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North america's history

North america's history



history of america in neolithic and palieolithic ages

history of america in neolithic and palieolithic ages



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    North america's history North america's history Presentation Transcript

    • NORTH AMERICA Submitted by goutham , laxman , siva ,sravya , vaishnavi
    • North America, the planet’s 3rd largest continent, includes 23 countries and dozens of possessions and territories Positioned in the planet's northern and western hemispheres, it's bordered in the north by the Arctic Ocean, in the east by the Atlantic Ocean, in the southeast by the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean
    • Paleolithic archaeology is concerned with the origins and development of early human culture between the first appearance of man as a tool-using mammal, which is believed to have occurred about 600,000 or 700,000 years ago, and near the beginning of the Holocene Epoch, about 8000 BC. It is included in the time span of the Pleistocene, or Glacial, Epoch—an interval of about 2,600,000 years. Although it cannot be proved, modern evidence suggests that the earliest protohuman forms had diverged from the ancestral primate stock by the beginning of the Pleistocene. In any case, the oldest recognizable tools are found in horizons of Lower Pleistocene Age. During the Pleistocene a series of momentous climatic events occurred. The northern latitudes and mountainous areas were subjected on four successive occasions to the advances and retreats of ice sheets (known as Günz, Mindel, Riss, and Würm in the Alps), river valleys and terraces were formed, the present coastlines were established, and great changes were induced in the fauna and flora of the globe. In large measure, the development of culture during Paleolithic times seems to have been profoundly
    • Settlement of palelolithic period:Throughout the Paleolithic, man was a food gatherer, depending for his subsistence on hunting wild animals and birds, fishing, and collecting wild fruits, nuts, and berries. The artifactual record of this exceedingly long interval is very incomplete; it can be studied from such imperishable objects of now-extinct cultures as were made of flint, stone, bone, and antler. These alone have withstood the ravages of time, and, together with the remains of contemporary animals hunted by our prehistoric forerunners, they are all that scholars have to guide them in attempting to reconstruct human activity throughout this vast interval—approximately 98 percent of the time span since the appearance of the first truehominin stock. In general, these materials develop gradually from single, all-purpose tools to an assemblage of varied and highly specialized types of artifacts, each designed to serve in connection with a specific function
    •  Introduction of paleolithic age (2,000,000 – 10,000 BCE)  The Paleolithic (US spelling; also spelled Palaeolithic) Age, Era or Period is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered (Grahame Clark's Modes I and II), and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory. It extends from the earliest known use of stone tools, probably by hominins such as australopithecines, 2.6 million years ago, to the end of the Pleistocene around 10,000 BP. The Paleolithic era is followed by the Mesolithic. The date of the Paleolithic—Mesolithic boundary may vary by locality as much as several thousand years.
    • Manufacture of stone during paleolithic peiod:  In the manufacture of stone implements, for fundamental traditions were developed by the Paleolithic ancestors: (1) pebble-tool traditions; (2) bifacial-tool, or hand-ax, traditions; (3) flake-tool traditions; and (4) blade-tool traditions. Only rarely are any of these found in “pure” form, and this fact has led to mistaken notions in many instances concerning the significance of various assemblages. Indeed, though a certain tradition might be superseded in a given region by a more advanced method of producing tools, the older technique persisted as long as it was needed for a given purpose. In general, however, there is an overall trend in the order as given above, starting with simple pebble tools that have a single edge sharpened for cutting or chopping. But no true pebble-tool horizons had yet, by the late 20th century, been recognized in north america. In southern and eastern Asia, on the other hand, pebble tools of primitive type continued in use throughout Paleolithic times.
    •  The usage of tools:Along the way mankind evolved and in so doing gradually created and improved numerous technological developments. Whether we can refer to early creations such as spears as technological is debatable but they were certainly clever inventions for the time. However, whether clever or merely necessity, it was inevitable that society and technology did eventually evolve alongside each other.  The Stone Age was later perceived as being enormously long, and so was further sub-divided into three periods.  Epochs:  In geological terms, there are two epochs: 1.The Pliocene 2.the Pleistocene.  The Pliocene geological epoch was prone to shifting continents. North and South America for example became linked through the Isthmus of Panama. This new formation created a mammoth global temperature change because the warmer currents of the aquatic ocean were effectively cut-off. (Pictured, a Pliocene fossil).  Thus, the temperature of the isolated Atlantic Ocean was made cooler by the cold Arctic and Antarctic. Consequently, the linkage of the north and south drastically altered the natural fauna of both; some fauna merged or were colonised into different areas.
    •  Homo erectus: for useful developments came about during this time. These developments were very important to the Homo habilis they helped with everyday doings including hunting and cooking. Tools, the ideas of tools, fire and shelter are the four developments that were introduced to the Homo habilis. A fifth development was language, it acted both as a cultural artifact and mental change
    •  Homo nenderthalensis: Neanderthal humans were a prehistoric, stone-tool using species of human, the last of which are thought to have lived 28,000 years ago. First published in 1863 from a cave in Germany's Neander Valley, Neanderthal remains and associated tools have since been found across Eurasia from Gibraltar to Uzbekistan. The average adult Neanderthal was much more powerfully built than a modern adult human, with distinct facial features including low, thick brow ridges. Neanderthals inhabited Europe during Ice Age periods, surviving extremely harsh climatic conditions which may have prompted the evolution of their stout, muscular frames. Neanderthals buried their dead, and even included flowers with some burials. When Homo sapiens arrived in Europe 40,000 - 50,000 years ago, Neanderthals were present. There has been much speculation about contact and even interbreeding between the two types of human, but genetic surveys have never found modern humans with DNA that could be matched to DNA recovered from Neanderthal remains. It is possible that modern humans, using more refined tools and techniques for hunting, out-competed Neanderthals for food resources and brought about their extinction.
    •  Homo sepians:  Anthropologists believe that modern man, or Homo sapiens, emerged as a distinct species by about 100,000 years ago. Extensive studies of ancient human remains and shelters seem to show that groups of Homo sapiens left Africa and entered Asia via the Middle East around 65,000 years ago.  The first modern humans to evolve in Africa lived mainly on meat. By 70,000 years ago, they had switched to a marine diet consisting largely of shellfish. This new research suggests they moved along the coasts of the Arabian peninsula into India, Indonesia and Australia about 65,000 years ago. An offshoot later settled the Middle East and Asia about 30,000 to 40,000 years ago. (Ref: BBC News 13 May 2005 "Early humans followed Coast" )  By 35,000 to 40,000 years ago, modern humans were living across the Old World from Europe to Australia. About 12,000 to 15,000 years ago, humans crossed into North America from Asia via Beringia, a now submerged land bridge that existed during the Pleistocene Ice Age when sea levels were lower. They rapidly spread across North and South America after the climate became warmer and the ice sheets retreated.
    •  Physical changes:As hominids developed into humans (Homo sapiens), they underwent various physical changes. Most obviously, our ancestors learned to walk upright on two legs, rather than alternating between two legs and four legs. This straightened the spine, and moved the foramen magnum from the back of the skull to the underside. Hominin faces flattened, and the space between the eyes narrowed, so that they could look forward and see from side to side.  Our ancestors also developed a taste for a broad variety of foods. Early hominids, like Australopithicus robustus, were clearly vegetarian plant-eaters, based on their teeth and jaw structure. But later hominids, including Australopithicus afarensis and Homo erectus, clearly used their incisors to tear meat and their molars to chew it.
    •  Mental changes: Mental changes in early hominins were substantial. From Australopithicus afarensis, who had barely 300 cubic centimeters of brain size, hominin heads eventually expanded to Homo neanderthalensis's impressive 1950 cubic centimeters. At least some of this expanded brain power was shifted from processing scents to processing sights and sound. Another substantial portion went to controlling the auditory and language functions. Smell diminished in importance as more brain power was reserved for looking, listening and talking. The modern Homo sapiens brain is actually smaller than neandethalensis, but paleoanthropologists theorize that once the brain reached an optimum size for certain kinds of work, it began specializing, miniaturizing, and integrating. The result is that the modern human brain may be smaller, but its critical functions are much more closely packed into a narrower space, for more efficient functioning. In this way, the process of evolution continued in early humans.
    • Fire:  Sometime between 300,000 and 1.5 million years ago, humans also tamed fire. Taming fire may not be the same as controlling it. Some scientists believe that the hominid Homo erectusstumbled upon a lightning-struck tree or a forest fire, and captured a few coals in a basket, a bag or an animal horn. It may not have been able to put out the fire and re-start it, but it at least had some coals from which it could keep a hearth fire alive.  Homo erectus used fire in a number of interesting ways. First, their overnight stops now included a warm and welcoming light at the center and a fire that kept animals at bay. Second, that warm and welcoming light also provided enough heat to cook food. New plants and animal foods became open to humans for the first time as a result of this tamed fire. Third, the heat and light on a torch could be used to start large fires, and drive animal prey towards a trap or ambush site. Homo habilis could now catch a lot more food on the hoof. Fourth, the same fire could be used to drive away predators. It made camps safer, and it gave hominids a new tool for defeating rivals who ate the same animals. Finally, fire probably stimulated the creation of language. As early peoples sat around the fire, they would have enacted stories from their family history, and discussed new tool types. At first, these conversations may have been mere gestures accompanied by grunts, perhaps boastful males re- enacting their daring deeds of the day. However, over dozens or hundreds of generations, hominids would have developed strong speech centers in the brain, which would make word banks and grammars possible. The existence of many language families in the world today is one strong argument for the independent development of language. Language seems inherently human, a process linked to thinking and the development of reason.
    •  Shelter:  Most early hominids probably lived in the open air, near to sources of food and water. They chose locations that could be defended against predators and rivals and that were shielded from the worst weather. Many such locations could be found near rivers, lakes and streams, perhaps with low hilltops nearby that could serve as refuges in troubled times. Since water can erode and change landscapes quite drastically, both in the course of ordinary motion and catastrophe, many of these campsites are utterly destroyed, and not even skilled archaeologists can find them, much less reconstruct them. Our understanding of Paleolithic dwellings is thus necessarily limited.  Even so, a few examples of Paleolithic houses exist, although they only come to light very recently in the Paleolithic era, no more than 200,000 years ago. These "houses" are more frequently campsites within caves or in the open air, with little in the way of formal structures for living in. However, as the Paleolithic era progressed, dwellings became more sophisticated, more elaborate, and more house-like. The oldest examples are shelters within caves, followed by houses of wood, straw and rock; a few examples exist of houses built out of bones.
    •  caves:  Caves are the most famous example of Paleolithic shelter, though the number of caves used by Paleolithic peoples is drastically small compared with the number of hominids thought to have lived on earth 500,000 years ago. Most hominids probably never entered a cave in their lives, much less lived in one. Nonetheless, the remains of hominid settlement show interesting patterns. In one cave, a tribe of Homo neanderthalensis kept a hearth fire burning for a thousand years, leaving behind an accumulation of coals and ash. In another cave, post holes in the dirt floor reveal that the residents built some sort of shelter or enclosure with a roof to protect themselves from water dripping on them from the cave ceiling. They often used the rear portions of the cave as middens, depositing their garbage in the back of the cave.  In the later, more recent Paleolithic period, about 125,000 years ago, caves ceased to act as houses. Instead, they became religious or magical places for early peoples to gather for ritualpurposes. Caves, such as Lascaux in France and Altamira in Spain, became art galleries filled with elaborate images of horse, bison, buffalo, mammoths and other animals. Lit by flickering firelight, these images appeared to move and come alive. Archaeologists do not know whether ancient peoples worshiped these images or used them for the purpose of working magical spells on the animals they hunted. Modern visitors to such caves are awed by the beauty of these ancient artworks, even so.  Some scholars today believe that these caves were the work of Homo sapiens sapiens -- our own direct ancestor. As of this writing, no artwork has yet been found at any Homo erectus or Homo neanderthalensis archaeological site, anywhere in the world. The creation of art, and the symbolic thinking that goes with creating sculptures or paintings, may truly be the mental process that separates human beings from other types of animals. Other scholars contest this claim.
    •  tents and huts:Other than caves, modern archaeologists know few other types of shelter available to ancient peoples. Some examples exist, but they are quite rare. In Siberia, a group of Russian scientists uncovered a house or tent with a frame constructed of mammoth bones. The great tusks supported the roof, while the skulls and thigh bones formed the walls of the tent. Several families could live inside, where three small hearths, little more than rings of stones, kept people warm during the winter. Archaeologists presume that the roof was made of mammoth hides in several layers. Similar houses existed in France and Germany; all date to about 90,000 years ago.  Much more recently than that, around 50,000 years ago, a group of Paleolithic Homo sapiens camped on a lake shore in southern France. At Terra Amata, these hunter- gatherers built a long and narrow house. The foundation was a ring of stones, with a flat threshold stone for a door at either end. Vertical posts down the middle of the house supported roofs and walls of sticks and twigs, probably covered over with a layer of straw. A hearth outside served as the kitchen, while a smaller hearth inside kept people warm.  Both dwellings could be easily abandoned by their residents. This is why they are not considered true houses, which was a development of the Neolithic period rather than the Paleolithic period. However, they give us brief looks at the lives of our most distant ancestors.
    •  Language and culture:  In modern eyes, perhaps the most significant technology of the Paleolithic Age was the development of language. Language is not strictly speaking a technology—you cannot hold it or touch it. Instead, it relies upon changes in the human brain—the development of speech centers to govern the tongue and lips to produce precise sounds, the development of memory to hold lists of words, the development of rules to govern how those words are used in different circumstances, and the development of hearing centers in the brain to process foreign sounds as words within a set of rules. These functions did not come overnight. Fire may have stimulated some of them: ancient peoples sat or danced around fires, and they must have had stories to tell each other of their discoveries. Hunting stimulated others: needing to catch food that ran away required co-ordination among different hunters. People also created language while searching for edible plants, and plants with medical properties to cure or lessen the hurts of themselves and their families.
    •  Rock paintings:Rock paintings were "painted" on rock and were more naturalistic depictions than petroglyphs. In paleolithic times, the representation of humans in cave paintings was rare. Mostly, animals were painted: not only animals that were used as food but also animals that represented strength like the rhinoceros or large cats (as in the Chauvet Cave). Signs like dots were sometimes drawn. Rare human representations include hand prints and half-human/half-animal figures. The Cave of Chauvet in the Ardèche département, France, contains the most important preserved cave paintings of the paleolithic era, painted around 31,000 B.C.E. The Altamira cave paintings in Spain were done 14,000 to 12,000 B.C.E. and show, among others, bison. The hall of bulls in Lascaux, Dordogne, France, is one of the best known cave paintings from about 15,000 to 10,000 B.C.E.  The meaning of the paintings remains unknown. The caves were not in an inhabited area, so they may have been used for seasonal rituals. The animals are accompanied by signs which suggest a possible magic use. Arrow-like symbols in Lascaux are sometimes interpreted as calendar or almanac use. But the evidence remains inconclusive.[3] The most important work of the Mesolithic era were the marching Warriors, a rock painting at Cingle de la Mola, Castellón in Spain dated to about 7,000– 4,000 B.C.E. The technique used was probably spitting or blowing the pigments onto the rock. The paintings are quite naturalistic, though stylized. The figures are not three- dimensional, even though they overlap
    •  Sometime between 500,000 and 1 million years ago, one of the hominids (probably Homo erectus) discovered that some stones gave off sparks when they were struck together. They also discovered that friction can produce heat, and heat can produce sparks which then generate flame. Four techniques developed for mastering friction and sparks. The first of these simply involved jamming one stick into a groove in another stick, and rubbing back and forth until the friction produced a spark or a flame. The second method, the drill method, involves twirling one stick against another until the heat produced generates a spark or a flame. Bow-drilling, the third method, involves using a bow with a cord strung around the vertical stick, to speed the friction and increase the likelihood of flame. The fourth method requires a naturally occurring ferrous metal and a piece of flint; when the two are struck together, the resulting sparks can start a fire.
    • Neolithic (new stone age)  The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in the Middle East that is traditionally considered the last part of the Stone Age  The Neolithic is not a specific chronological period, but rather a suite of behaviaural and cultural characteristics, including the use of wild and domestic crops and the use of domesticated animals.  During most of the Neolithic age, people lived in small tribes composed of multiple bands or lineages. There is little scientific evidence of developed social stratification in most Neolithic societies  In the America, Neolithic life was first achieved in Mesoamerica and Peru, but not until 2000 BC. Thus, the rise of Neolithic life throughout the New World was (as in Sub-Saharan Africa) compressed into the final two millennia BC  The Natufian culture is thought to have existed between 13,000 and 9,000 BCE in the Levant Region. It is also thought that the Natufian communities were descendants of the builders of the region’s first Neolithic settlement.
    •  Innovation  Farming gradually spread from the Near East into and across Europe, arriving in Britain about 4,500 BCE. Indeed, both farming and animal domestication were introduced into the West by eastern immigrants and the skills they brought with them were adopted and gradually adapted to the needs of various European cultures.  Cereals and grains changed the human diet radically and with the people becoming more settled they began to live in villages where they cultivated grains and developed household crafts such as carpentry and pottery.  They needed something to contain food and water, so pots were duly made. The basic early-mid Neolithic pots were round bottomed and made with plain clay. However, from around 3,800 BCE different regions began to create their own special decorated pots, whereby, from 2,800 BCE the pots were grooved (pictured)
    •  For ninety-nine percent of the period that humans have been living on this planet, they have been foragers. In technical language, "foraging" is the cover term for "hunting" (land animals), fishing (in rivers and lakes or in the ocean), and "gathering" (plant materials, honey, some insects, and shellfish). [Note 1] Foraging communities were limited to the number of people who could be supported by the animal and plant foods naturally occurring around their home. Except in unusual cases (such as the northern European reindeer hunters or the fishing tribes of the northwest coast of North America), the population that could be supported was very small, no more than one or a few families, and constant movement was necessary as the resources of the immediate area varied seasonally or became exhausted.
    •  Few inventions could have made more difference to the human career than one that would allow human communities both to increase in size and to remain in one place indefinitely. Larger population size meant new and more specialized social statuses and vastly more complex kinds of relations between people. Not having to move meant the possibility of permanent buildings (including and especially food storage facilities) and the construction of things too heavy to move, such as pottery, furniture, stone sculpture, or such industrial equipment as looms, water works, or millstones.
    •  We shall examine some of the effects in more detail below. Both larger population size per community and the ability of communities to remain in one place resulted from the practice of agriculture, and, to a lesser extent, herding. Because of the dramatic effects that agriculture had on the possible human ways of life, the first appearance of agriculture in the archaeological record is often called the "agricultural revolution," and the term "Neolithic" is often applied to this period or stage in human history
    • Pre historic Arrival Prehistoric People in North America  the origin of ancient people in the Americas is still largely a mystery as well as how long people have lived in this part of the world.  The Beringian Land Bridge Theory :the belief was that there was once a land bridge between Alaska and Siberia called Beringia. There was also a corridor that formed between two giant glaciers of thick sheets of ice in North America. These glaciers covered most of Canada and some of the northern United States.
    • Since 18,000 years ago, the sea level has risen 300 ft. due to melting glaciers. Old sites confirming this theory may very well lie under the ocean, waiting to be explored