Bruce Morrison » The Peopling of the World, Prehistory–2500 B.C.

The Peopling of the World, Prehistory–2500 B.C.

The Peopling of the World, Prehistory–2500 B.C.

Humans migrate throughout much of the world and begin to develop tools, art, agriculture, and cities.


Section 1: Human Origins in Africa

Section 2: Humans Try to Control Nature

Section 3: Case Study: Civilization


Section 1: Human Origins in Africa

Fossil evidence shows that the earliest humans originate in Africa and spread across the globe.


Scientists Search for Human Origins


Defining Prehistory

  • Time before the invention of writing, about 5,000 years ago


Scientific Clues

  • Archaeologists study bones andartifacts—human-made objects
  • Anthropologists studyculture—a group’s way of life
  • Paleontologists studyfossils—plant or animal remains preserved in rock


Early Footprints Found

  • Mary Leakey team discovers prehistoric footprints in Tanzania in 1978
  • Laetoli footprints belong tohominids—creatures that walk upright


The Discovery of “Lucy”

  • Donald Johanson team finds female hominid in Ethiopia in 1974
  • Nicknames 3.5 million-year-old skeleton “Lucy”


Hominids Walk Upright

  • Walking upright helps hominids travel distances easily
  • They also develop the opposable thumb
  • Early hominids, like Lucy, are a species of australopithecines


The Old Stone Age Begins


Two Phases of the Stone Age

  • Paleolithic Age(Old Stone Age) lasted from about 2.5 million to 8000 B.C.
  • Neolithic Age(New Stone Age) lasted from 8000 to 3000 B.C.
  • Paleolithic Age had cold temperatures and large glaciers (Ice Age)
  • Use of tools, fire, and language develops during the Stone Age


Homo habilis May Have Used Tools

  • Louis and Mary Leakey discover 2.5 million-year-old hominid fossil
  • Found in Tanzania, is named Homo habilis, “man of skill”


Homo erectus Develops Technology

  • Appeared about 1.6 million years ago in East Africa
  • Homo erectus, upright man, used intelligence to develop technology
  • Technology—ways of applying knowledge, tools, and inventions
  • Developed tools to dig, scrape, cut; became skillful hunters
  • First hominid to use fire; might have developed language
  • First hominid to migrate from Africa; moved to Asia and Europe


The Dawn of Modern Humans


Appearance of Homo sapiens

  • Species name for modern humans; had larger brain than Homo erectus
  • Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons appear; not ancestors of Homo sapiens


Neanderthals’ Way of Life

  • Powerful muscles and thick bones
  • Lived 200,000 to 30,000 years ago in Europe and Southwest Asia
  • Developed religious beliefs and performed rituals
  • Lived in caves, shelters made of wood and skin


Cro-Magnons Emerge

  • About 40,000 years ago Cro-Magnons appear
  • Physically identical to modern humans
  • Hunted in groups; better hunters than Neanderthals
  • Advanced skill in spoken language
  • Migrated from North Africa to Europe and Asia
  • Population grew quickly, replaced Neanderthals


New Findings Add to Knowledge


Fossils, Tools, and Cave Paintings

  • New fossil discovery places hominids in Africa 6 or 7 million years ago
  • Stone tools suggest tool making began earlier than previously thought
  • Stone flute suggests Neanderthals might have made music
  • Cave drawings of people, animals give clues to ways of life


Section 2: Humans Try to Control Nature

The development of agriculture causes increases in population and the growth of a settled way of life.


Early Advances in Technology and Art


Tools Needed to Survive

  • Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) humans werenomads—moved in search of food
  • Hunted animals, collected plant foods—werehunter-gatherers
  • Cro-Magnons had more than 100 specialized tools; bone needles to sew


Artistic Expressions in the Paleolithic Age

  • Early modern humans created art:

-cave paintings, animal scuptures, rock engravings and paintings

-jewelry of sea shells, lion teeth, bear claws

-polished beads from mammoth tusks



The Beginnings of Agriculture


The Neolithic Revolution

  • Neolithic Revolution—agricultural revolution, began about 10,000 years ago
  • Nomadic women scattered seeds, then discovered crops growing
  • Shift from food-gathering to food-production great breakthrough


Causes of the Agricultural Revolution

  • Rising temperatures probably a key reason
  • Longer growing seasons, drier land for wild grasses
  • Constant supply of food led to population growth


Early Farming Methods

  • Slash-and-burn farming—clear land by cutting and burning trees
  • Farmers moved to new area after year or two


Domestication of Animals

  • Domestication—taming wild animals to ensure a constant source of food
  • Hunters and farmers tamed horses, dogs, goats, and pigs


Agriculture in Jarmo

  • Site in northeastern Iraq where people farmed 9,000 years ago
  • Wild grasses, goats, pigs, sheep, horse thrived near Zagros Mountains


Villages Grow and Prosper


Farming Develops in Many Places

  • Farming in Africa, China, Mexico and Central America, Peru
  • Different crops developed in different areas


Catal Huyuk

  • Farming thrived here 8,000 years ago; located in modern Turkey
  • Population of 5,000 to 6,000 grew crops, raised sheep and cattle
  • Made pottery, wove baskets, traded valuable obsidian
  • In 1958, remains of village found; wall paintings, religious shrines


Section 3: Civilization   Case Study: Ur in Sumer

Prosperous farming villages, food surpluses, and new technology lead to the rise of civilizations.


Villages Grow into Cities


Agriculture Causes Change

  • Farming success leads to larger communities


Economic Changes

  • Ancient people build irrigation systems to increase food production
  • Food surpluses free some people to develop new skills
  • Craftspeople make cloth, objects; traders profit from exchange of goods
  • Invention of wheel and sail enable traders to travel longer distances


Social Changes

  • Social classes develop; religion becomes more organized


How Civilization Develops



  • Located in Mesopotamia, now part of modern Iraq
  • One of the firstcivilizations—a complex culture:

-advanced cities

-specialized workers

-complex institutions

-record keeping

-advanced technology


Advanced Cities

  • Cities with larger populations rise, become centers of trade


Specialized Workers

  • Labor becomesspecialized—specific skills of workers developed
  • Artisansmake goods that show skill and artistic ability


Complex Institutions

  • Institutions(governments, religion, the economy) are established
  • Governments establish laws, maintain order
  • Temples are centers for religion, government, and trade


Record Keeping

  • Professional record keepers, scribes, record taxes and laws
  • Scribesinvent cuneiform, a system of writing about 3000 B.C.
  • People begin to write about city events


Improved Technology

  • New tools and techniques make work easier
  • TheBronze Agestarts in Sumer around 3000 B.C.
  • People replace copper and stone with bronze to make tools, weapons


Civilization Emerges in Ur


The City of Ur

  • Flourished about 3000 B.C. in what is now southern Iraq
  • Population about 30,000; live in well-defined social classes
  • Rulers, priests and priestesses, wealthy merchants, artisans, soldiers


An Agricultural Economy

  • Food surpluses keep the economy thriving


Life in the City

  • Families live in small houses tightly packed near one another
  • Artisans make trade goods and weapons for Ur’s army


Ur’s Thriving Trade

  • Goods and servicesbartered, or traded without using money
  • Scribes make records of transactions


The Temple: Center of City Life

  • Ziggurat, a temple, is tallest, most important building
  • Priests carry out religious rituals there