Slide Show #1

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The Archeological Record
Humans belong to biological order, Primates (“first rank”)
Genetic, body chemistry similarity (98%+) to large apes
Enormous differences in intelligence, ability to control natural world
Discoveries in East Africa illustrate development of biological family of
Australopithecines (“Lucy”)--4 to 1 MA (million years ago)
 Walked upright on two legs; well-developed hand
 --Stone tools; fire later
Homo habilis (“handy human”) --2.5 MA, stone axes, larger brain
Homo erectus-- 2.5 million-200,000 YA (years ago)
 sophisticated tools, control of fire, language skills, coordinated
Homo neanderthalensis--130,000 --30,000 YA
 same hunting/foraging lifestyle as Homo sapiens
Homo sapiens--200,000 years ago, brain with large frontal region
 Spread throughout Eurasia about 100,000 YA
 importance of Ice age land bridges for migration
Different forms of Hominids
Between 3.5 and 5 million years ago, an adult
hominid and a child made these footprints near Laetoli,
Paleoanthropologists use stone toolmaking technologies to classify
hominid cultures, because these
artifacts have survived in relatively large
numbers. The chopper on the top, of a
pattern that dates from over two million
years ago, was made by striking
cobblestones against each other.
Chimpanzees can be taught to make
similar tools. The more elegant axeblade in the center predominated over
much of the world between about 1.5
million and 150,000 years ago. Though
the size, shape, and function of these
tools varied, as the examples on the
bottom show, the technology was
surprisingly uniform around the world.
No bone tools from the period survive.
The Beginnings of Civilization
Ice Age Culture/Society
Paleolithic Communities
 Size dictated by resources, foraging lifestyle, requiring large range of
 Paleolithic (2.5 MA to 10,000 YA) vs. Neolithic--10,000 -3,000 YA
 Leadership: alpha males
 Probable gender roles-- reliable evidence?
 Male dominance
 “Liberation” of women for reproduction
 Women connected with the sacred, Venus figurines
Diet: 3,000 calories per day!
 Varied diet--combination of meats, nuts, fruit, roots, tubers, etc., high
intake of vitamin c (see assigned “Paleolithic Nutrition” article)
 The role of archeobotany, anthropology in analyzing plant-based foods
 Biological versus cultural adaptations to overcome plant defenses in seeds
leaves (bitterness/toxicity)
 Heating/Cooking as a primary early cultural adaptation (learned)
Hunting strategies during Upper Paleolithic (45,000-10,000 YA)
 Stampeding animals off cliffs or into lakes, bogs
 Scavenging versus active hunting (NWIA article)
 Development of the bow and arrow
 Domestication/use of dogs
 Evidence of net-hunting of small mammals
Cave Art
 What was it for?
 Ritual, instructional uses
 Depiction of hunting scenes
 How was it made?
 Colors of ochre mixed with animal fat and applied with
wood, bone, and animal hair
Venus Figures: evidence from Dolni Vestonice--ritual uses?
Illustration: Chauvet cave paintings
Pont d’Arc, France, Chauvet Cave
Chauvet Cave
Chauvet Cave, details
Chauvet horse painting, details
Religion: Shamanism
Depiction of people wearing animal masks
 Importance of Dance, Speech for human bonding
 Intermediaries between this world and a spiritual
 Example: Chukuchi hunters of Siberia
Social Stratification
Evidence from burials of differences in grave goods
Ability to adapt to extreme environments
Inuit: development of blubber lamp
 San of the Kalahari: developed physical endurance
to run down game in desert conditions
Human Migrations
Out of Africa first around 100,000 years ago
Rise in population due to use of fire in cooking
 More types of food available
 Development of new hunting technologies
 War: competition for resources
Unclear origins of war
Humans reach China: 67,000 years ago
Australia: 50,000 years ago
 Europe: 40,000 years ago
Migration to the Americas: around 20,000-15,000 years ago
Land bridge across the Bering Strait as the last Ice Age ended
Multiple groups or one migration?
Clovis and other Paleoindian cultures--Meadowcraft (PA), Monte
Verde, Chile, Big Eddy (MO), Minas Gerais, Brazil
Mass extinction of 35 species of mammals around 10,000
years ago
Questions about dating raised by archaeological research:
Meadowcroft shelter
Monte Verde in Chile
Dated to between 9500 and 8000 BCE, the Clovis (or Llano) Culture of North America
(so-called because their artifacts were first discovered at Clovis, New Mexico) was noted for its
production of fluted flint projectiles. Once thought to be the earliest Paleo-Indian inhabitants of the
Americas, the Clovis people now are being challenged for that position of primacy by archaeologists
who have discovered evidence of earlier cultures in the Americas.
During the last ice age the Laurentide ice sheet of North America
extended as far south as New York.