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World Cultures Chapter 1


World Cultures Chapter 1 Toward Civilization Prehistory 3000B.C. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: World Cultures Chapter 1

World Cultures Chapter 1
  • Toward Civilization
  • Prehistory 3000B.C.

Understanding Our Past
  • Try to imagine the dawn of civilization cave
    men, dinosaurs, wooly mammoths
  • Geography and History
  • Geography is the study of people, their
    environments, and the resources available to them
  • Geography often determines how a culture develops
  • How has the geography here impacted you?

Geography and History
  • Location
  • Where on earth you are, measured in latitude and
  • Place
  • Physical features and human characteristics
  • Human-Environment Interaction
  • How humans have impacted the environment
  • Movement
  • How people move throughout the centuries

Geography and History
  • Region
  • Areas defined by political, physical, economic,
    or cultural features

How Do We Know?
  • There is much confusion about Prehistory
  • Prehistory is the period of time before recorded
  • Why would it be hard to learn about prehistory?
  • What are some ways that we can learn about

How Do We Know?
  • Anthropology
  • The study of the origins of human culture
  • Archaeology
  • The study of past cultures through artifacts
  • Most archaeologists dig to discover hidden
  • Archaeologists also use radio-carbon dating,
    relative dating, geological clues, and sonar to
    find and date artifacts

Reconstructing the Past
  • Historians are people who try to reconstruct the
    past using what we know and intuition
  • What things can we use to help us decode past
  • Great vs. Small
  • Past historians usually wrote about monarchs /
    kings / leaders
  • Newer historians usually focus on the plight of
    common people

The Dawn of History
  • The Old Stone Age
  • Paleolithic Age 2 million B.C. to 10,000 B.C.
  • Early humans most likely lived in Eastern Africa
    and the Middle East (Mesopotamia)
  • Most people were hunters / gatherers
  • Most civilizations were nomadic
  • The Earth was several degrees colder (called the
    Ice Age) and men lived amongst woolly mammoths
    and saber toothed cats

The Dawn of History
  • Early Religious Beliefs
  • Men needed an explanation for the way things
    were the rising sun, the changing of the
    seasons, etc.
  • Many gods and religious figures were derived by
    things in nature animals, seasons, the seas,
  • Cave paintings and figurines are signs of idol
  • A belief in the afterlife is also evident

Neolithic Agricultural Revolution
  • Called the New Stone Age
  • Around 11,000 years ago people learned how to
    cultivate crops
  • This required the nomadic tribes to settle in one
  • Tribes also learned how to domesticate animals
  • How would Stone Age people learned how to plant?
  • Why would they domesticate animals?

Neolithic Agricultural Revolution
  • The shift to agriculture was probably the most
    significant advancement in human history
  • Farming lead to a greater social structure
  • The role of women may have decreased as men did
    more farm work and served as elders in the
  • Competition for resources increased with
    population, giving rise to warriors and
    increasingly sophisticated war techniques
  • This would continue until the 1700s

Neolithic Agricultural Revolution
  • New Technology
  • Farming implements
  • Calendars
  • Use of animals for work
  • Specialization of Labor
  • Clothing

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Beginnings of Civilization
  • Civilization
  • A complex, highly organized social order
  • Expanding agricultural areas created the first
  • First Civilizations
  • River Valley Civilizations
  • Tigris and Euphrates
  • Nile River
  • Indus River
  • Yellow River (Huang He)

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Beginnings of Civilization
  • American Cities
  • Cities also arose in the Mayan, Aztec, and Inca
    cultures completely devoid of Eastern
  • The American tribes developed calendars and
    complex math long before Eastern cultures
  • Features of Civilizations
  • Organized Governments
  • Early civilizations had either a council or chief
  • As civilizations grew, their roles expanded and
    gained more power
  • The religious leaders also held a great deal of

Beginnings of Civilization
  • Complex Religions
  • Many cultures were polytheistic
  • The gods were thought to be responsible for all
    aspects of life
  • Many rituals including ceremonies, dances, songs,
    temples, hymns, and sacrifices were devised to
    please the gods
  • Job Specialization
  • As societies grew, it became evident that certain
    people were better at doing a particular trade
  • People specialized to master a particular trade

Beginnings of Civilization
  • Social Classes
  • Strata of people developed based on monetary
    values, land, family history, and honor
  • Priests and noblemen
  • Wealthy merchants
  • Commoners (Free Men)
  • Slaves
  • Debtors
  • Prisoners of War

Beginnings of Civilization
  • Arts and Architecture
  • Most were created to pay homage to the gods
  • The best, most artistic buildings were built for
    the rulers or the gods for worship
  • Early civilizations also used art as a means of
  • Public Works
  • Irrigation systems, roads, bridges, and defensive

Beginnings of Civilization
  • Writing
  • Created to serve as a means of record keeping
  • Most citizens could not read or write
  • Usually only the wealthy or religious men were
  • Original writing was pictograms pictures used
    to describe something
  • Later on symbols were used
  • Scribes were professional writers who kept track
    of numbers, people, and official orders

Spread of Civilization
  • City States
  • As individual tribes grew they competed for land
    and resources
  • Cities went to war with each other and eventually
    grew into larger and larger areas
  • Empires
  • The first empires grew out of the combination of
    several city states
  • Conquered city states were often treated harshly
    but made peace in the long run

Spread of Civilization
  • Despite the advancement of civilizations, some
    people remained nomadic
  • Conflicts with nomadic peoples would plague
    civilizations for centuries

Civilizations and Change
  • Environmental Changes
  • Both nomadic and civilized people needed
  • Timber, fresh water, farm land, and metal were
    essential to communities
  • Interactions among People
  • Cultural Diffusion the spread of ideas between
    cultures as a result of trading, travel, and

Civilizations and Change
  • People migrated as a result of natural disasters
    or famine and took their ways of life with them
  • Metal working, writing, religious beliefs, etc
    were exchanged
  • Warfare also caused cultures to bend to the will
    of the victorious army (Jewish culture)