The Beginnings of Civilization Chapter 1

The Beginnings of Human Society

Before and After Writing

history: the written and other recorded events of people

Prehistory: is the time before history was recorded

Archaeologist: scientists who examine objects to learn about the past.

Ice Man

Oral Tradition: stories passed on by word of mouth. Problem with oral tradition was the stories often changed with each retelling. Still without written word oral tradition is very important.


hominids: refer to both modern humans and earlier groups of humans.

Stone Age: a period during which hominids made long lasting tools mainly from stone.

Archeologist divide the Stone Age into three periods: Old Stone Age, Middle Stone Age and the New Stone Age. During the Old Stone Age humans did not know how to farm yet. They were hunters and gathers.

Fire: when early humans learned to create fire it allowed them to move to areas with colder climates.

Nomads: early humans moved to find their food this meant they had no settled home.

Early farming: in the New Stone Age humans began to grow their own food. They started by planting seeds and noticed that those seeds began to come back. They also began to raise live stock during this time.

Domestication: plants or wild animals adapt for human use.

Irrigation Trenches

Irrigation: Supplying land with water from another place using a network of canals.

Groups of people dig to make canals that will allow water to flow through and irrigate the growing crops. Dams were also created to to hold back spring floodwaters.

These and other farming techniques allowed for the creation of early communities. While farming was much harder then hunting and gathering, the hard work had far greater rewards. People began to have a steady supply of food year round. There began to be a surplus of food.

Surplus: more than what is needed.

The population grows: Scientists estimate that about 10,000 years ago the population of the world was about 5 million people by 7,000 years ago that number was almost 20 million.

Take a minute to discuss with your table why there was such rapid growth.

With a surplus of food, people were able to begin to try new jobs.

Artisan: a worker who is skilled in crafting items by hand; such as baskets, leather goods, tools, pottery or cloth.

Early Cities

Early cities grew up along rivers, such as the Nile in Egypt, the Tigris & Euphrates in Iraq, the Huang in China and the Indus in Pakistan. Cities grew up here because the soil was rich near the riverbeds.

Tigris River

Early cities were different from farming villages. Cities had public buildings, buildings to store surplus grain, buildings for worship and market places.

The First Civilizations

Civilizations: a society that has cities, a central government and workers who specialize in various jobs.

The Bronze Age: by 3000 B.C. artisans had learned to mix copper with tin to make bronze. Because bronze is much harder then copper the items that were made were more durable.

bronze tools

By 3500 B.C. the wheel and axle had been developed. With this development goods could be transported and the idea of trade between cities took off.

Social Class: a group of people having similar backgrounds.

Imagine you are a trader bringing goods to a cities create an ad trying to convince someone to buy your goods.


Created with images by jackmac34 - "algeria cave paintings ancient writing"

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