Uploaded by Wesley Jackson


World History
Unit 1:
The Earliest Human Societies
Time and Geography
The Earliest Human Societies
• Hominid (human-like creature)
– 4.5 million years ago
The Earliest Human Societies
• Homo sapiens (thinking or skillful man)
– Originated in Africa
– Migrated 100,000 years ago to Middle East,
Europe, Asia, and Western Hemisphere
– 10,000-15,000 years ago, Homo sapiens
were on every continent except Antarctica
Male and female
Homo sapiens
sapiens in Thailand
Definition of Terms
History - record of human activity based on
Historiography - systematic study of history
Archaeology - study of past cultures and
Anthropology - study of humans as species
rather than studying specific activities
Definition of Terms
Archaeologists study human societies that
existed before recorded history
Paleoanthropologists study human
Paleoenvironmentalists study ancient
natural environments
Paleographers study old writing
The Evolving Past
• Paleoanthropology is advancing our
knowledge about the age, nature, and locales of
Skull of Australopithecus
The Evolving Past
Stone age tools
• Tool-making is a major indicator of human
– Tools date back at least 70,000 years ago
– Tools are also a form of art
The Evolving Past
social unit
• Paleolithic Age (Old Stone Age)
– Dates roughly from first tools to about 10,000 BCE
– The family was the basic social unit, organized into
groups of 40 people or fewer
Human Development
During the Paleolithic Age
• Neanderthal Man
– Flourished in many parts of Europe until 30,000 years ago
– Came to an end with last Ice Age
– Disappeared at same time that Homo sapiens appeared
How a Neanderthal
might have looked
Human Development
During the Paleolithic Age
• Humans - Changed Appearance
Became upright, walked more erect
Skull size and shape changed to encompass larger brain
Less hairy bodies, shorter arms
Eyesight improved, sense of smell deteriorated
Larynx shifted to allow for speech
Michelangelo's David is considered by
many the perfect human form
Human Development
During the Paleolithic Age
• Lived in semi-permanent shelters for longer periods of
• Mastered their environment
– Clothing
– Fire
– Tools
Humans mastered fire
The Neolithic Age
Agricultural Revolution - Effect on Society
• From gathering and hunting to livestock
breeding and herding, sowing, and harvesting
for food production
• Changes in lifestyle
Population expanded in permanent settlements
Property (land and livestock) privately owned
Laws, systematized regulation
Specialized labor
Greater roles for women – matriarchy and female
religious rituals
Agrarian and Irrigation Civilizations
Population growth: rural and urban (ruling elites)
Craft, trade, farming technologies developed
Characteristics of Agrarian Lifestyle
• Cities controlled rural life: laws, religion,
customs, traditions, taxes
• Religion: rituals, sacrifices to gods and spirits
• Time was cyclic – birth, death, renewal
• Social values – kinship and the clan, veneration
of elders/ancestors
A map showing the
earliest river
highlighted in color
River Valley Civilizations
• Tigres and Euphrates (Mesopotamia), Niger
(west Africa), Indus (India), Yellow and Yangtze
Rivers and Deserts
Benefit and Impact of Rivers
• provided crops and essential water
• transportation and communication
• trade and migration
• migration and conquest
The benefit and impact of
the rivers were great
Rivers and Deserts
Desert and Steppe Life
• Nomadic stockbreeders in search for
water and pasture
• Warfare: pastoralists and farmers
pursued water
Metal and Its Uses
• Soft copper – first metal
• Bronze Age
– Lead and tin formed bronze
• Harder, more resistant to weather
• Difficult to make, heavy, expensive
– First appeared in western Asia
– Lasted from 7000 to1500 BCE
– Ended with smelting of iron
Iron Age
Key metal in history
Cheaper, lasts longer
Iron - one of most common ores
Crucial breakthrough was to purify it
Equipment, tools, weapons, utensils
By 1200 BCE, knowledge of iron smelting
was known throughout Middle East and
Various stages of development in Neolithic
Age, especially around 3000 BCE
- urban life
- system of government and record keeping
- advanced weapons and metal tools
Discussion Questions
• Was it coincidence that Neanderthal Man
vanished at roughly the same time that Homo
sapiens appeared? Would the two groups have
had contact? If so, what do you think might
have happened?
• It has been suggested that agriculture has been
one of mankind’s most important inventions,
second only to our learning to use fire. Do you
agree or disagree? What other human
inventions are of this magnitude? What would
have happened to our species if we had not
invented agriculture? Was it inevitable?