Culture Hearths
Culture Hearth:
- heartland
- source area for basic ideas,
materials and technology
- innovation center
- place of origin of a major culture
* “civilization incubator”
Locations of Ancient Culture Hearths
Human Cultural Hearths
– Most cultural hearths established from 5,000BC to
1,000 BC
– Primary cultural hearths
Fertile Crescent (Tigris, Euphrates and Nile Rivers)
Indus Valley (Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa)
North China (Yellow River and North China plain)
– Secondary cultural hearths
Bantu civilization in Africa
Mesoamerican civilization (Mayans and Aztecs)
-- Spread of culture:
the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th century moved
cultural hearths to Europe and North America, with modern
shifts in the 21st century continuing to occur.
Culture Hearths
---Put Dates on your sheet
Primary Culture Hearths of the World:
Fertile Crescent (8000 BCE)
Indus River Valley (7000 BCE)
North China (5000 BCE)
Secondary Culture Hearths of the World:
West Africa (2000 BCE)
Mesoamerica & S. America (8000-3000 BCE)
The fertile Crescent and
the Nile River valley.
Primary Culture Hearth
1. Fertile Crescent:
-otherwise known as Mesopotamia
-Important Contributions:
Developed complex legal system—divorce,
crime; Creation of writing; innovations in
mathematics and astronomy; architectural
developments (ziggurats—pyramid-shaped
Indus River Valley – on left side
Primary Culture Hearth
2. Indus River Valley:
- early agricultural sites
- Harappan city
- dependent upon rich floodplains of Indus
- Important Contributions:
- drainage system; develop cotton
textiles & dyes by 2000; important trade
contacts w/ Fertile Crescent
North China -- on right side
Primary Culture Hearth
3. North China: Huang Ho (Yellow River):
- rich soils but floods
-Important Contributions:
domestication of millet, rice and soybeans;
first Chinese Writing system; emergence
of centralizing hereditary monarchies:
- Shang dynasty: major influence of IndoEuropeans: bronze, chariots
- Zhou dynasty: classical Chinese civilization
Locate West Africa Culture Hearths
Secondary Culture Hearth
1. Bantu Civilization--West Africa:
- Important Contributions:
- early Sudanic agricultural influence
- Bantu: spread thru out Africa
- agricultural surpluses & iron, gold, salt
- diffusion:
- W. African yams & grains
- 90 million Bantu-speakers today
The Maya cultural hearth in southern Mexico and
Central America.
Secondary Culture Hearth
2. Mesoamerica & South America:
- migrations to W. hemisphere
- early agriculture in Mesoamerica
- Inca’s known for thousands of miles of roads
- Olmec rulers compel building of large ritual
centers, drainage projects, & artistic objects
- Aztec calendar, religious systems
Culture Hearths
Keys to why some hearths were successful:
- geographical integrity
- ecological sustainability
- agricultural surpluses
- internal order
Culture Hearths
Keys to why some hearths dissappeared:
- increased contacts with hostile neighbors
- ecological degradation & exhaustion
- over-attractive agricultural hearths
- internal disorder