Chapter One
ORIGINS OF AGRICULTURE TO THE
FIRST RIVER-VALLEY CIVILIZATIONS
TECHNOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL
TRANSFORMATIONS

During the Paleolithic era, hunters and
gatherers gradually migrated form their origins
in East Africa to Eurasia, Australia, and the
Americas, adapting their technology and
cultures to the new areas.
TECHNOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL
TRANSFORMATIONS

Interactions among different groups of people
on the planet were usually limited to groups
that were geographically nearby, but
interactions increased steadily throughout the
time period, both in frequency and distance
TECHNOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL
TRANSFORMATIONS

Physical geography and the natural environment
interacted with human activities to shape changes
and continuities during the time period

This period is made up of tow time periods that are
distinguished by big changes in human lifestyles,
including these “marker events”: the development
of agriculture and communities, and the
appearance of earliest urban-based societies
CIVILIZATION?
Generation of reliable surplus
 Specialized, non-food producing, labor
 Clear social class distinctions
 Growth of cities as centers of population
 Complex, formal governments
 Long-distance trade
 System for keeping records (writing)

BEFORE CIVILIZATION

Culture existed, why not civilization?
 Tools,
dwellings, clothing, and crafts
 Arts, beliefs, knowledge, and technology

Stone Age
 Paleolithic
2 Million until 8000bce
 Tools!!
 Neolithic
8000-2000bce
 Agriculture!
AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTIONS
Horticulture to Agriculture
 Pastoralism
 Domestication of Grains

 Cultural
diffusion or independent invention
 Rice in SE Asia and India
 Maize in Mesoamerica
 Potatoes, tomatoes, and pepper in Andes
Mountains
LIFE IN NEOLITHIC COMMUNITIES

Spread of Agriculture
 Small
surplus gave an advantage to farmers
 Expansion could have been 12-19 miles per
generation

Society and Religion
 Farming
communities organized by kinship and
marriage
 Religion focused on relations to nature (polytheism)
 Megaliths used to honor gods and track seasons
MEGALITH
LIFE IN NEOLITHIC COMMUNITIES

Jericho and Catal Huyuk
 Earliest
known “cities”
 Fortified in different ways
 Jericho
had a stone wall
 Catal Huyuk used protective architecture
 Engaged
in trade with neighboring areas
 Specialized labor created pottery, baskets, beads
 No formal government or class structure
NEOLITHIC REVOLUTION “MARKER EVENT”
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
People settled down – private property
Division of Labor - allowed greater efficiency
Social inequality – larger land passed down;
respect for jobs differed
Gender inequality – men took over
Importance of Surplus – allows #2
Religious Changes – spirits become gods
MESOPOTAMIA

“land between the rivers”

Tigris and Euphrates
Crossroads for many groups left it open for
invasion
 Sumerians

First civilization in Mesopotamia
 10-20 city-states with a ruler in each
 Writing in 3500 bce; governments at 3000 bce
 Controlled the Semitic people for 1000 years
 Irrigation technology and cuneiform

MESOPOTAMIA
Babylon – largest and most important city in
Mesopotamia
 Hammurabi – great king of Babylon, expanded
influence across Mesopotamia and created
 The Code of Hammurabi – first written codified
set of laws and punishments

MESOPOTAMIA

Society three classes
 Free
landowning class
 Royalty,
high ranking officials, warriors, priests,
merchants, and some artisans and shopkeepers
 Dependent
 Rural
farmers and artisans
workforce who were in the service of above
 Slaves
 Employed
in domestic service, they came from rival tribes
captured in war or people who could not repay debts
MESOPOTAMIA

Gods, Priests, and Temples
 Anthropomorphic
– human qualities
 State religion allowed building of ziggurats
 Amulets were
worn by people
to protect
from evil
MESOPOTAMIA REVIEW
Earliest complex civilization
 Developed between Tigris and Euphrates
 Sumerians created the civilization, Semitic people
eventually took over
 City-states were primary political unit, but were
united through conquest
 Three classes: landowners, peasants, slaves
 Cuneiform was created to keep records, lead to
multiple languages

EGYPT
Gift of the Nile – annual floods allowed regular
irrigation of farm lands
 Most of the population lived in the northern
delta called Lower Egypt
 Deserts on all sides led to virtual isolation
 Abundant natural resources allowed Egypt to
become self-sufficient

EGYPT

Divine Kingship – Pharoh maintained ma’at


Death resulted in building of burial chambers,
eventually leading to the pyramids at Giza
Administration
Unified area with extensive bureaucratic system
 Villages > Districts > Egypt @ Capital City
 Memphis early capital with pyramids
 Thebes later capital with Valley of the Kings
 Government tightly controlled trade and taxed at a rate
as high as 50% to pay for lavish projects

EGYPT

Communication
 Hieroglyphics
– pictures used to represent syllables
 Extremely
difficult to master
 Eventually led to script writing on papyrus

Cities
 Other
than capital, few real cities
 Most of population lived in small rural farming
communities
 Any cities have been build upon so evidence is hard
to come by
EGYPT

Foreign Relations and Trade
 Papyrus
was only found in Egypt, but in high
demand in the ancient world
 It
became a major export for Egypt
 Strict
isolationism (foreigners are enemies)
 Trade with Levant brought wood
 Trade with Nubia and other southern neighbors
brought gold, ivory, and myrrh
EGYPT

The People of Egypt
 Class
structure was not as defined as Mesopotamia
 King
and high ranking official at top
 Lower level and local officials, priests, artisans
 Peasants who did not own land at the bottom
 Daily
life was dependent upon the season and
whether or not a state project was underway
EGYPT

Belief and Knowledge
 Polytheism
with anthropomorphic gods
 Re
(sun), Osiris (underworld), Isis (mother), Seth (chaos)
 Pharaoh was seen as Horus on earth
 Gods came from towns throughout Egypt
 Daily
life involved amulets and small offerings to
gods
 Greeks and Romans commented that devotion to
magic was especially strong in Egypt
EGYPT

Afterlife
 The
Book of the Dead
 Involved a long journey culminating with weighing of
the heart to determine placement
 Mummification techniques were perfected over
time to preserve the body
 Size of grave indicated wealth and status
 Tombs were filled with supplies the dead might
need on their journey
EGYPT

Science and Technology
 Mummification
lead to a greater understanding of
human anatomy
 Mathematics were used to measure fields and
determine taxes
 Observation of the stars led to the most accurate
calendar in the Ancient World
 Engineering can be seen in the great pyramids and
canals that were more than 50 miles long
EGYPT REVIEW
Life in Egypt was based on the Nile
 Abundant natural resources, along with
geographic boundaries allowed Egypt to be
isolated and self-sufficient
 King was the peoples link to the gods, so many
resources were devoted to him
 Hieroglyphic and other writing systems allowed
the vast bureaucracy to keep track of taxes

EGYPT REVIEW
Egypt’s population was diverse, no formal class
distinction (social mobility was possible)
 Although subordinate to men, Egyptian
women’s status was greater than in
Mesopotamia
 Mummification, tombs, and Book of the Dead
indicate an obsession with the afterlife
 Advancements in medicine, mathematics,
astronomy, and engineering were made

THE INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION
Bi-annual flooding
of the Indus River
gave fertile land
 Harappa and
Mohenjo-Daro

THE INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION
Streets were in a rectangular grid, constant
width
 Covered drainpipes carried away waste
 City blocks were same length
 Similar mud bricks used throughout
 Conclusion?
 Most likely a strong central government

THE INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION

Technology
 Irrigation
allowed more fertile land
 Kilns were used to combat erosion from floods
 Unknown system of writing to keep records

Trade
 With
vast metal deposits and precious stones
trading flourished with areas as far away as
Mesopotamia
INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION REVIEW
Indus Valley Civilization occupied a large territory
 Uniformity of major urban centers and smaller
settlements indicate a possible strong central
authority
 Irrigation, ceramics, and architecture were
advanced, but writing cannot be deciphered
 Widespread trading partners were due in part to
the abundance of metal
 Cities were abandoned, most likely due to natural
disaster or environmental changes

ORIGINS OF AGRICULTURE CONCLUSION

Similarities between the Mesopotamian and
Egyptian people
 Lack
of rainfall necessitated forming governments
 Rulers were kings, and head of religion
 Gods embodied the environment
 Common language and culture throughout area
despite heterogeneous makeup of people
ORIGINS OF AGRICULTURE CONCLUSION

Differences between the Mesopotamian and
Egyptian people
Flooding of the Nile was predictable, Tigris-Euphrates
was chaotic
 This influenced relationship with the gods and views of
what the afterlife was like
 Code of Hammurabi clearly defined social classes
 Egyptian society was less urban and classes were less
important
 Women retained rights in Egypt, but had virtually none
in later Mesopotamia

REVIEW QUESTIONS

What marker event occurs in the Neolithic Era?

Sumerians are important because…

Egypt was able to flourish due to…

Why are we limited in what we know about the
Indus Valley Civilization?
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Origins of agriculture to the first river