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A Global View: Early Civilizations
Part 1:
focuses on the beginnings of civilization to
the rise of ancient Egypt, the ancient Middle
East, and the growth of civilizations in India
and China.
Terms and People
• Prehistory is the period before the invention and use of
• Anthropology is the study of the origins and development
of people and their societies.
• Anthropologists investigate how culture has changed since
prehistoric times.
• Culture refers to a society’s beliefs, values,
and practices.
Terms and People
• Old
Stone Age – the era of prehistory from 2 million
B.C. to around 10,000 B.C.
• Paleolithic
Period – the Old Stone Age period.
• New
Stone Age – the period from 10,000 B.C. to the
end of prehistory.
• Neolithic
• nomad
Period – the New Stone Age period.
– person who moves from place to place.
• animism
– the belief that spirits and forces reside in
animals, objects, or dreams.
Terms and People
• Neolithic Revolution – the transition from nomadic
life to settled farming.
• domesticate – to raise plants or animals in a
controlled way that makes them best suited for
human use.
• Çatalhüyük – an early Neolithic village (around 7000
B.C.) unearthed in modern-day Turkey.
• Jericho – walled Neolithic village (around 10,000–
9000 B.C.) which exists today as an Israeli-controlled
Terms and People
• surplus
– more than is necessary
• traditional
economy – an economy that relies on
habit, custom, or ritual and tends not to change over
• civilization
• steppe
– a complex, highly organized social order.
– sparse, dry grassland.
• polytheistic
– believing in many gods.
Terms and People
artisan – a skilled craftsperson.
pictograph – a simple drawing that looks like the object it
represents; first step toward writing.
scribe – a person specially trained to read and write.
cultural diffusion – the spread of ideas, customs, and
technologies from one people to another.
city-state – political unit that included a city and the surrounding
lands and villages.
empire – a group of states or territories controlled by one ruler.
Before the 1950s anthropologists knew little about
early humans and their ancestors.
Prehistoric groups didn’t have:
• Cities
• Countries
• Central governments
• Complex inventions
Early modern humans migrated (nomads) to all
parts of the world.
The Earliest Civilizations
How did the worlds earliest civilizations arise and
Most civilizations arose near major rivers.
Economy and work in early civilizations / cities
changed from the time of the stone age to the
emergence of cities.
The first civilizations arose along the Nile, Tigris and
Euphrates, Indus, and Huang Rivers.
The first civilizations not to form around rivers
• The
Olmec and Maya of Mexico and Central
America filled in swamps.
• The
Incas emerged in the highlands of Peru,
where they farmed on mountainsides.
Eight basic features of early civilizations.
2) Organized Government
3) Complex Religion
4) Job Specialization
5) Social Classes
6) Art and Architecture
7) Public Works
8) Writing
# 1 cities
• Cities
began to form as result of farming.
• Nomads
became settlers
•Forming: villages
• Farming
– cities – civilizations – Empires.
also allowed for surpluses which
allowed for the population to expand.
# 2 Organized Government
• The challenge of farming river valleys
contributed to the formation of organized
• To
control flooding
• Oversee irrigation
to crops
• Over
time some city governments became
powerful and more complex.
• This
led to bureaucracies.
# 3 Complex Religion
• The Egyptians for example worshiped many gods and
• They
build tombs to preserve their bodies for the after
• Performed rituals
• The
Aryans also believed in many gods (polytheistic)
• Believed in
spiritual power beyond the many gods
• In
China they believed in many gods and nature spirits.
• Much
of their spiritual focus was on honoring and
respecting their ancestry. Also believe in the balancing of
forces Yin and Yang.
# 4 Job Specialization
• Because of the development of cities people were
able to work in jobs other than farming.
• Skilled craft workers
• Traders
• Scribes
# 5 Social Classes
• Social
organization became more complex and
people were ranked according to their jobs.
• Priest
and Nobles – usually at the top
• Wealthy
• Artisans or
“skilled craft workers”
these class stood the majority of
farmers to slaves
# 6 Art and Architecture
• The
building of communities.
• Egyptians
built the pyramids, tombs, and sculptures.
• The
Hebrews in Israel built a temple dedicated to God
in Jerusalem.
• India
/ Indus River Valley
• Had
a complex city lay out, plumbing system, and sewer
• China
– Through created sculptures and everyday useful
items with bronze (they were masters at this craft).
# 7 Public Works
• Irrigation for farming
• City building projects
• Egyptians
– built the pyramids
• Indus River
Valley – built complex plumbing and
sewer systems.
• Water
projects – In China whoever controlled the
rivers which were the main routes for travel and trade
had the power.
# 8 Writing
• The
earliest form of writing or recorded
information was pictographs.
• Writing likely
became necessary as society became
more complex with the need to record
information about crops and other important
society and government information.
• Writing was
usually performed by specifically
trained individuals know as scribes generally for
purpose of keeping records for the kingdom.