Early World History = Prehistory: Paleolithic to Neolithic


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Powerpoint on concepts of Cultural Diffusion; Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic societies and their characteristics; distinctions between culture and civilization.

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Early World History = Prehistory: Paleolithic to Neolithic

  1. 1. WEEK ONE – PREHISTORY & CULTURAL DIFFUSION 1. Defining History and why we study it 2. Defining Culture vs. Civilization 3. Defining Cultural Diffusion – why it matters 4. Agricultural hearths of the world and diffusion 5. Characteristics of Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic ~ diffusion 6. Defining the 5 basic institutions of human societies 7. Gender roles and their evolutions 8. Pivot Point in History = Agricultural Revolution 9. Features of Natufian Culture Historical Theme – Geographic Determinism
  2. 2. CULTURE - The body of customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits constituting a distinct complex of tradition of a group of people ~ patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activities significance and importance ~ the sum of all learned experiences. CIVILIZATION - When citizens willingly and mutually bind themselves in political, economic, and social organizations in which individuals merge themselves, their energies and their interests in a larger community ~ it embraces not only a people’s social and political organization but also its particular shared way of thinking and believing, its art and other facets of its culture ~ community of people with shared cultural values. SOCIETIES - People in general thought of as living together in organized communities with shared laws, traditions, and values. Not all societies advanced to a status of civilization
  3. 3. Elements of Culture: •Language •Clothing •Food •Mannerisms •Customs •Education •Technology •Religion •Architecture •Environment •Economics •Government Influences on learning culture: •MOM •Family •Teachers •Peers How Culture Spreads – the Four “C”s •Commerce •Conquest •Colonization •Conversion How Culture Changes •Invention = new ideas ~ increases control over environment •Innovation = improvement of an idea ~ new use for something old •Diffusion = spread of idea ~ most important way cultures change
  4. 4. Diffusion ~ “Process by which a feature or trend spreads across the landscape” Methods of Diffusion •Relocation diffusion people physically carry their culture with them ·Migration ·Deportation •Acculturation diffusion adoption of another’s cultural traits •Expansion diffusion culture spreads out from a center point ~ takes greater amount of time to disperse information ·Contagious diffusion everybody wants it ~doesn’t miss anyone ~ all are informed, like a rumor ~ like diseases that are epidemic (regionally localized) or endemic (worldwide) ·Hierarchal diffusion not everyone wants it or knows it ~ moves out from a center but bypasses some people ~ leapfrogging effect ~ passes from like to like ·Stimulus diffusion underlying concept spreads but the specifics with the execution do not ~ idea of a written language may spread but not the language itself
  5. 5. Agricultural Hearths Region Crops, Comments Mediterranean, Middle East, Central Asia wheat, millet, seed fruits, lentil, peas, flax, date palm, figs, vine fruits, onions, cattle, camel, sheep, goats, horse, dog, pig North China millet, soybeans, sorghum, peach, apricot South Asia, India lettuce, cucumbers, millets, zebu cattle, mango Southeast Asia may be earliest of all areas, wide variety of fruits and spices; tea, taro, yams, breadfruit, citrus fruits, sugar cane, rice, coconut, jute, banana, ginger/spices, dog, pig, chicken, duck, goose, water buffalo Ethiopia, South Arabia millet, sorghum, cotton, coffee, soft wheat, dromedary, camel West Africa yams, oil palm, rice, arrow root, bushpig, okra Mesoamerica (Central Mexico and northern Central America) ancient civilizations - Maya, Aztec, Toltecs, Zapotecs, etc. corn, beans, squash, chile pepper, tomato, avocado, turkey, chocolate, peanut, tobacco, papaya Peru - Andean Andean civilizations - Incas and earlier groups potato, manioc, pineapple, llama, alpaca
  6. 6. Ancient River Valley Civilizations Did they advance to a state of civilization independent of each other or did the elements of civilization diffuse from one hearth to another?
  7. 7. Culture Phases Phase Comments Neolithic -8,000-3,500BCE New Stone Age, ground stone tools, appears in different parts of the world at different times, first agriculture - food production Uplands of Middle East, 8,000 B.C. Permanent settlements. Mesolithic 10,000-8,000BCE Transition phase, 10,000 B.C., glaciers retreat, hunting of herd animals replaced by exploitation of forest resources - bow & arrow, fishing, collecting Paleolithic 35,000-10,000BCE Old Stone Age - chipped stone tools, raw material is rock. Australopithecus to early Homo sapiens used stone tools. Techniques changed. Earliest tools - crude pebbles. Latest tools- finely worked blades. Hunting and collecting. Migratory settlements.
  8. 8. Paleolithic approx. 35,000 - 10,000 BCE. Social Conditions - Nomadic life of "hunting-gathering" cultures. Religious - Animistic, (veneration of natural life-forces). Imagery - Pregnant animals , female images Media - Paintings on cave walls, (earthen pigment mixed with animal fat and blood). Amulets carved from bone or stone, showing pregnant, human female images or images of animals. These are much smaller in size than the images of the painted animals. Major Site: - Lascaux, a major site of cave painting, discovered in France in 1940. Lascaux is one of the most important, extant (so far known) sites of cave paintings.
  9. 9. The Lascaux Caves, a cave complex in southwestern France, contain some of the most remarkable paleolithic cave paintings in the world. Known as "the prehistoric Sistine Chapel," the Lascaux paintings are at least 15,000 years old.
  10. 10. This fresco covers about 20 meters & is composed of three groups of animals: horses, bulls and stags. First 20 meters slopes steeply down to the first hall known as the Great Hall of the Bulls = begins with a unicorn-like figure who seems to be chasing a herd of horses. Also visible a large, partially drawn bull towards the back of the hall. On the opposite side = three large wild oxen (now extinct link with a group of small stags painted in ochre. The color black dominates the works: only the group of stags, three bovines and four horses, of which three are incomplete, are colored red.
  11. 11. The Painted Gallery, which is about 30 meters long, is a continuation of the same hall. Considered to the pinnacle of paleolithic cave art, the Painted Gallery covers the entire upper reaches of the walls as well as the surface of the ceiling. The iconography is based on classical prehistoric animal themes: wild oxen, horses, ibexes, the stag and, at the back, the bison. Notable among these are the "Chinese Horses," a triad surrounded by large red cows. At the back a horse seems to be dashing towards the inmost depths of the gallery.
  12. 12. Venus of Willendorf c. 24,000-22,000 BCE Eolithic limestone (Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna) Discovered in 1908 during archaeological excavations at a paleolithic site near Willendorf, a village in Lower Austria near the city of Krems. It is carved from an oolitic limestone that is not local to the area, and tinted with red ochre. HOW BIG DO YOU THINK IT IS?
  13. 13. 4 3/8 inches (11.1 cm) high What do you think its primary purpose might have been?
  14. 14. Venus of Dolní Věstonice Venus of Lespugue Venus of Willendorf c. 24,000 BCE found in Southern France c. 25,000 BCE found in Austria c. 26,000 BCE found in the Czech Republic Over 100 Paleolithic statuettes of women portrayed with similar physical attributes have been mostly found in Europe, but with finds as far east as Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia, throughout much of Eurasia, to the Pyrenees in Spain. Carbon dating gives a range of creation from as early as 35,000 BCE to as late as 11,000 BCE. They were carved from soft stone (such as steatite, calcite or limestone), bone or ivory, or formed of clay and fired. They are some of the earliest works of prehistoric art.
  15. 15. Mesolithic approx. 10,000 - 8,000 BCE. Social Conditions – Transition, “bridge” from hunting-gathering to cultivating – becoming settled Religious - ancestor worship, veneration of the dead Imagery Painting moved out of the caves into the open on rock wall surfaces. Subject changed from animals to groups of people. The humans shown in rock painting are highly stylized, rather like glorified stick-figures. These humans look more like pictographs than pictures, and some historians feel they represent the primitive beginnings of writing (i.e.: hieroglyphs). Very often the groupings of figures are painted in repetitive patterns, which results in a nice sense of rhythm (even if we're not sure what they're meant to be doing, exactly). Natufian Culture: precursors to the Neolithic advancements.
  16. 16. four hunters and their chief, painting, Remisia, Castellón, Spain, Mesolithic/Neolithic, c. 6,000 B.C.:
  17. 17. Natufian Mesolithic Culture • many densely populated settlements • flourished Jordan river valley between 10,500-8000 B.C.E. • based on cultivation of wild barley and wheat. • developed advanced agricultural and building techniques • stratified, matrilineal, and matrilocal • 9000 B.C.E., climatic change caused site abandonment. Some returned to hunting and gathering; others domesticated wild grains. • precursors to Neolithic Revolution
  18. 18. What does this decorated skull tell us about Natufian burial practices?
  19. 19. Neolithic, approx. 8,000 - 3,500 BCE. Social conditions - Village life of farming communities, also known as "food producing" cultures, located near a river basin Religious - Ancestor veneration, (veneration of the spirits of ancestors, those who led the community before their death). Imagery - The human head, often abstracted and shown gazing into space Neolithic Changes •People settled in permanent locations with specialized occupations. •Concept of ownership ~ privately owned property and goods. •Systemized regulations to enforce rights of ownership. •Specialization of labor.
  20. 20. Characteristics of Civilization •social stratification and ranking, •increasing sedentism, •trade or exchange networks, leading to the presence of •luxury and exotic goods, •metallurgy, •craft specialization, •control of food as in agriculture or pastoralism, •high population density, •monumental architecture, •writing system, •calendar, •centralized rule, and •armed military force. 5 Basic Institutions of All Societies • Government • Religion • Economy • Education • Familial
  21. 21. Artistic and careful sculpting of human skulls from Paleolithic - Neolithic Jericho suggests ancestor veneration and some kind of hope of an afterlife
  22. 22. Jericho. •Jericho, near the Jordan River and an oasis, •was an urban center by 7000 B.C.E. •Its economy based primarily on wheat and barley farming, •but both hunting and trade also were important. •Expanding wealth resulted in walled fortifications and an encircling ditch. •Housing (improved bricks, plaster hearths and stone mills) became more sophisticated. •Religious shrines present in a later period. •The city was governed by a powerful elite probably associated with keepers of the shrines. Neolithic tower at Jericho: 10,000 years old. Perhaps a precursor to the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. Believed a wooden shrine may have sat on the top.
  23. 23. The tri-section temple plan will dominate throughout the ancient Near East for millennia
  24. 24. Çatal Huyuk. •Catal Huyuk, founded around 7000 B.C.E. in southern Turkey, •was larger in size and population than Jericho. •It was the most advanced human center of the Neolithic period. •A rich economic base was built on extensive agricultural and commercial development. •Standardized construction patterns suggest the presence of a powerful ruling elite associated with a priesthood. •Well-developed religious shrines indicate a growing role for religion in people's lives
  25. 25. Catal Huyuk, founded roughly 8,500 years ago. Catal Huyuk’s 35 acres of apartment complexes Çatalhöyük was discovered in the late 1950s and excavated by James Mellaart between 1961 and 1965. It became famous internationally due to the large size and dense occupation of the settlement, as well as the spectacular wall paintings and other art inside the houses.
  26. 26. Interior decoration in Catal Huyuk 8,000 years ago—5,000 years before the rise of Greece’s city-states. The walls were painted with vivid images of goddesses, hunters, and, in the bottom right hand corner, of the city’s ground plan and the nearby volcano that gave Catal Huyuk its rich store of exportable treasure: obsidian. Note the beast-master motif top center, which will show up in Sumerian art forms 2000-3000 years later.
  27. 27. Gilgamesh Motif cylinder seal impression, Akkadian period, c. 2,400 B.C. (Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore): Catal Huyuk, 6000 bce. From Azarbaijan, 1st mill. BC Third Dyn. UR, 2000 BC Herakles and the Kerkopes, Sicily, 550-540 B.C. Hierakonpolis, Egypt, 3300 bce Minoan Indus Valley Civilization The Beast-master Motif throughout history
  28. 28. IN SUMMARY: Neolithic Agrarian Attributes •They were primarily rural societies. •They were based primarily on peasant agriculture or livestock breeding. •Most people maintained life in balance with their natural environment. •Their religion was based heavily on gods and spirits that controlled their natural environment. •Their religion emphasized ritual and sacrifice as ways to control the deities. •They relied on religious specialists to communicate with the gods. •They believed time to be cyclic. •Their social values emphasized kinship and the clan. •Significant advancements in new technologies and expansion of populations