Pre-historic Times
What do you know about
Prehistoric Man?
What I know….
Understanding Our Past
How are geography and history
How do anthropologists and
archaeologists find out about early
How do historians try to reconstruct
the past?
Geography and History
Geography is the study of
people, their
environments, and the
resources available to
History uses written
evidence to tell us
how people lived in
the past.
By showing how people lived in different times and
places, geographers have added to our knowledge
of human history.
The Five Themes of Geography
The Human Story
Anthropologists &
Anthropology is the study of the origins and development of
people and their societies.
Archaeology is a specialized branch of anthropology.
They study past people and cultures
Archaeologists study artifacts,:objects made by human beings.
 By looking at artifacts they can see how people
developed technology, the skills and tools people use to
meet their basic needs.
Fossils & Artifacts
Scientists use many clues to help them put pieces of the past together. One thing they
must know is the difference between a fossil and an artifact.
Fossils are remains of living things (plants,
animals, people), not things that were made.
Artifacts are remains of things that were
made, not remains of living things.
How Do Historians Reconstruct the Past?
Historians rely primarily on written
evidence to determine how people
lived in the past.
Recorded history began about 5,000
years ago, when people began to
keep written records.
Historians are like detectives
Sometimes they come to different
Which of the following is not an example of an artifact?
a) clothing
b) weapons
c) rivers
d) tools
What do historians look at to learn how people lived in the
a) They focus on the environments in which early
people lived.
b) They primarily look at written records.
c) They primarily dig for artifacts.
d) They primarily look at landforms.
Which of the following is not an example of an artifact?
a) clothing
b) weapons
c) rivers
d) tools
What do historians look at to learn how people lived in the past?
a) They focus on the environments in which early people lived.
b) They primarily look at written records.
c) They primarily dig for artifacts.
d) They primarily look at landforms.
The time period before writing was invented is
known as Prehistory.
History is the time period after writing was
Prehistory is also known as the Stone Age.
The Stone Age has three parts:
Old Stone Age or Paleolithic
Middle Stone Age or Mesolithic
New Stone Age or Neolithic
Website Links
-Early Man
- Ice Age Animals
- Nat. Geographic Journey of Man
- Stone Age people survival
More detailed link to other slide
National Geographic Journey of Man
Stone Age survival-
The long journey of Man
3 Million Years Ago
3 million years ago, our planet was teeming with
There were deer, giraffes, hyenas, sheep, goats,
horses, elephants, camels, beavers, cave lions, ants,
termites, woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers,
giant sharks, dogs with huge teeth, and all kinds of
birds and plants and fish.
Very Early Humans
It was during this time that the higher primates, including apes
and early man, first appeared.
There was a difference between apes and man. Early
human-like hominids could stand upright. Apes could
Their hands were different, too. Ape hands were
made for climbing and clinging. Man’s hands were
jointed differently, which allowed them to make and
use tools.
Very Early Humans
How do scientists know about an early man who
lived 3 million years ago?
Lucy told them!
In 1974, a skeleton was found in Africa. The bones were those of a female, about
20 years old or so when she died. Scientists named her Lucy.
About 3 million years ago, when Lucy was alive, she was about 4 feet tall and
weighed about 50 pounds. Scientists suspect that she fell into a lake or river and
Scientists are like detectives. They can tell a great
deal from a skeleton, whether it's one year old or 3
million years old!
Handy Man
The Stone Age refers to the materials used to make manmade tools. In the Stone Age, man made tools out of
stone. “Handy Man” was one of the first hominids to use
stone tools.
Hunters & Gatherers: The Old Stone Age people were
hunters/gatherers. We know this because scientists have found
fossils and artifacts, which reveal traces of their life. These
people did not plant crops. They gathered wild fruits, nuts,
berries, and vegetables.
Handy Man
These early human-like hominids were taller and
smarter than Lucy’s people, but they did not know
how to make fire.
When they broke camp, they probably tried to
bring fire with them by carrying lit branches to
use to start a new campfire.
If their branches went out, they did without fire
until they found something burning.
Upright Man
Many years passed. Another group of man was born. Scientists nicknamed this
group “Upright Man”. Upright Man did know how to make fire.
That changed everything!
People began to cook their food, which helped to
reduce disease. People collected around the fire
each night, to share stories of the day's hunt and
activities, which helped to develop a spirit of
Upright Man
These Stone Age people were about the same size as modern
humans. Their tool-making skills were considerably
improved. Their weapons included stone axes and knives.
Because Upright Man could make fire, he was free to
move about in search of food. He did not have to worry
about freezing. He made warm clothes from animal
skins. At night, he built a campfire to cook his food and
to stay warm.
Man Leaves Home
About one million years ago, Upright Man began to slowly
leave Africa. These early people began to populate the world.
They did not need a boat. The Ice Age was here! They
traveled across giant walkways of frozen ice, over what
later would become vast rivers and seas.
Scientists have found artifacts of their tools and weapons,
which help us to understand how they lived, where they went,
and how they got there.
One day, scientists found a new skeleton. This skeleton was from another group of
early men. Scientists named this man Neanderthal man, after the valley in which the
skeleton had been found.
Scientists announced that these early
men were dim-witted brutes, who
walked with bent knees, with their
heads slung forward on their big necks.
Could these early people really be our
What do you know about
Neanderthals are the best known of the ancient
humans. The Neanderthals lived in Europe and
central Asia between 230,000 and 30,000-28,000
years ago—longer than Homo sapiens, or modern
humans, have lived on Earth. They lived during the
most recent Ice Age, when vast sheets of ice covered
many northern parts of the world.
The term “Neanderthal” (also spelled Neandertal)
comes from the Neander Valley near Dusseldorf,
Germany. This is where scientists found the first
Neanderthal fossils in 1856.
But scientists had made a mistake!
The bones were bent because they
were part of the skeleton of an old
man suffering from arthritis!
Arthritis is a disease that bends and
cripples bones.
Still, Neanderthals were different from other species of
early humans. They were tall and smart, and used caves as
their homes. They were great hunters.
Considering how smart they were, and how advanced for
their time, scientists are puzzled that the Neanderthals were
one of the early species of man to die out. Many species of
man died out in these early days. But why the Neanderthals?
It is a history mystery.
Hyoid Bone
The hyoid bone helps to support the tongue and elevate the
larynx when you talk or swallow. It's the only bone of the
body that does not articulate with any other bone. The hyoid is
suspended above the larynx and is anchored by ligaments to
bones in the skull.
Our gift of the gab is all due to a small horseshoe-shaped bone
suspended in the muscles of our neck, like a piece of fruit
trapped in Jell-O.
The hyoid bone, which is the only bone in the body not
connected to any other, is the foundation of speech and is
found only in humans and Neanderthals.
Hyoid Bone
1. Define hominid
2. What does BC mean?
3. Where did Neanderthals live? What modern
4. Why is making fire a great step for the
development of early Man?
Neanderthal Video-United
What do you know about Neanderthals and the environment in which they
• As you watch the program, look for examples of how Neanderthals
adapted to harsh living conditions. Note how their unique physical features
allowed them to thrive.
In the program, Neanderthals used fire for protection and survival.
What other survival skills did Neanderthals have?
-How did they find food and protect themselves from the environment?
- Discuss reasons why Neanderthals became extinct if these skills were so
well developed
What ?
What are five key ideas for a person to
remember about Neanderthals?
Cro-Magnon Man
Another group of early men stood out during this period. Scientists
nicknamed this group “Cro-Magnon man”.
Today they are also called “Early Modern Humans.”
(EMH) because they are almost identical to modern humans today.
They were a little stockier than we are today because they
probably hunted long distances and life was a little harder. Modern
humans today have longer, leaner bones.
Cro-Magnon man lived throughout Europe.
This group did not live a life of constant struggle for
survival because they worked together to provide food
for their tribe. They lived in larger groups and had more
specific roles for doing tasks than the isolated smaller
Neanderthal groups.
Cro-Magnon Man
These Stone Age people learned to cure and store food for the long winter. They
used traps, which allowed them to catch food while they were busy doing something
else. Fisherman used nets woven from vines and fishhooks.
Some groups built rafts and canoes to catch bigger
fish in deeper waters.
They made clothing and jewelry. They
invented the bow and arrow.
*language was a key to their
superiority over Neanderthals
@50,000 years ago Cro-Magnons (EMH-early
modern humans) moved into Europe with:
tailored clothing, better shelters, more efficient
tools….that helped them survive the cold of
glacial Europe
Their appearance challenged the world of the
What happened that Modern
Man outlasted Neanderthals?
Around 50,000 years
ago something happens:
-Early modern humans
bring in modern
-finer blades, projectile
weapons such as the
bow, boats, fish hooks
2. Idea of not adapting to
rapid climate changes
that change “preytypes”
Some scholars think a
mutation in the brain
occurred in modern
humans making it
possible for this
“techno-jump” of ideas.
Birth rate of
Neanderthals was too
low due to
environmental causes
The power of language
They lived in larger groups, communicated
ideas to other groups.
Neanderthals – they were more isolated in
their clans; their ideas were not shared as often
resulting in little change of ideas over 200,000
Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals
Scientists believe Homo sapiens or EMHs coexisted for a
time with Neanderthals. There are a lot of questions about
how they dealt with each other.
Two popular theories about the relationship between
modern Homo sapiens and Neanderthals:
• Out of Africa: The theory states that Homo sapiens first lived in
Africa and eventually traveled into Europe and Asia. These humans
had evolutionary advantages that allowed them to outlive—and
perhaps cause the extinction of all other hominid groups (as opposed
to apes) such as Neanderthal. The way they hunted, talked
• Multiregional: The theory states that modern Homo sapiens
evolved from Neanderthal and other hominid groups in Europe and
Other ideas why Neanderthals
eventually disappeared.
Neanderthals required more meat to survive= the S.U.V. of their time. They needed a lot of
fuel to survive.
 Modern humans had smaller brains, less
energy requirements.
1. What is considered some of the possible
explainations for Neanderthals going extinct?
2. How do EMH differ anatomically from
modern humans today? Why is that perhaps?
3. Think of one question over this unit to ask
the class.
The Stone Ages
Time periods
Paleolithic (c 2,000,000 – c 10,000 B.C.) (Old Stone Age)
Longest Age(circa) two million years to 10,000 years ago. to coincide with the first evidence/ tool making,
and last ice age.
Mesolithic (c 10,000 – c 5,500 B.C.) (Middle Stone Age)
Covers last ice age until the introduction of farming (sometime around 5,500 B.C.) However, that particular
date just represents widespread farming; it apparently was already taking place a few (or several) thousand
years earlier in the Middle East. Farming began at different times between the various cultures
Neolithic (c 5,500 – c 2,500 B.C.) (New Stone Age)
very short Neolithic time period, covers the period from the beginning of farming and ending when metal
tools came into widespread use. Again, since ‘widespread’ would be a judgment call as to when the next
age (Bronze Age) should begin, it would be a matter of opinion. Metal tools in common use (copper) could
have begun as early as 6,000 B.C. within some regions of Europe, Asia and North Africa, effectively
eliminating the need to refer to any Neolithic time period at these locations. However, it could apply to less
advanced regions like the Americas and the rest of Africa. The Neolithic therefore became regionally
applied also.
Stone Age
Stone Age, the time, early in the
development of human cultures,
before the use of metals, when tools
and weapons were made of stone. The
dates of the Stone Age vary
considerably for different parts of the
world. In Europe, Asia, and Africa it
began about 2 million years ago.
Throughout the immense time span of the
Stone Age, vast changes occurred in
climate and in other conditions affecting
human culture. Humans themselves
evolved into their modern form during the
latter part of it.
The Stone Age has been divided into
three periods: the Paleolithic,
Mesolithic, and Neolithic.
Ages review
Old Stone Age
Paleolithic - 2,000,000 – 10,000 B.C
Middle Stone AgeMesolithic - 10,000 – c 5,500 B.C.
New Stone AgeNeolithic (c 5,500 – c 2,500 B.C
Paleolithic (Old Stone Age)
It was the longest Age .
It began about 2 million years ago,
when stone tools were first used by
humanoid creatures, and ended with
the close of the last ice age about
10,000 BC.
The hunting and gathering of food
was the norm. At first, single tools,
such as chipped pebbles or flaked
stone implements, were used for all
purposes. Over time, a variety of tools
were made for specific purposes.
At the end of the Paleolithic period,
modern humans (Homo sapiens) made
such specialized tools as needles and
harpoons. In the Cro-Magnon caves of
Europe, wall paintings and evidence of
both religious cults and possible social
stratification point to the complexity
of the cultures.
Paleolithic Age
During the Old Stone Age or Paleolithic era, people lived as
nomads, in small hunting and food gathering groups. These people
made simple tools and weapons out of stone, bone, or
developed a spoken language;
 How did this change life?
invented clothing;
used caves and rocky overhangs for shelter;
learned to build fires
 for warmth, cooking, light, and ceremonies.
Early people left evidence of their belief in a spiritual world.
Stone statues are believed to have had
religious meaning. Statues of pregnant
women suggest that early people
worshiped earth-mother goddesses.
Animism is the belief that the world
Is full of spirits and forces that might
reside in animals, objects, or
Cave paintings may have been
part of animist religious rituals.
Early people began burying their dead
with care, suggesting a belief in life after
death. They provided the dead with tools
and weapons for the afterlife.
Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age)
10,000 BC to about 5,500 BC
Changing weather patterns resulted in the
greater availability of food. In tropical and
temperate forest regions, Paleolithic tools, still
chipped, were adapted to the new conditions.
Neolithic (New Stone Age)
In both the Middle East and in Mesoamerica,
however, agricultural villages had begun to develop
by 8000 BC.
About 5,500 BC this time becomes known as the
Neolithic period, or New Stone Age.
The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution
Neolithic Agricultural Revolution was the change from nomadic to
farming life.
Relied on hunting and gathering.
Learned to farm and were able to produce
their own food.
Nomads lived in small hunting and
food-gathering groups.
Settled into permanent villages.
Waited for migrating animals to
return each year.
Learned to domesticate, or tame,
animals. This provided a dependable
source of meat.
This led to the development of civilization
In the Neolithic era or New Stone Age people
built civilizations near rivers.
Which of the following suggests that early people held
religious beliefs?
a) They buried their dead with tools, weapons, and
other items needed in the afterlife.
b) They learned to produce their own food.
c) They developed a spoken language.
d) They lived in caves or under rocky overhangs.
Which was an advance of the Neolithic Agricultural
a) Early people learned to gather nuts and berries.
b) Early people learned to hunt.
c) Early people learned to produce their own food.
d) Early people became nomads.
Which of the following suggests that early people held religious
beliefs? a) They buried their dead with tools, weapons, and other
items needed in the afterlife.
Which was an advance of the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution?
c) Early people learned to produce their own food.
Review questions
What advances did
people make during the
Old Stone Age?
How can we learn about
the religious beliefs of
early people?
Why was the Neolithic
agricultural revolution a
turning point in history?
Prehistoric Art
Cave Paintings
Cro-Magnon man (EMH) did something rather unusual. For some reason, he drew
paintings deep inside dark caves, on cave walls.
His paintings were added to the paintings already on the
cave walls, left by other Cro-Magnon men.
Over time, a cave
might accumulate hundreds of
paintings. Colors used most often were
brown, yellow/tan, dark red, and coal
Cave Paintings
Animals were well drawn and filled in with natural colors to give them even more
shape and substance. They drew stick figures for hunters. They drew stencils of
Cave Paintings
To reach the deepest part of the cave, where other paintings could be found, CroMagnon man had to crawl through the maze like tunnels of the cave, holding a
spoon-like oil lamp to light his way, while carrying his carefully prepared paints.
A Mystery
It was quite dangerous. Cro-Magnon man had no idea if he might run into a cave lion.
He might fall into a hole and die.
Why did he do it? Perhaps it was a coming of age ceremony, or perhaps it served a
religious purpose. Maybe it was a sort of, “I was here.”
There are many
history mysteries.
This is one of them.
Cave Paintings
A prehistoric bison painting from
the caves at Altamira, Spain.
This image was found in the
Painted Hall, a 300-yard deep
limestone cave.
This cave is a prehistoric gallery
of Cro-Magnon art that includes
25 other images of various
animals: bison, boars, horses,
deer, and a wolf.
The paintings date back to the Old
Stone Age, around 12,000 B.C.
Lascaux France
The existence of cave paintings was discovered by accident. Around 1940, during
World War II, some kids
were playing in a field in Lascaux, France. They
stumbled across a cave entrance. It had been
hidden by the tree roots. The walls were covered
with cave paintings!
Once people knew the paintings existed, they
looked for more such caves, and found them.
Cave of Lascaux, France
Discovered by
four boys in
Caves are filled
with pictographs
and petroglyphs
of hundreds of
There are almost 600 pictures of animals, mostly horses.
Other animals painted are stags, bulls, bison, and ibex.
Only one man is painted.
Virtual tour of Lascaux
Why did they paint the cave?
What do the paintings mean?
Just the animals that were around at that time.
Instructions on how to hunt or not to hunt.
The cave was used for religious ceremonies.
Painting were for good luck in hunting.
PowerPoint created by Amy J McCray, WKU Anthropology Undergrad. 2005.
Coy, Fred, Thomas C. Fuller, Larry G. Meadows, and James L. Swauger.
Rock Art of Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, KY,
Google Images. 1 December 2005.
The Caves of Lascaux. 1 May 2005.
Painting on a surface like a cave wall.
Design carved into rock or other surface.
Rock Art
What do you recall?
What you now wonder
Homo erectus, Neanderthal,
The reconstructed skulls of three
prehistoric humans. From left to right:
Homo erectus, Neanderthal, and CroMagnon. Homo erectus (formerly known
as Pithecanthropus erectus, a part of the
species which includes Java Man and
Peking Man) lived from 1 1/2 million to
250,000 years ago.
These people were more than five feet
tall and probably had spoken languages.
Although they used stone tools and fire,
no traces of industry were found
associated with them.
The Neanderthals, who lived from 230,000
to 30,000 years ago, are among the direct
ancestors of modern man (Homo sapiens);
their burial remains indicate a belief in an
afterlife. Cro-Magnon Man lived from
35,000 to 10,000 years ago, in the late
Paleolithic (Stone) age, and was similar to
modern humans. (GPB)
We know about early Stone Age people because scientists have found fossils and
artifacts that reveal traces of their life.
Man went through many stages to evolve into
the humans of today! Since this evolution
covers roughly 3 million years, you might say
it took man a long time to grow up!
Early Humans
What is a hunter-gatherer?
What is a Stone Age?
Why was the ability to make fire so
How could early humans travel from Africa
to Australia without a boat?
What did Cro-Magnon man paint on cave
Why did Cro-Magnon man paint on cave
Great Websites for further study
3.5 million year old footprints
A trail of footprints 3 1/2 million
years old found by Mary Leakey at
Laetoli, Tanzania. These footprints
show that human-like creatures were
walking upright in East Africa 3 1/2
million years ago.
Although precise relationships
between the Australopithecine species
and modern man (Homo sapiens) are
still subject to debate, new discoveries
in Africa promise to continue pushing
back the frontiers of knowledge about
human prehistory.
Smithsonian links
Short video on evolution
 What does it mean to be
human slide show
Short video on technology
use on artifacts
The Human Family Tree
Cave Painting project
DIRECTIONS: Materials needed: (1) Access to the internet. plain copy paper2 sheets, colored markers, pencils, one piece of notebook paper.
Log on to each of the following sites to learn about paintings in each one.
Spend some time exploring each cave and its various links.
Answer the following questions #1 and #2. Then pick one picture that you find
appealing to you and copy it down by hand on another sheet of notebook paper
as directed.
Cosquer Cave site-
This Web site describes the Cosquer Cave located at Cape Morgiou, near
Marseilles on the Mediterranean Sea. The unique feature of this cave is that it
contains several dozen works painted and engraved between 27,000 and 19,000
years ago. It is decorated with a variety of land animals, but also with seals and
auks, fifty-five hand stencils, and numerous digital markings, dozens of geometric
symbols, as well as the extraordinary representation of a "slain man."
Page 2 Cave painting project
Lascaux Cave site-
This web site looks at the famous Lascaux cave in France now closed to the public.
It has a different variety ofanimals and paintings in it compared to the Cosquer
--Questions and prompts--1.-What is different about the Cosquer Cave when compared to the Lascaux Cave?
2- What do these paintings tell us about other aspects of the life of cave dwellers or
Paleolithic people?
3. Pick one painting from one of the caves above and copy it by hand using a
pencil, colored markers etc…onto another sheet of paper. Do your best to copy it
as it was drawn thousands of years ago. Then write below it important information
about it for the viewer, what cave it was found in, its “name”, what it represents,
how it was drawn etc..
Page 3 Cave painting project
Materials: blank sheet of paper, colored pencils or markers
Free-hand copy your chosen painting
Below the painting include: title of it and which cave,
important fact(s), your initials
“The Sitting Horse”-Hall of Chinese Horses-Lascaux Cave
Blowing technique on outline, only horse painted in this pose.
Group Project
Project Aim: Study the physical features and
lives of Neanderthals or Cro-Magnons. Each
group will research one of the following
topics to report to the rest of the class.
• Physical features and cranial capacity
• Hunting and diet
• Tools and weapons
• Burial of dead and religion
• Shelter
• Art, music, and language
Group Project (continued)
Use the following websites and write a one page
PPT group page. Print out or sketch pictures you
find while doing research to use for ideas on your
page. Combine all ideas into a one page power
point page and save it on your flashdrive for Mr. M.
- In the Stone Ages (see A Neanderthal’s Day and
Follow Your Roots)
- Neandertals: A Cyber Perspective
- Homo Neanderthalensis
• Neanderthal for High School Students
Gale Discovering

Pre-historic Times