Ancient & Medieval Worlds Series: Early Humans
Date: June 2006
Duration: 1 hours 6 minutes
Origins. Evidence of pre-human types is earlier and earlier, now 3-5 million years ago. Over enormous expanse of time, primates head shape changes, hand structure changes, they emerge from trees, develop useful tools. (3.24.00) = Homo Sapiens. Emerge 200,000 years ago from other species, some extinct, some not. The precariousness of human existence. Adaptability to changes. Human distinctions include abstract thinking, language sophistication. Impact of the opposing thumb. Tool making. Animals and primates use some kinds of tools. Human too making is highly sophisticated. The creation of art. The use of tools in some burial rites (11.20.00) = Race. Race is an imprecise term. Early humans originate in Africa. Melanin darkens the skin, provides protection from the sun's rays. Paler skin color with less melanin for northern people. Population spreads to Europe, Indonesia, and elsewhere. (16.20.00) = Ages of humans. Paleolithic Age (Old Stone Age) extends to 10,000 years ago, shows little change. Gathering and hunting for food. Discovery of fire 400,000 years ago before homo sapiens. Use f fire for warmth, cooking food (may have been accidental), light, protection to keep animals away. The creating of a spark and then fire by rubbing 2 stones together seems miraculous at the time. The beginning of control of nature. (21.10.00) = Neolithic Age. The creating of artifacts, jewelry, religious objects, burial rites. Clear indications of early humans' concern with death and afterlife. (26.44.00) = Inventions effect on gender. During the Stone Age men hunted, women gathered food and were child bearers. Evidence that women have superior status. They are less mobile, gathering is more important than hunting because it is steady, predictable. The deities worshiped have female forms.. The concept of Mother Earth which renews itself in cycle of seasons. (33.40.00) = Inventing History. Religion. The creating of artifacts, jewelry, religious objects, burial rites. Clear indications of early humans' concern with death nd afterlife. (37.59.00) = Gender. During the Stone Age men hunted, women gathered food and were child bearers. Evidence that women have superior status. They are less mobile, gathering is more important than hunting because it is steady, predictable. The deities worshiped have female forms. The concept of Mother Earth which renews itself in cycle of seasons. (43.53.00) = Creativity. Early sculpture. Cave paintings are somewhat high up, protecting them. The use of paint from vegetable matter, yellows and browns. Themes are animals, humans, hope for future hunt or celebration of a successful hunt, the depiction of extinct animals. A spear aimed at an animal's head indicates knowledge of anatomy. Masks suggest knowledge of math, forms of writing. Neolithic Age (New Stone Age). 10,000 years ago. A human revolution with enormous changes. (46.40.00) = Bronze Age Beginnings of Civilization. The Bronze Age, the age of metals, about 5,000 years ago. Copper and tin are soft but the alloy of the two, bronze, is hard and breaks stone. This discovery is probably accidental. In Egypt 3,000 to 5,000 years ago, the first appearance of settled urban life along the Nile River, a source of water. This pattern is followed in the Yangtze River and other major waterways. The use of strong metal tools to clear swamps. (52.52.00) = Food surplus and division of labor. Earlier all people are involved in food supply. Now more food is produced by fewer people, freeing some for other things, leading to the division of labor. Mining and finding proper ore, smelting to melt away impurities, molding of metal into useful forms. This food surplus allows the possibility of greater travel, contact with other people, trade, and war. Class society begins with the victors of wars, the military leaders, becoming the political leaders, passing on rule to their sons. The defeated become slaves as the spoils of war. (57.09.00) = Replacement of the matriarchal society. Invention of the plow revolutionizes agricultural production, is labor saving. Plows are pulled by work animals controlled by men, changing the society to patriarchal. Goddesses are transformed to gods. (58.24.00) = Class society begins. Economic and political rulers do not do manual labor which is done only by the lower class. Whether or not someone does manual labor is a mark of class distinction between upper and lower class. (1.05.49.00) = Pyramids in Egypt made of 2,300,000 stones each 2-1/2 tons, and all that involves from cutting from a mountain quarry, moving to location including floating along a river and getting into place level upon increasingly high level to a height of 481 feet high, with a margin for error is less than 1 inch. Just as remarkable are elaborate structures underneath as burial sites for pharos with their treasures. (1.13.14.00) = Stonehenge.in southeastern England, 1900-1600 B.C., its complexity, logistics of construction, its choice of location, and possible purpose, possibly a calendar. If so, it will only work at that latitude. These reflect math and science genius of the human brain's power. (1.22.42.00) = Other examples of the brain's genius. Mummification, requiring knowledge of the body. Egyptian brain surgery is practiced, with many survivors evidenced by scar tissue on mummies. The knowledge of pi, the circumference of a circle. Written language. Pictograph images, hieroglyphics, idea graphs of signs representing ideas, cuneiform writing, cutting into stone, letters representing sounds Early writing is record of contributions to religious priesthood, no writing of technology. Iron ore, stronger than bronze, is smelted by the Hittites, later formed into steel. The Phoenician alphabet, the ordering of sounds. The Assyrian aqueduct carries water to lower lands (1.30.06.00) = Decline of Inventions. Inventions are not from advanced civilizations. One reason is the upper class does not want labor saving devices to ease labor of working class which defines the class society. Another reason is the superstitions by priesthood which are threatened by science and the education of the masses. (1.34.30.00) = Complexity of human development. Parallel things going on. Tremendous scientific achievements and at the same time the growth of religious observance, side by side. Sometimes news travels from one civilization to another, other times parallel discoveries independent from each other. Yet technology is only one way to measure human society.