No longer could individuals do all the work. Now some concentrated on teaching, scribing, stonecutting, etc. Social Classes: As jobs became specialized so did the status & needs of certain individuals. The need for a knowledgeable & educated religious leader was more respected than unskilled workers. Herders were needed & respected for providing food, while masons were needed for building. Slave were on lowest rung of the social ladder, warriors & kings were on top. Writing: Records were needed to keep accounts on trade goods and food storage. Writing was needed because the information became too great. In addition, one needed to express more complex ideas such as "belief" and "social order" where pictures and words simply would not suffice. Art and Architecture: This expressed the beliefs and values of a civilization. Different styles were developed and copied by societies. Often the art was used to impress visitors and people about the beauty and power of a king or a community Public Works: The government would order these, although costly, to aid and benefit the community. Such things as a wall to protect from attack or a canal to aid in irrigation would help insure the survival of a people.

20 Mesopotamia: Settled Agriculture in an Unstable Landscape
Difficult for agriculture little rainfall rivers flood at wrong time for grain rivers change course unpredictably warm climate & good soil 4000 b.c.e., cattle-pulled plows to cultivate barley 3000 b.c.e., irrigation canals Other crops & natural resources date palms, vegetables, reeds , fish, & fallow land for grazing goats and sheep Draft animals included cattle and donkeys and, later camels & horses No significant wood, stone, or metal resources Earliest people & initial creators of Mesopotamian culture were Sumerians 2000 b.c.e., Sumerians supplanted by Semitic-speaking peoples who dominated & intermarried with Sumerians-preserved Sumerian culture

21 Standard of Ur What elements of civilization can you see here?
What does this artifact reveal about Sumerian culture?

22 Mesopotamia: Cities, Kings, Trade
society of villages & cities linked by mutual interdependence villages produced food to feed nonproducing urban elite & craftspeople cities provided military protection, markets, & specialist-produced goods City States- city & its agricultural land sometimes fought over resources-water & land; other times, they cooperated in sharing resources traded with one another mobilized human resources to open new farmland & to build/maintain irrigation systems Construction of irrigation systems required the organization of large numbers of people for labor Two centers of power: temples & palaces Temples were landholders-priests controlled considerable wealth religious power predates secular power of palaces

23 Mesopotamia: Cities, Kings, Trade
Secular leadership developed in third millennium b.c.e.-“big men” (lugal), originally military leaders, emerged as secular leaders The Epic of Gilgamesh-example of secular power Eventually some city-states absorbed others Akkadian state, Sargon of Akkad (Empire Builder) around 2350 b.c.e., & Third Dynasty of Ur (2112–2004 b.c.e.) Hammurabi established Old Babylonian state Code of Hammurabi provides infor about Old Babylonian law, punishments, & society Mesopotamian states needed resources- obtained by territorial expansion & through long-distance trade Merchants originally employed by temples or palaces; later, private merchants emerged. Trade carried out through barter or traded for fixed weights of precious metal or measurements of grains

24 Mesopotamian Society Religion was amalgam of Sumerian & later Semitic beliefs & deities deities anthropomorphic-each city had guardian Humans were servants of gods-complex, specialized hereditary priesthood served gods Temples were walled compounds containing religions & functional buildings Most visible part of temple compound was ziggurat Little knowledge of beliefs & religious practices of common people Evidence indicates a popular belief in magic & use of magic to influence gods

25 Mesopotamian Technology & Science
Technology: “any specialized knowledge that is used to transform the natural environment & human society.” includes irrigation systems & nonmaterial specialized knowledge such as religious lore, ceremony, writing systems Cuneiform: evolved from using pictures to represent sounds of words or parts of words complex, required hundreds of signs- monopolized by scribes Developed to write Sumerian but later used to write Akkadian & other Semitic & non-Semitic languages Used to write economic, political, legal, literary, religious, & scientific texts

26 Mesopotamian Technology & Science
Cuneiform numbers were written using a combination of just two signs: a vertical wedge for '1' and a corner wedge for '10'. Handwriting varied as much in Old Babylonian times as it does now but the basic system of numbers is illustrated below.                                                                                                Mesopotamian Technology & Science Irrigation, transportation (boats, barges, & donkeys), bronze metallurgy, brickmaking, engineering Military technology-paid, full-time soldiers; horses; horse-drawn chariot; bow & arrow; & siege machinery numbers (base-60 system)-advances in mathematics & astronomy

27 Egypt:“Gift of the Nile”
Defined by Nile River-narrow green strip of arable land on either side of its banks, & fertile Nile delta area “Red land” barren desert “Black Land,” majority population Divided into two areas: Upper Egypt, along the southern part of the Nile as far south as the First Cataract Lower Egypt, the northern delta area Climate good for agriculture-little or no rainfall Farmers had to depend on river for irrigation

28 Egypt: “Gift of the Nile”
Nile floods regularly & at right time-leaving rich & easily worked deposit of silt depended on floods usually regular-inspired orderly view of universe Other natural resources: reeds (papyrus for writing) wild animals birds & fish plentiful building stone & clay access to copper & turquoise from desert gold from Nubia

29 Egypt: Divine Kingship
Evolved from pattern of small states ruled by local kings-emerged into large, unified Egyptian state around 3100 b.c.e. Organized into thirty dynasties: three longer periods: Old, Middle, New Kingdoms divided by periods of political fragmentation & chaos Kings (pharaohs) dominated Egyptian state- gods come to earth-ensured welfare & prosperity of people-maintain Ma’at (truth, order, justice, harmony, law, morality) Death of pharaoh beginning of journey back to gods Funeral rites & preservation of body important to maintain Ma’at Early pharaohs buried in flat-topped rectangular tombs-stepped pyramid tombs appeared about 2630 b.c.e. & smooth-sided pyramids later Great pyramids at Giza constructed b.c.e. (Old Kingdom period only) Constructed w/ stone tools & simple lever, pulley & rollers-required substantial resources & labor

30 Egypt: Administration and Communication
central administration through system of provincial & village bureaucracies Bureaucrats kept track of land, labor, taxes, people; collected resources Supported central government institutions- palace, bureaucracy & army & maintain temples, construct monuments Two writing systems: hieroglyphics & cursive Papyrus- used for religious & secular literature &record keeping Tensions between central & local government were constant When central power was predominant, provincial officials were appointed & promoted by central government on merit When central power was weak, provincial officials become autonomous- made positions hereditary-buried in own districts rather than near tomb of king

31 Egypt: Administration & Communication
More rural than Mesopotamia had cities, but haven’t been excavated-know little about urban life regarded all foreigners as enemies, but desert nomad neighbors posed no serious military threat more interested in acquiring resources than in acquiring territory; resources acquired through trade Egypt traded directly with the Levant & Nubia- indirectly with Punt (probably part of modern Somalia) Exports-papyrus, grain, gold Imports-incense, Nubian gold, Lebanese cedar, tropical African ivory, ebony, animals

32 People of Egypt Population of about 1 to 1.5 million physically heterogeneous people, some dark-skinned-some lighter-skinned Divided into several social strata: (1) the king & high-ranking officials; (2) lower-level officials, local leaders and priests, professionals, artisans, well-off farmers; and (3) peasants, the majority of the population Peasants lived in villages, cultivated the soil- paid taxes, provided labor service Women were subordinate to men, engaged in domestic activities Had right to hold, inherit & will property Retained rights over their own dowry after divorce More rights than Mesopotamian women

33 Egypt: Belief and Knowledge
Based on a cyclical view of nature Two most significant gods-sun-god Re & Osiris, god of the Underworld, who was killed, dismembered & then restored to life, represented renewal & life after death Kings-identified with Re & Horus, son of Osiris- served as chief priests large amount of wealth spent constructing fabulous temples Temple activities included regular offerings to gods & great festivals

34 Egypt: Belief and Knowledge
Belief in afterlife inspired mummification-provided knowledge of chemistry anatomy Tombs pictures/artifacts provide extensive information about daily life Tombs built in desert avoided wasting arable land-reflected social status of deceased Mathematics, astronomy, calendar making, irrigation, engineering/architecture, & transportation technology

35 Indus Valley Civilization
Central part of Indus Valley area is Sind region of modern Pakistan Adjacent related areas included Hakra River (now dried up), the Punjab & Indus delta region Indus carries silt- floods regularly twice a year Access to river water for irrigation allowed farmers in the Indus Valley & related areas to produce two crops a year despite the region’s sparse rainfall

36 Indus Valley: Material Culture
flourished from 2600 to 1900 b.c.e. Harappa (3½ miles in circumference, population about 35,000) Mohenjo-Daro (several times larger) Surrounded by brick walls, streets laid out in grid pattern-supplied with covered drainage systems to carry away waste. remains of citadel-center of authority, storehouses for grain, barracks for artisans controlled surrounding farmland Harappa located on frontier between agricultural land & pastoral economies-may have been a nexus of trade in copper, tin, & precious stones from NW High degree of standardization in city planning Some scholars argue was result of extensive trade within the region rather than the existence of authoritarian central government

37 Indus Valley Better access to metal than Egyptians & Mesopotamians-artisans created utilitarian & luxury items Extensive irrigation systems, potter’s wheel, kiln-baked bricks & bronze metallurgy Extensive trade w/ NW- Iran, Afghanistan & even Mesopotamia We know little of the identity, origins, or fate of people of Indus Valley Writing system has not been deciphered

38 Indus Valley: Transformation
Former- Indus Valley cities abandoned around 1900 b.c.e. –due to invasion Now -decline due to breakdown caused by natural disasters & ecological change decline in agricultural production drying up of Hakra River-salinization, erosion When urban centers collapsed, so did way of life of elites-peasants probably adapted & survived

39 Conclusions Political & Economic Comparisons
Mesopotamia, Egypt, & Indus Valley all developed along river systems where they were assured an adequate water supply for agriculture They all developed political structures for organization of labor to provide irrigation systems Kingship developed as the political leadership system of both Egypt & Mesopotamia-Egypt’s kings were believed to be divine in origin, while Mesopotamia’s rulers were not Religious & Cultural Comparisons The predictable flooding of the Nile translated into a relatively optimistic outlook on the afterlife for Egyptians In contrast, the unpredictable and violent flooding of the Tigris-Euphrates Basin gave Mesopotamians a more fearful expectation of their afterlife All three civilizations developed architectural techniques for building large structures Egyptian women appear to have enjoyed more equality in society than did Mesopotamian women

40 Discussion Questions 1. How did differences in the environment and geographical location affect the development of these three early civilizations? 2. What evidence do you see here of interaction between these civilizations and other peoples (including interaction among the three civilizations themselves)? How important do you think that interaction with other peoples was for the development of these three civilizations? 3. What demands arose for these civilizations that led to their technological advancements? 4. What factors might explain the rise and decline of civilizations in general and of these particular civilizations? 5. How do the religious beliefs and world-views in Mesopotamia and Egypt reflect the relationships between the environment and the people of these civilizations? 6. What is the connection between knowledge and power? How did writing play into this relationship?

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