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Prehistoric Humankind Earth’s Geologic Time Major Periods of Human Culture bp=before present ¤PALEOLITHIC: Old Stone Age ¤Lower paleolithic 2.5 million-75,000.

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Presentation on theme: "Prehistoric Humankind Earth’s Geologic Time Major Periods of Human Culture bp=before present ¤PALEOLITHIC: Old Stone Age ¤Lower paleolithic 2.5 million-75,000."— Presentation transcript:


2 Prehistoric Humankind

3 Earth’s Geologic Time

4 Major Periods of Human Culture bp=before present ¤PALEOLITHIC: Old Stone Age ¤Lower paleolithic 2.5 million-75,000 bp ¤Middle paleolithic 75,000-35,000 bp ¤Upper paleolithic 35,000-12,000 bp ¤MESOLITHIC: Middle Stone Age ¤12,000-10,000 bp ¤NEOLITHIC: New Stone Age ¤Began 10,000 bp ¤BRONZE AND IRON AGES: Civilization ¤Began 5000 bp

5 The Paleolithic Period

6 Paleolithic Period Began 2 1/2 Million Years Ago  Also called Old Stone Age culture  Characterized by the use of rudimentary chipped stone tools  Hominids, Homo habilis, Homo erectus,  Homo sapiens -- Neanderthal and Cro-magnon  Hunter-gatherers

7 Lower Paleolithic 2.5 Million-70,000 Bp  Hominids and earliest human ancestors  Gatherer/scavengers  Simple pebble tools, pebble chopper tools, and hand axes associated with Homo habilis and Homo erectus  Remains found in Europe, Africa and Asia


9 Hominids: Australopithicenes Immediate ancestors of humans: intermediate between apes and humans Classified hominidiae because of biological similarity to humans  Large brains  Bi-pedal: walked upright Began evolving 5 million years ago and were widespread 3 million years ago

10 Homo Habilis 2.4-1.6 Million Years Ago Early transitional human fossils first discovered in Olduvai Gorge in 1960s Homo habilis -- “handy or skilled humans” -- strong evidence of stone tool usage Larger brains, smaller mouths and teeth than Australopithicenes

11 HOMO ERECTUS ca. 1.9 Million bp- ca. 100,000 bp  First fully human species  Moved out of Africa to populate tropical, subtropical and temperate zones throughout the old world  Skilled tool makers  Highly successful species

12 Subsistence and Living  Much fuller exploitation of animal food resources through hunting and carcass scavenging: sheep, pigs, buffalo, deer, turtles, birds, etc..  Movement out of Africa to populate colder temperate zones made possible through new inventions and increased meat consumption  Began to occupy caves and build shelter  Family units  Use of fire reconstruction of a possible dwelling at Terra Amata, France

13 The Coming of Fire What are the implications of fire use? Light Warmth Animal management Cooked food Communal gatherings Special status for fire-bearers

14 Early Archaic Homo Sapiens  Blurry dividing line between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens  Evolutionary changes extended over several hundred thousand years: ca. 600,000 bp-100,000 bp  Fossils of archaic Homo sapiens have been found throughout the old world.  Extent of the interaction between the diverse and widely distributed populations is not clear.  No agreement about which populations were the ancestors of modern humans.

15 Middle Paleolithic 75,000-35,000 bp  Major leap forward in tool making traditions: The Mousterian tool tradition  Tools employed by Neandertals, other late archaic Homo sapiens and by such early modern Homo sapiens as Cro-magnons  Part of successful adaptation to hunting and gathering, especially in sub-arctic and temperate environment during the last Ice Age which began about 75,000 years ago

16 NEANDERTALS ca. 130,000-29,000 bp  Best known of late archaic Homo sapiens  Bones first discovered in late 1820s  First humans to live successfully in sub-arctic regions during ice ages

17 NEANDERTAL Figures modeled from skulls and skeletons Israel France

18 Neandertal modern human Continuing controversy over relationship to Homo sapiens: Homo sapiens neandertalis or Homo neandertalis? Genetic evidence indicates that Neandertals were a separate variety of Homo sapiens, but successfully interbred with Homo sapiens sapiens

19 Neandertal Death Rituals Model of mourning Neandertal woman Gibraltar Burial in Fetal Position

20 Indications of Burial Rituals  Burials contain food and tool offerings  Some sites have hearths built around skeletons  In many sites skeletons are carefully arranged in sleep-like positions  A burial at Teshik-Tash is surrounded with animal horns  A body a Le Moustier, France, was covered in red ochre powder  Stone slabs are found over some burial sites

21 Shanidar Cave, Iraq  Corpse placed in fetal position on bed of herbs  Flowers of various species carefully arranged around body: yarrow, cornflowers, St. Barnaby's thistle, groundsel, grape hyacinths, woody horsetail, and a kind of mallow.  Many of these have medicinal qualities.

22 La Chapelle-aux-saints Cave  Individual was buried on his back, with his head to the west, the left arm extended and his legs flexed to the right.  Next to the head were burnt animal remains, which could represent some feast or ritual.

23 Cave Bear Cult  Ritual burial of the heads of cave bears in at least 2 caves in Western Europe:  Regourdou Cave in southern France  Drachenloch Cave in Switzerland  At 12 feet tall standing up, these animals were larger than any bear species today.  Cave bears hunted the same animals that the Neandertals did, and they probably would have considered people to be food as well.  Cave bears would have engendered considerable fear and respect as powerful, dangerous creatures.

24 Drachenloch Cave in Switzerland  Stone chest built by the Neandertals, who also inhabited the entrance of the cave.  Top of the structure covered by a massive stone slab.  Inside were the skulls of seven bears arranged with muzzles facing the cave entrance, and deeper in the cave six more bear skulls in niches along the wall

25 Neandertal Art  Few artifacts in archeological record  Bones and rocks with scratched patterns  Highly polished, colored mammoth’s molar  Pendant from Arcy-sur-Cure, France  Bone with clear markings  Amulet  May indicate interaction between Neandertals and Cro-magnons

26 Neandertal Music  In 1996, a flute made from a juvenile bear femur with two intact pierced holes was found at the former Neandertal hunting camp of Divje Babei, in Slovenia  The notes on the Neanderthal flute, are consistent with 4 notes of the minor diatonic scale.

27 Neandertal Music Daniel Maurer/Associated Press Nicholas J. Conard of the University of Tübingen, in Germany, showed a thin bird-bone flute carved some 35,000 years ago.

28 Upper Paleolithic 35,000-12,000 bp  Movement of Homo sapiens sapiens throughout the world  Extinction of at least 50 types of large animals  Height of Old Stone Age technical sophistication  Most advanced tool tradition was the Magdalenian tradition of Western Europe ca. 17,000-10,000 bp  First major art works:  Cave paintings  Small sculptured figurines

29 Modern Humans: HOMO SAPIENS SAPIENS  First fossil remains of Homo sapiens sapiens -- named Cro- magnon-- found in 1868 in a 28,000 year old rock shelter in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, France  Homo sapiens sapiens very likely evolved from archaic Homo sapiens in Africa and/or the Near East  Earliest remains dated to 120,000-100,000 years ago in Near East and south Africa  Began to appear in Europe and east Asia. 50,000-40,000 years ago

30 Europe 28,000-20,000 years ago

31 In the cliffs above town, caves provided shelters for the practice of magic. For thousands of years, humans inhabited these caves and left bones, tools, utensils Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, known as the "Capital of Prehistory" because remains of Cro-Magnon man were first discovered here.

32 Les Eyzies-de-Tayac Ivory figurines

33 Cro-magnon Hunters  Developed coordinated group hunting techniques  Increased importance of small game and plant food  New specialized hunting weapons:  Spears  Toggle-head harpoons  Bow and arrow  Fishing spears, hooks and nets

34 Cro-magnon Artists  PALEOGRAPHICS: any activity that results in the production of visual signs in any medium -- what is generally referred to as "art” as well as images typically designated as signs and symbols.  Beginnings of graphic activity. Prior to 33,000 b.p. "If the total span of human existence on earth equals one year, then art originated within the last two weeks."

35 Paleographics  There are two classes of graphic activity:  Mobilary statuary and graphics in stone, bone, ivory, horn, antler, clay  Painted or carved graphics in rock shelters and caves  The graphics consist largely of:  Megafauna (large animals: mainly horses, bison, aurochs (wild cattle), mammoths, various species of deer, and goats)  Birds and smaller mammals,  Signs (rectilinear shapes, wedges ("claviforms"), tectiforms (like a roof), dots, lines, strands ("spaghetti")  Hand prints  Human figures are rare

36 Cave Art

37 La Grotte Chauvet: 30,000 bp – World’s Oldest Painted Cave  The cave was not used for human habitation  A hearth was possibly used to provide light for Paleolithic artists  Scores of cave bears appear to have hibernated in the grotto, and the ground is littered with their bones  Discovered in 1994 near Vallon- Pont-d‘Arc in southern France

38 Herd of animals, Chauvet

39 Hyena, Chauvet

40 Bear, Chauvet

41 Horses and Rhino, Chauvet

42 Lions, Chauvet

43 Lascaux 1700 bp “the Sistine Chapel of Caves”  The western edges of the Massif Central and the northern slopes of the Pyrenees are noted for an exceptional concentration of Paleolithic caves.  130 sanctuaries  The most renowned is Lascaux  Discovered in 1940 by 4 teenagers, closed to public in 1963, Lascaux II opened in 1980  Contains over 1500 paintings

44 Bulls, Lascaux

45 Ceiling, Painted Gallery, Lascaux

46 Horse, Lascaux

47 Reindeer, wall painting, Font-de-Gaume caves, Dordogne

48 Altamira, Spain 19,000-11,000 bp  Paintings located in the deep recesses of caves in the mountains of northern Spain  Altamira is the only site of cave paintings where people lived in the first cavern with actual paintings  The paintings at Altamira primarily focus on bison, important because of the hunt.

49 Ceiling, Altamira: 15 bison

50 The frieze of swimming stags

51 Female Figurines

52 “VENUS” or FEMALE FIGURINES  The distinctive features consist of breasts, buttocks, bellies and vulvas, emphasized and greatly exaggerated  The extremities: head, arms, hands, legs and feet, are very much diminished or missing  Because these figures are often faceless, and sometimes headless, the images are probably signs of WOMAN rather than images of women.

53 Woman of Willendorf 24,000-22,000 Bce


55 Woman, Doll or Goddess?  Earth mother or mother goddess?  Fertility symbol or charm?  Some figurines daubed with red ochre in vulva area -- connection with menstrual cycle?  Tradition of making figurines lasted 17,000 years Venus of Kostienski Russia Venus of Respugue France

56 Left hand rests on pregnant belly Venus of Laussel 20,000-18,000 bce Right hand holds a horn marked with 13 lines: 13 lunar months in a year.

57 Bowmen and Deer Cliff Painting Los Caballos, Spain, 10,000-9000 bce MESOLITHIC PERIOD

58 MESOLITHIC PERIOD began 12,000 bp  Mesolithic tool kits were based on chipped stone  Hunter-gatherers began to store food in containers  Relied less on large mammals for food -- more on fish and small game  Domestication of animals began with domestication of dogs  Rock art paintings and carvings increasingly depict human communal activities as well as animals

59 Tassili N’Ajjer Algeria  8000 years ago, the Sahara Desert used to be a fertile land with rivers full of fish and rich grassy hills full of game.  Cultures followed one another leaving their own records  Era of Hunters : 6000 to 4000 B.C.  Era of Stockbreeders: 4000 to 1500 B.C.  Era of Horse : 1500 B.C. to 1st century A.D.  Era of Camel : from 1st century on  They left painted or engraved testimonies making one of the most complete catalogs ever found about prehistoric life.

60 Tassili People

61 Tassili Animals

62 Tassili Hunters

63 Tassili Dancers and Musicians

64 Gobustan Azerbijan  Gobustan (the territory of Gobu): a plain situated between the south-eastern slope -of the Greater Caucasian Range and the Caspian Sea.  Over 6000 rock carvings, settlements, and tombstones, the oldest from 12,000 bce are in the mountains of Gobustan.

65 Gobustan People females hunter

66 Gobustanis dancing the Yally

67 Gobustan boats attracted the attention of Thor Heyerdahl

68 Bhimabetaka India  Bhimabetaka, is located 45 km to the south-east of Bhopal near a hill village called 'Bhiyanpur'.  “Bhima's sitting place” is the literal meaning of Bhimabetaka  Atop the hill a large number of rock-shelters contain more than 130 paintings.

69 Bhimabetaka deer

70 Bhimabetaka bison and elephant

71 Bhimabetaka dog

72 Bhimabetaka hunters

73 Bhimabetaka warriors


75 Bhimabetaka dance

76 Göbekli Tepe, Turkey  Göbekli Tepe: “navel hill” or “potbelly hill”  Archeological site under excavation since 1996  May be the world’s oldest temple – c. 10 th millennium (11,000) bce -8 th millenium bce:  Built by hunter-gatherers  No evidence of habitation  Plethora of wild animal bones that had been cooked  Changes the theories about the onset of the Neolithic Revolution:

77 Excavation of Göbekli Tepe


79 Recreations of Göbekli Tepe

80 T-shaped pillars – carved animal figures

81 Carved pillars with animal images

82 Oldest known full-size human statue

83 As the nomadic hunter- gatherers domesticated more animals and began to cultivate crops -- wheat, rice and corn -- around the world, Mesolithic cultures entered into the Neolithic Revolution


85 NEOLITHIC CULTURE begins ca. 10,000 bp  Also referred to as the New Stone Age  Ground and polished stone tools  Settled villages with domesticated plants and animals  Development of pottery and weaving  Megalithic architecture  Evidence of mother-earth/goddess religion  The end of the Neolithic period is marked by the use of writing, metal tools, and the rise of urban civilization

86 Spread of Neolithic Culture bce: before Common Era  The earliest known development of Neolithic culture was in SW Asia between 8000 and 6000 bce.  In the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys, Neolithic culture developed into the urban civilizations of the Bronze Age by 3500 bce.  Between 6000 and 2000 bce Neolithic culture spread through Europe, the Nile valley (Egypt), the Indus valley (India), and the Huang He valley (N China).  In the Americas, the domestication of plants and animals occurred independently of Old World developments. By 1500 bce, Neolithic cultures were present in Mexico and South America

87 The Agricultural Revolution: Pastoralism Pastoralism, the herding of domesticated or partially domesticated animals emerged at the same time as agriculture did -- 10-12,000 years ago

88 Herders, Tasilli N’Ajjer The wandering, nomadic life of the pastoralists had more in common with hunter-gatherers than did the life of the farmers

89 Domesticated Animals Shorter muzzles and horns Less developed teeth and jaws Less intelligent and less aggressive Tendency to uniform color Specialization for human needs (ex. heavy wool)

90 Weaving  The discovery of weaving plant and animal fibers into cloth represented a revolutionary improvement in the quality of human life.  Weaving may have preceded agriculture, as it grew naturally out of basketry and the weaving of reed mats.  Life in sedentary agricultural villages permitted the refinement of ancient techniques and the adoption of more complex looms.

91 The Agricultural Revolution: From wild grass to grain  A small percentage of wild grass plants has seed that clings to the stalk even when ripe.  These crops could not reproduce themselves without human intervention.  Size and number of the kernels, also changed over time. Genetic Changes:

92 The invention of the scratch plow in Mesopotamia about 6,000 years ago was a great labor-saving device for humans and a revolutionary stage in human development- -the exploitation of non-human forms of energy, in this case animal.

93 Lifestyle Changes  Dependency on few plants  Greater vulnerability to weather  Complete dependency on harvest times  Need for hard physical labor  Larger families  Expanded “tool kit”  Wealth and property become meaningful

94 The Agricultural Revolution: Village Life  Sedentism: living in one place  Opportunities:  Accumulation of food and wealth  Development of new skills  Specialization  Challenges:  Close quarters: need for community organization  Epidemics  Protection

95 Shepherds and Farmers: Cooperation and Conflict  Pastoralism developed on marginal land in areas unsuitable for agriculture.  Frequently, the two ways of life were compatible with lively trade between farmers who had grain, metal and crafted objects to exchange with pastoral nomads, who had hides, wool, meat, and milk products.  However, nomads frequently found raiding of settled lands tempting and profitable, and farmers, with growing populations, tended to encroach on any land that could be converted to the growing of crops.  With these two specializations, organized warfare emerged.

96 Transformation of grain to food  Seeds milled between two stones and boiled in water makes porridge.  When finely ground grain is mixed with water into a paste and baked, the grain is transformed into bread.  Yeast cultures are natural, but were regarded as magical prior to the recent discovery of micro-organisms.  Grain spoiled for bread-making can be fermented. The sprouted grain is baked, ground into a paste (called malt), and then added to water. With the right yeast and little luck, the result is beer.

97 Fired Pottery  Invention of the kiln brought about the firing of clay pots  Fired pots were sturdier and allowed for increased storage of agricultural products

98 Bread oven Pottery kiln Metal smelter

99 Jericho: the oldest discovered village

100 Jericho’s Walls  Sometime after the founding of the town, a wall was built around it, enclosing ca. 10 acres.  The wall itself was 6.5 feet thick and is preserved to a height of almost 20 feet.  This is the earliest known fortification in the world.

101 Plaster statues from Jericho and Ain Ghazal

102 Çatalhöyük ca. 8,000-7,000 bce  Çatalhöyük means 'forked mound' and is the modern name for the site of an ancient city in the country of Turkey, ancient Anatolia.  First discovered and excavated by James Mellaart in 1950s and 1960s  Archaeologists believe the ancient city covered an area the size of 50 soccer fields.

103 Çatalhöyük Houses

104 Çatalhöyük Murals: Abstract

105 Çatalhöyük Murals: Figurative Dancers

106 Çatalhöyük Murals: Figurative A stylized portrayal of the terraced houses of the city itself, with a geologically perceptive rendition of an erupting, twin-peaked volcano. The painting clearly represents an actual eruption of Hasan Dag, a twin-peaked, then-active volcano, eight miles to the east of the city, which dominated the skyline on a clear day.


108  Human burials were placed underneath sleeping platforms inside houses.  Burial pits in platforms were used again and again.  Most adults were buried without any grave goods.  Babies and children were often buried with long strands of small polished beads made of stone, shell or coral.

109 Çatalhöyük Shrine


111 Enthroned Çatalhöyük Goddess

112 European Megalithic Culture ca. 5000- 1500 bce Megalithic Pages

113 European Megaliths  Some 7000 years ago in Brittany people started to move stones of up to 180 tons in weight and to place them in the landscape.  For what reason we don't know, despite many theories. Common archaeological opinion says:  dolmens - artificial caves built of stones and stone plates - were made for burial purposes.  menhirs - the standing stones - there isn't any reasonable explanation.

114 Megalithic Mysteries  The age of certain megaliths is dated to about 4600 years bce  A discrepancy is evident between the highly developed understanding of astronomy, geometry and trigonometry which these megalith builders possessed, and the relatively "primitive" nature of the archeological finds from cultures of the equivalent time  Certain stone circles are complex geometric constructions, taking into account a measurement we call today the ‘megalithic yard’: 0.829 meters  Studies have shown a mathematical correspondence to two other ancient measurements: the Egyptian Remen, used in the construction of the pyramids, and the royal Elle, a measurement often found in the construction of medieval cathedrals.

115 Alignment: row of three or more stones Menhir: single standing stone

116 Dolmen: Three or more upright stones with a capstone, an artificial cave Proleeck Dolmen, Ireland Trilithon: three-stones two tall uprights stones supporting a lintel (lintel = a piece of stone over a door or window, forming part of the frame)

117 Alée couverte: rectangular megalithic chamber, usually in Brittany Barrow: round artificial mound of earth or stones. Silbury Hill, England, is the largest neolithic barrow over 40 m high

118 Cairn: burial mound, constructed mostly of small stones Passage grave: passage leading into a round central chamber, usually covered by mound- more a shrine than a grave Menga near Antequera (Malaga, Spain)

119 Cromlech: stone circle, from Welsh "crom" ("in a curve") and "lech" ("stone") Henge: circular or oval enclosure made of the earth ditch and bank, usually with one or more entrances Giant’s Ring, County Down, Ireland

120 Malta Megaliths The Megalithic Temples of Malta

121 The MEGALITHIC TEMPLES OF MALTA, dating from 5500 years ago, are the oldest free- standing stone structures in the world Holy Shrine of the Mnajdra temple  Seven megalithic temples on the islands of Malta and Gozo: bear witness to the development of the temple tradition

122 Gozo: Ggantija

123 Mnjandra Temple

124 Malta: Hagar Qim Temple

125 Malta: “Fat Ladies” from Hagar Qim Temple

126 Malta: Temple Statues

127 Thanks to these two water- colors painted by Charles de Brochdorff in 1824, the Xaghra Stone Circle was relocated and excavated between 1987-1994. Malta: Xaghra Stone Circle

128 Maltese Goddesses

129 STONEHENGE 2750-1500 bp

130 Stonehenge was built in several phases on a sacred site on the Salisbury Plain in a series of concentric rings of standing stones around an altar stone at the center. A landscaped trench separated the site from the surrounding land. Beyond this a circle of small, movable "marker stones" were set in pits An outer, enclosing circle of sandstone monoliths 13.5 feet high, supported what was once a continuous lintel. Beyond these was first a circle of smaller uprights, sacred "blue" stones, transported from South Wales The first ring has a horseshoe plan of originally 5 trilithons

131 A long avenue marked by uprights sets up an axis, identified by the Heel Stone, a large stone with a pointed top.

132 Stonehenge as ancient astronomical instrument?

133 at sunset

134 during solar eclipse

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