Paleolithic: Old stone age: 1.5 million- 8,000 BC
(90% of humanity is Paleolithic)
Made chipped from stone, flint
One design found around the globe, meaning transmission of design or knowledge
Small kinship groups (bands)
Consisted of one or two families
Migration tied to season of plants and animal migration patterns
Culture developed PRIOR to civilization
Learned patterns of action and expression
Cave paintings near Lascaux, France
Dwellings, clothing, tools and crafts, beliefs, and languages
*The development, transmission, and transformation of cultural practices and events are the subject of history
Cooking~12,500 years ago
East Asia shows woven clothing ~26,000 years ago
Visual artwork occurred ~32,000 years ago
Keys to Humanity:
Dominance over animals
Understanding of requirements necessary to cohabitate withenvironment
Development of Fire
Development of Animal and Plant domestication techniques
The first three are PALEOLITHIC achievements the last is a Neolithic
Neolithic: New Stone Age: 8,000 B.C.E.- 3,000 B.C.E.
Independent across civilization
Development of civilization
Controllable food supply
Allowed permanent settlement
Rise in economics
Food surplus; Supported more people than hunting
Specialization of labor
Beginnings of science and technology
Can be practiced everywhere
Must radically change the environment
Farming is hard: Slavery
Spread of disease
Religious values due to controlling of the necessary ingredients of agriculture (rain, floods, drought, etc.) beyond our control
Stone heads on sticks to work soil
Sharp stone chips in handle to cut gain
Stone mortar to grind grain
Discovery of metal tools around 4000 B.C.E. (copper then bronze)
Metalworking- 3000 B.C.E. (Bronze Age)
Stone tools disappeared in the Middle East
Metal hoes allowed farmers to work the ground better
Development of tool-maker class of people
The Middle East (wheat and barley)
Greece; Central Europe; Asia (rice)
First domesticated animal: dog (hunting)
Domestication of Animals probably developed from taking in weak or young animals that were hunted...they were then tamed and began to breed: Food source.
Provided meat and milk
Shelter through wool and leather
Must move around frequently for fresh grass
Not many animals conducive to domestication
Why did the Agricultural Revolution occur?
Uncertain: No written record
Most likely occurred by accident
More significant is the climate change.
Global warming contributed to a decline in animals for hunting
The retreat of big game animals like the mastodon
Hunters had to turn to smaller game like deer and boar
Increasingly humans became dependent on regular harvests of wild grains, berries and nuts (foraging)
This set the stage for the deliberate planting of seeds
Grain provided a dietary staple and source of beer making.
Concept of Revolution:
That's not really a revolution, that's just people trying to increase available calories. But one non-revolution leads to another, and pretty soon you have this, as far as the eye can see.
Many historians also argue that without agriculture we wouldn't have all the bad things that come with complex civilizations like patriarchy, inequality, war, and unfortunately, famine. And, as far as the planet is concerned, agriculture has been a big loser. Without it, humans never would have changed the environment so much, building dams, and clearing forests, and more recently, drilling for oil that we can turn into fertilizer.
Many people made the choice for agriculture independently, but does that mean it was the right choice? Maybe so, and maybe not, but, regardless, we can't unmake that choice. And that's one of the reasons I think it's so important to study history.
History reminds us that revolutions are not events, so much as they are processes; that for tens of thousands of years people have been making decisions that irrevocably shaped the world that we live in today. Just as today we are making subtle, irrevocable decisions that people of the future will remember as revolutions.