Period 1: Beginning of Man to 600 B.C.E.

  • Period 1: Technological and Environmental Transformations, to c. 600 B.C.E.

    Key Concept 1.1 - Big Geography and the Peopling of the Earth

    Summary: Big Geography is a term used to develop an understanding that history is not always local and that, over time, history tends to happen in larger geographical regions.  Early humans understood the concept of Big Geography much better than we do today.  They experienced their geography and climate on a daily basis, rather than hiding behind technology and modern housing.  As such, we see the development of humans vary across the globe in their diets, housing, art, religion, and social practices.

    I. Archeological evidence indicates that during the Paleolithic Era, hunting-foraging bands of humans gradually migrated from their origin in East Africa to Eurasia, Australia, and the Americas, adapting their technology and culture to new climate regions.

    A. Humans use fire in new ways.

    B. Development of tools.

    C. Hunter-Gatherer society. - An interactive timeline of the peopling of the world. - This site is dedicated to the evolution of mankind.


    Key Concept 1.2 - The Neolithic Revolution and Early Agricultural Societies

    Summary: As the last ice age began to give way to warmer climates we saw the development of agricultural techniques across the globe.  These agriculturalists will shape the landscapes in which they live and change the course of history forever.  There were, however, groups who remained true to their pastoral nomad ways and continued to thrive in various parts of the world.

    I. Beginning about 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic Revolution led to the development of new and more complex economic and social systems.

    A.  Agriculture emerged at different times in the Nile River and Sub-Saharan Africa, Mesopotamia, the Indus River Valley, the Huang He River, Mesoamerica, and the Andes.

    B. Pastoralism in Afro-Eurasia.

    C. Domestication of crops and animals.

    D. Agricultural communities work to modify environment to fit needs.

    E. Agriculture and pastoralism impact the environment.

    Catal Hoyuk is one of the oldest and best preserved Neolithic villages. - A comprehensive site dedicated to the Neolithic Revolution and its impact on the world.

    II. Agriculture and pastoralism began to transform human societies.

    A.  Agriculture and pastoralism led to more reliable and abundant food.

    B.  Surplus of food led to specialization of labor.

    C.  Technological innovations led to improvements in agricultural production, trade, and transportation.

    • Pottery
    • Plows
    • Woven Textiles
    • Metallurgy
    • Wheels

    D.  Elite groups accumulate wealth and create more hierarchal social structures and promote patriarchal social organizations.

    Key Concept 1.3 - The Development and Interactions of Early Agricultural, Pastoral, and Urban Societies

    Summary: From about 5,000 years ago, urban societies developed, laying the foundation for the first civilizations.  These civilizations produced agricultural surpluses, specialized labor, large cities, and complex institutions.  These complex institutions include political bureaucracies, armies, religious hierarchies, social classes, and long-distance trade.  Accumulation of wealth and resources contributed directly to conflict and the rise of new military and urban technology.

    I.  Core and foundational civilizations developed in a variety of geographical and environmental settings where agriculture flourished.

    A.  Mesopotamia and the Tigris-Euphrates River Valleys

    B.  Egypt in the Nile River Valley

    C.  Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa in the Indus River Valley

    D.  Shang in the Yellow River or Huang He River Valley

    E.  Olmecs in Mesoamerica

    F.  Chavin in Andean South America

    II.  The first states emerged within core civilizations

    A.  States were ruled by divine leaders who utilized their power to mobilize labor and resources.

    B.  States competed for control of resources, which often led to military success.

    C.  Early examples of empire-building include Mesopotamia, Babylonia, and the Nile Valley.

    Empires of Mesopotamia

    D.  Pastoralists developed and disseminated new weapons and modes of transportation.

     Hittite military technology

    III.  Culture played a significant role in unifying states through laws, language, literature, religion, myths, and monumental art.

    A.  Early civilizations developed monumental architecture and urban planning.



    Urban Planning: Harappa

    B.  Elites, both political and religious, promoted arts and artisanship.

    Egyptian Art

    C.  Systems of record keeping arose differently in early civilizations




    D.  States developed legal codes.

    Hammurabi's Code of Laws

    E.  New religious beliefs developed in this period continue to have strong influences in later periods.

    The Vedic Religion

    Hebrew Monotheism


    F.  Trade expanded from local to regional and trans regional zones of trade.

    Egypt and Nubia

    Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley

    G.  Social and gender hierarchies intensified.

    H.  Literature was a reflection of culture.

    Epic of Gilgamesh

    Egyptian Book of the Dead

    Rig Veda