Table of Contents

Ancient History Notes

Big Geography

  • Used to imply that World History occurs within a GLOBAL context, which involves simultaneous development and is not limited to specific regions in any linear fashion. THere is a lot overlap frequently.

Peopling of the Earth

  • The Paleolithic Era is marked by the migrations of early hominids as a result of the development of new technologies and adaptation to new environments. *This is the old stone age and it is when people went all over the plant. The end of the ice age helped with this. The early hominids were all around the equator and then they could expand when the climate began to get warmer. The development of fire also let them travel more. Technologies and the ability to adapt let them migrate. They did not suddenly decide to migrate, they did so because they had new technology and they could adapt to the warming climate.

Key Characteristics of the Paleolithic Era

  • Development of Early Hominids
    • Australopoithecine
    • Homo Habilis - speaking
    • Homo Erectus - standing
    • Homo Sapien - thinking
    • Homo Sapien Sapien
    • We look at the size of their skeletal remains in order to characterize them because that is what is left over. We basically look at their different skull sizes
    • Neaderthals and CroMagnon are different species
    • Equatorial Africa is where the earliest humans developed. It is important to note that is was in the equatorial region because it was warm there and they could survive.

Human Migrations

  • Origins in Northeast Africa
  • to Eurasia, Austrailia, Americas
  • As foraging societies
  • Motivated by the control of fire and climate change
  • They ate mostly fish because you can hunt them and they do not fight back which is a plus so that is usually what they ate

Control of Fire Causation

  • Aided in hunting-foraging
  • Protection against predators
  • Adaptation to older climates (maybe the most important one)
  • Cooking of food affected what parts may be eaten
  • Safer to eat cooked food
  • It is important because it was easier to eat
  • It is also important because you could eat more of the animal if you cooked it so they could get more milage out of their food. The same thing goes with *plants and cellulose.
  • It let you work later into the night because you can see and they could survive longer because they could drive away predators.
  • Lightning can catch things on fire and the lava could set things on fire as well
  • Friction was the earliest method used to make fire

Development of Technology

  • New tools for new environments and purposes
  • Stone, bone, an wood
  • Cutting, chopping, and digging (roots, tubers, etc are all underground)
  • Rafts, spears, and harpoons (helpful in populating the earth). A spear is pointy and goes in an injures. A harpoon is pointy and has barbs on the end so it does not come out quite so easily.
  • They also figured out how to weave nets and rafts and such. Some of the stone axe heads are attached to wood and things like that.
  • Paleolithic Economies
  • Kinship groups shared good collection duties.
  • Gender roles - patriarchal (men hunt and women gather - both are necessary for society) - child rearing was slowed down because you had to carry the child from hunting site to hunting site
  • Cultural diffusion between neighboring kinship groups (if you find a better way to do something, then another tribe would come by and steal it)
  • There is no one age where the Earth has turned Neolithic

Part 2

  • The Neolithic Revolution and Early Agricultural Societies
  • Neolithic Revolution
  • As the Pleistocene Age ended and the Holocene Age began, the average global temperature began to rise allowing hominids to migrate beyond the equator to other regions and continents. This allowed for the creator of agriculture and it allowed some different things.
  • A big thing that changed was climate
  • Pleistocene is the ice age and the Holocene is a period of glacial retreat. We are still on both of these things.
  • The Neolithic revolution is tied to climate because crops grew better when the climate got warmer - in other words, the earth was ready for agriculture.
  • The Neolithic Revolution is marked by the movement from Foraging Societies to Settled Agriculture. THis developed independently across the globe at different times. The fact that it occurred at different places and times is very important.
  • Key Characteristics of the Mesolithic Era
  • There was an overlapping era as societies Gradually moved from foraging to agriculture
  • Mesolithic age
    • Domestication of Animals
    • Development of Pottery
    • Slash and burn agriculture
    • There was a period of interlude between hunter-gatherer and farming
    • The step of pottery for food storage led to agriculture because that allowed for the storage of food
    • We domesticated animals long before we domesticated plants
    • Burn the forest down, plant a couple of seasons of crops, and burn it down and then move away
    • Traditionally dated between the global end of the Pleistocene Age but before agriculture in a given area
    • Pleistocene Age ends @8000BCE
    • The time between when the earth was ready for us to plant and when we actually planted could be called the Mesolithic Era
    • For a while, we planted and hunted and gathered at the same time. We did not just all of a sudden go to agriculture
    • Key Characteristics of the Neolithic Era
    • Global development of agriculture
      • Mesopotamia @ 8000BCE
      • China @ 7500BCE
      • Indus Valley @ 7000BCE
      • Papua New Guinea @ 6000BCE
      • Mesoamerica @ 4800BCE
      • Andean @ 4500BCE
      • North AMerica @ 4200BCE
      • North Africa @ 4000BCE
      • Lake systems were also suitable for farming
  • New Economic & Social Systems
    • Agriculture leads to food surplus
    • Food surplus leads to specialization
    • Specialization leads to social classes
    • As farming comes around, the gender roles begin to shift because the men stayed in the city and because of that, the men and the women shared the responsibilities.
    • Farming also lead to a food surplus and because of that a portion of the population did not have to collect food and this allowed for the specialization of labor. This then, in turn, leads to the social classes. The social classes did not exist with hunter-gatherings because everyone had to find their own food. **Social classes can also lead to war and famine and drought and things that are really not good so in some ways it is possible that agriculture was not a good thing.
    • Paleolithic is hunter-gatherers
    • Neolithic is agriculture
    • Then, this is not the same thing, the cities came and that is the rise of civilization
  • River Valleys serve as the first sites of Neolithic Development
    • Tigris-Euphrates
    • Indus
    • Huang-He/Yangtze
    • Nile
  • Followed by Lake and Coastal regions
    • Mesoamerica
    • Andes
    • North America
    • The Neolithic Revolution is not just about farming, it is also about the creation of new social classes

QR Code
QR Code ancient_history_notes (generated for current page)