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2017-18: Unit 2: Culture and Society in the Stone Age
Transcript of 2017-18: Unit 2: Culture and Society in the Stone Age
World History I, AY 2017-18
"Technology & Culture in the Ice Age"
(E/P, pp. 11-15)
1. The names and dates for the two phases of the Stone Age.
4. Gender roles.
5. Examples of what Stone Age peoples ate, built, wore, created, and believed.
Humans & the Environment
during the Paleolithic Era
The ability of humans to communicate very precisely with each other allowed knowledge to be spread and passed down through the generations.
1. The Periods of Pre-History
Paleolithic = Old Stone Age
The Great Ice Age (Pleistocene)
Rise of modern humans and the extinction of all other hominids
The migration to all continents
Hunting and gathering
The beginning of language, art, and culture
Neolithic = New Stone Age
2.6 million BP
10,000 - 8,000 BCE
Although most Paleolithic peoples were
(hunters and gatherers) and relied on natural shelter for dwelling as they moved seasonally,
some near lakes, coasts, and riverbanks developed more permanent structures.
Reproduction of paleolithic mammoth bone hut
4. Gender & The Family
5. Daily Life
Paleolithic people thrived as hunters because of the abundance of animals and the failure of these animals to realize how dangerous this new predator was.
Paleolithic peoples were primarily nomadic foragers (hunters and gatherers) who followed their food sources seasonally.
Women: Gathering, cooking, caring for children; perhaps provided the bulk of food and may have had a great deal of respect.
They lived in small bands large enough to protect each other from predators and divide labor but not so large that the food would be consumed too quickly.
Definition: learned patterns of action and expression that are deliberately passed on within societies via art, writing, and oral traditions (language).
Material objects such as dwellings, clothing, tools, crafts, art, etc.
Non-material ideas (i.e. values, beliefs, and languages).
Evidence for culture = the production of similar art or specialized tools spread over wide areas and vast amounts of time (i.e. the images in Chauvet Cave that were painted thousands of years apart.)
Univ. of New South Wales, Australia, 2015
"When we interpret historical artifacts, we are applying modern ideas to something created in an ancient context... Part of the problem is that we know so little about the wider human environments in which particular works were produced."
- A Complex History of Humankind (2014), 31-32.
Hundreds of carved "Venus" figurines have been found across Eurasia from Western Europe to Siberia.
What values and beliefs do you think the Venus figurines were meant to represent? Explain your reasoning.
No material artifacts exist to help us understand what Stone Age spoken language was like.
We can only hypothesize that language advanced first as people
migrated, and further once they began to create Neolithic farming settlements.
Rise of agriculture
Last Ice Age
60,000 - 20,000 BP
Flaked tools & "choppers" from volcanic stone
Multipurpose hand axe
Stone flaked tools; stone/bone tools; stone/wood tools for cutting, chopping, sawing, etc.
Africa, SE Asia, N. Europe:
Mastodons, mammoths, big cats, aurochs (giant cattle), bears...
Bison, camels, mastodons, sloths, giant cats...
What is the relationship between the environment and culture?
How did language, culture, and technological innovation differentiate humans from their ancestors and contribute to the development of early societies?
What is culture and how does it make us human?
Why is the introduction of agriculture so important, and how did it affect human society?
"The Past is definitely lost. We will never reconstruct the past, we can only create a representation of what exists now."
- Julien Monney
Unlike animals, who rely on instinct, humans are able to accumulate and build upon knowledge, something that accounts for the rapid acceleration of technology.
The ability to adapt technologically allowed humans to adapt and survive in diverse environments:
Examine the Early, Middle, and Late Stone Age Tools Here.
What do you notice about the evolution of those tools over time?
Ice Age Smilodon
The number of modern human communities multiplied and flourished by spreading all over the world and adapting to a range of environments.
However, the total population may only have risen from a few hundred thousand to a few million during the Paleolithic.
Humans attracted animals by burning vegetation to encourage new growth.
Mass extinctions followed in their wake:
Wooly mammoth – Eurasia
Giant wombats and emus – Australia
Saber-toothed cats – Americas
Hunting-gathering were not all-consuming activities.
Paleolithic people also had time to create art, music, tools, and engage in other forms of cultural expression.
How do climate and environment influence modern life and culture?
(If stuck, consider the impact of the environment on your daily life.)
Review your notes from the video, reading, and lecture.
How has the environment impacted everything from survival to gender roles and cultural production?
Paleolithic Rock Art
Images that are scratched, etched, or pecked into a rock surface.
Images painted onto a rock surface.
Rock Art Terminology
How is rock art dated?
What obstacles exist in terms of accurately dating this evidence?
Find the answers at:
Step 1: Visual Analysis
As you examine the groupings of art on the walls reflect on similarities and differences or any notable features you see.
Step 1: Visual Analysis, con't.
With your group mates, visually analyze the four case studies using our protocol:
EVIDENCE: what you can identify and describe (the color, shape, size, number, etc.) of the images and surrounding environment.
CONCLUSION: infer what it is that you are seeing.
SIGNIFICANCE: what it is that the image and your conclusions tell us about the life and culture of the Paleolithic peoples who created it.
QUESTIONS: questions about the meaning of the art or about the contextual information that would need in order to better understand what you are seeing.
What to Write:
Step 2: Contextualize
Research the following:
When were the images created?
Where are the images located, and what is the surrounding environment?
What conclusions have anthropologists and archaeologists made about how the art may be interpreted and/or their significance to our understanding of pre-historic peoples?
How does the addition of context modify or deepen your understanding of the art and its purpose?
Step 3: Compare
Using a T-Chart, compare and contrast the art and the information you have gleaned in your research.
What might be the significance of the similarities? What might the similarities tell us about the purpose of Paleolithic art?
What might explain the differences that you identified? Why are the differences significant?
Things to consider: what is depicted, techniques employed, time of creation, environments, conclusions/interpretations about the art.
Step 4: Reflect
What do you think these images tell us about the peoples that created them?
Based on your examination of the art, and our prior work, what do you think is the relationship between culture and environment?
Writing Workshop: Thesis Machine
"A Day in the Life of Adam and Eve"
1) p. 40-45: What specific issues make current anthropological observation a problematic source of historical evidence?
2) p. 45-49: What do the scant sources of evidence tell us about the lives of early Homo sapiens?
3) p. 49-53: What were the advantages and disadvantages of foraging lives?
4) p. 58-62: How can we find out about interactions between early Homo sapien societies?
In your groups, answer with an image/symbol AND bullet points of 5 words or less:
What is Anthropology?
1. Discuss with a partner.
2. Research a definition.
3. Pick a Color-Symbol-Image combo that best represents the discipline of Anthropology to you.
The study of human societies and cultures, often with a focus on how they interact with/are shaped by their environment
"A Day in the Life of Adam and Eve"
1) p. 40-45
2) p. 45-49
3) p. 49-53
4) p. 58-62
In your groups, read and annotate the following pages: