The Beginnings of Human History - Broken Arrow Public Schools
The Beginnings of Human History The Time Before Written Records The Time Before Written Records What was life like long, long ago, when human beings first walked the earth? What did they eat? Where did they live? What was important to them? Were they hunters? artists? farmers? builders? fire-makers? tool-makers? dreamers? The people of the Stone Age lived before the time of
written records. So we cannot find newspapers or letters to tell us about them. We must depend on other things they left behind. In this unit, you will learn what life may have been like for these prehistoric humans. The first human beings on Earth kept on the move. They roamed from place to place, seeking food. Then they discovered something that allowed them to stay in one place, build cities, and develop a system of writing.
Timelines Timelines show us when important events occurred. They are recorded by dates. There are two date formats on a timeline: BC, or BCE (before current era) and AD, or CE (current era). We live in the time of AD, but all of ancient history took place in BC. The closer that the history gets to AD the smaller the numbers get. When we look at history it might seem that we are going backwards since the numbers get smaller, unlike AD where the numbers get larger.
BC Timeline AD Timeline Important Terms Culture- The values, attitudes, and customs of a group. Diary- A daily record of what happens to a person. Historian- One who is an expert in history.
History- The record of past events and the story of what happened to people in the past. Humanity- The human race. Primary Source- A first-hand account of a historical event. Secondary Source- A second-hand account of a historical event; an account written by a person who was not there. Interpret- To explain something. Interpretation- An explanation of the meaning
Primary Sources and Secondary Sources When writing history, historians ask themselves five Ws: What happened? When and where did it happen? Who was involved? Why did it happen? To find answers, they look for primary sources. These sources are first-hand, or eyewitness, accounts of the event. They also seek out secondary sources, or second-hand records of what happened.
Primary Sources Diaries Newspapers Letters Daily Personal Records First-hand Accounts Secondary Sources Textbooks Internet
Second-hand Accounts How Do Historians Use Sources? A historian writing about the American Revolution would read what people living at that time wrote. These primary sources would include newspapers; diaries or other personal records; and letters. The same historian would also read what recent historians have written about the war. Their books are secondary sources because these historians were not eyewitnesses. When you recorded the events of your first day at school
you were the primary source. When you tell your parents how your first day of school was and they tell your grandparents, your parents become a secondary source. How Do We Interpret History? Individual people, like yourself, record history. Because people differ, what they record differs. You interpret, or explain something one way. Another eyewitness interprets it another way. So your two interpretations, or explanations, differ. Secondary sources differ in their interpretations too.
Did your lists of the events of your first day of school differ? Were they similar, but interpreted differently? Did everyone enjoy their first day of school? Why or why not? Cave Paintings What do paintings on the wall of caves tell us about the way people lived in the Stone Age?
What other things would you like to know about people who lived in the Stone Age? History Teaches Us About People History tells us the story of all the people in every country of the world. We discover their new ideas. We realize that they did great things. History connects us to all the people who ever lived. Much happened before our lives began. Much will happen
after our lives end. But the past gives us roots. Roots anchor, or hold, a tree in the ground. A family tree helps you understand who you are. The family tree, or history, of the world helps you understand the human race. You are part of the global community. It stretches back through time to the beginning of humanity. Important Terms Anthropologist- A person who studies the beginnings and the behavior of people. Archeologist- A person who finds and studies
the things humans left behind in the past. Artifact- An object made by a person. Calculate- To figure something out. Radiocarbon dating- A way of measuring radioactivity of historic artifacts to determine how old they are. The Way Historians Work Historians write about history. To do this, they study written sources that earlier people left behind. But early people did not write books, newspapers, or letters. So
what tells us about them? How do scientists explore the past? How Do Scientists Explore the Past? Archaeologists are scientists who find and study things people left behind. We call these things artifacts. The include tools, weapons, pottery, and jewelry.
How Do Scientists Explore the Past? Anthropologists are scientists who study the beginnings and the behavior of people. For example, they may study the garbage Americans throw out. The garbage tells them about the eating habits of Americans. It also tells them what Americans do for fun, what they read, and much more. Dating Artifacts Sometimes, archaeologists must guess the age of an object. They do this by studying where they found the object. For
example, they might find one object near another one made of plastic. This material is a fairly new invention. So both objects are probably fairly new. In the same way, and archaeologist might find an object near ancient bones. Because the bones are old, the object probably is too. Archaeologists must calculate, or figure out, how ancient people lived. To do this, they become detectives who use artifacts as clues. For example, an artifact is made of a certain material. We find this material in only a few
areas of the world. So the archaeologists can calculate where the object may have been made. Or, they can figure out where the people who used it came from. What Can You Learn from a Bone? A trained scientist would say you can learn a lot from a
bone. Scientists carefully study the bones and teeth of early humans. Bones are clues to diet, health, and lifestyles. The Iceman The prehistoric man know as the Iceman was a Bronze-Age hiker. His 4,000-year-pld frozen body was found in the Alps in 1991. The Icemans worn-down teeth showed that he ate tough, raw foods. Scientists also analyze the chemicals in bones. Some
experiments showed when early Americans stopped eating wild plants and began to eat corn. That meant they had become farmers. Bones and teeth give other clues. They can show whether a person had a good diet or certain diseases. A fractured skull may mean that someone died violently. The long thigh bone is a good clue to a persons height. Measuring that bone can tell us how tall or
The Past is Like a Jigsaw Puzzle For some periods of history, historians have few artifacts. So learning about people from the past is hard. It is like a 1,000piece jigsaw puzzle with no picture and few pieces. They can only guess what the finished puzzle of that past might look like. But their guess can change. Sometimes, archaeologists discover new artifacts. They gather more missing
pieces. Then their guess about the finished puzzle changes. Important Terms Decay- To rot away or spoil. Embers- The glowing remains of a fire. Nomad- A person who moves from place to place. Obsidian- A volcanic gas. Prehistory- The time before humans left written
records. Bison- Another name for a buffalo. Boar- A wild pig-like animal. Monument- An object or building that stands in place and usually made of some kind of stone. Scholar- A well-educated person who has a great deal of knowledge about something. Bronze- A hard metal made of a blend of copper and tin. Eclipse- The hiding of the sun by the moon.
Prehistory We know little about the earliest people who lived on earth. Why? Because they left no written records. We have written records for only about 5,500 year. The long, long time before humans left written records is our prehistory. The Stone Age What is the Stone
Age? The Stone Age We call the earliest period of human prehistory the Stone Age. During that time, people made weapons and tools from stone. They shaped obsidian, a volcanic glass, into weapons as sharp as a modern knife. They used these stone weapons to hunt, chop, and cut. Later, they developed hand axes and spears. We learn about these prehistoric humans from garbage, broken
tools, and trash. They left these behind wherever they camped. Other materials, beside stone, were probably part of their garbage. However, these other materials decayed, or rotted away. So only stone objects were left. How did fire help early humans? The Discovery of Fire The discovery of fire is one of the most important events in
human history. Stone-Age humans knew that lightening caused fire. At some point, they learned that fire creates heat. With fire, they could warm themselves. Much later, these early people learned how to move a fire inside a cave. They learned how to keep embers, or glowing remains of the fire, burning. With these embers, they could start a new fire. Finally, they learned to cook with fire. How did
farming help early humans? Farming and Early Humans Another important event in the history of humanity is farming. As nomads, the earliest humans moved from place to place to hunt and gather food. They probably had to travel far and wide to find enough to eat. An important source of food was wild plants.
Gradually, they learned to plant seeds from these wild plants. Then they began to grow their own food. They no longer needed to depend on hunting for food. Now they could control their food supply. They could live in one place and grow crops each year. How did pottery help early humans? Pottery and Early Humans
Growing food created a new problem for these Stone-Age humans. They harvested crops once or twice a year. But how could they store the grains for later use? Prehistoric humans solved their problem by making pottery. They made pottery jars out of clay from riverbeds. These pottery jars protected the food from insects, mice, and dampness. Today, the broken
parts of this pottery are like puzzle pieces. They help the scholars calculate the dates a certain people lived. What art did early humans create? Art and Early Humans Prehistoric humans left no
written records. However, they did leaves us some important artwork. In 1859, a young girl and her father explored a cave in northern Spain. They discovered beautiful pictures on the cave walls. The drawings pictured animals---deer, wild boar, horses, and bison. Today, most scholars believe that Stone-Age artists painted
these pictures. They probably used twigs or bits of moss for brushes. To make the paint, they mixed meat grease with colored clay and vegetable colorings. Stonehenge How could early h umans do this bef ore the invention of the wheel? Stonehenge is a famous prehistoric monument. It is a type of building that stands near the city of Salisbury, England. It
consists of a series of great stone circles. Over 30 huge stones make up the circles. Each stone weighs over 35 tons. Scientists have discovered that the stones came from as far away as 135 miles. About 250 workers would have had to move EACH stone that long distance. Stonehenge The piled-up bank of earth around Stonehenge had a ridge nearly six feet high. A six-foot-deep ditch lay outside it. Prehistoric people worked with primitive tools. How many people worked to build this bank and this ditch? And for how
long did they work? We do NOT know! Stonehenge was used for more than 1,700 years. Most scholars think prehistoric people honored their gods there. Or Stonehenge might have
helped people guess when an eclipse, such as the moon hiding the sun, would happen. Scholars know none of this for sure because the monument What turned the Stone Age into the Bronze Age?
Stone tools broke easily. So prehistoric humans looked for other materials for their tools. First, they used the metal copper. Later they discovered how to melt copper and tin, another metal to make bronze. Bronze is harder than copper and holds a sharper cutting edge. The Bronze Age From about 3500 B.C., prehistoric people made their tools from bronze. They used it for the next 2,000 years. We call this time period the Bronze Age.
Bronze does not break easily. With it, ancient people invented many tools. These made their lives easier. Bronze-Age people also invented a sled to carry things on land. They hollowed out logs and made Prehistory Prehistory is an exciting period of humanitys story. At first, humans were nomads.
They moved from place to place to hunt and gather food. Then they learned to grow crops. So they settled close their fields and formed small groups. Now prehistoric humans had a sure supply of food. This began a chain of fast changes. These changes brought about the first
civilizations in which people built cities and set up governments. In the Beginning The Bible is the holy book for both Jews and Christians. Its parts, or books, were written in different places over about 1,500 years. The Jewish Bible is made up of the books that Christians call the Old Testament. The first five books trace Hebrew history to the death of Moses. Later books tell the
words of the prophets and the history of Israel. The Christian Bible has two parts. One is the Old Testament. The other is the New Testament. It tells about the life and teachings of Jesus. It also includes writings about the early Christian In the Beginning The Bible was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It has been translated into many languages. The following reading is from the first book of Genesis. The word genesis means beginning. In a poetic way, Genesis describes the creation of the world.
The Search for the Truth The ancient Greeks had two ways of thinking about the truth. They called them by different terms: logos and mythos. Logos meant the kind of truth that can be found through argument and demonstrations. You can see the word logos in the ending of words like archaeology and anthropology. These refer to careful study. Scientists in these fields study evidence and make experiments. They try to find the truth about human origins. Mythos meant a different kind of
truth. These were stories that everyone accepted as true. They were not questioned. Today, we use the word myth for made-up stories. Thats the opposite of what the Greeks meant. For them, a myth was a special story that spoke the truth. Navajo Creation Story One creation story comes from the Navajo of the American
Southwest. It says there were once smaller worlds inside the earth. The first man and woman made so many mistakes that those worlds were destroyed. The story tells how people escaped to the earths surface by climbing up a reed. Chinese Creation Story
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