Monday, January 21, 2013

Geography of Ancient Mesopotamia

Geography of Ancient Mesopotamia
Not far from the sites of the ancient farming settlements of Jericho and C^atal Huyiik rose some of the world's first cities. Fertile soil and twin waterways combined to provide the setting for early urban, or city growth in southwestern Asia. For centuries historians have referred to the area of southwestern Asia's first cities as the Fertile Crescent.

The land between two Rivers
The name Fertile Crescent describes the land found there. On a map the Fertile Crescent appears to be shaped somewhat like a crescent moon. Fertile refers to the rich soil found in parts of the region.

The Fertile Crescent of ancient days included parts of what are now the countries of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel. Bordering this region on the west is the Mediterranean Sea. On its southeastern edge lies the Persian Gulf. To the northwest are the Taurus Mountains. The Zagros (ZAH»gruhs) Mountains tower over the Fertile Crescent in the east.

Cutting through the region are two rivers, the Euphrates (yoo»FRAY»teez) and the Tigris. Between these rivers lies the region's richest soil. This fertile land area has long been known as Mesopotamia, "the land between the rivers."

The northern part of Mesopotamia is a plateau, or high, flat area of land. The southern part is an alluvial plain, or low, flat land formed from fine soils deposited by rivers.

The soil of ancient Mesopotamia was dry, the climate was hot, and the rivers were unpredictable. The region also provided few different kinds of natural resources. The earliest people of the area found life there a challenge. Living as hunter-gatherers was a constant fight for survival.

Perhaps it was these challenges that led early people to turn to farming and to build settlements. Early people had to find a better way to get food in the hot, dry region. Caring for wild plants and growing their own plants seemed to be their best chance for survival. Although harsh, the region had what settlers needed to survive: water, and land on which food can grow.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Architecture and Religious Beliefs in Ancient Mesopotamia

Architecture and Religious Beliefs
The largest building in most Sumerian cities was a huge mud-brick temple called a ziggurat (ZIH»guh»rat). Some ziggurats stood as tall as a seven-story building. They towered above the houses like skyscrapers. To build such a large building required both ^    planning and teamwork skills.

Builders constructed a ziggurat in layers, each one smaller than the one below. On the top of each ziggurat stood a shrine for the city's special god. Like other ancient people, the Sumerians believed in many gods.

The religious beliefs of the Sumerian people showed the importance of agriculture in their lives. They believed that if they pleased their gods, they would get large harvests in return. Floods and other natural disasters, they thought, were signs that the gods were angry with them. Chief among the gods of Sumer were Enlil, the god of wind, storm, and rain, and Ea, the god of the waters and of wisdom.

In time a ziggurat became more than a shrine for a god. The people in Sumer built smaller buildings around the base of the ziggurat. Some of these buildings had workshops for craftworkers. Other buildings were temples. The ziggurat was the center of activity in each city.

How did religion in Sumer reflect the importance of agriculture?

Civilization in Mesopotamia

Civilization in Mesopotamia
The world's earliest cities formed in Mesopotamia. As people began to live and work together in these cities, they formed a complex society, or civilization. A civilization is a centralized society with developed forms of religion, ways of governing, and learning. A civilization also depends on a stable food supply and on division of labor. Along with its many advances, city life also brought new problems.

The need arose to find creative ways to solve them.

New Inventions
Farmers in the southern part of Mesopotamia, which was called Sumer (SOOmer), used the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to water their crops. But when these rivers flooded the land without warning, the results could be disastrous. For people who depended on agriculture, the loss of crops meant starvation.

Using their knowledge of irrigation, farmers in Sumer built dikes and dug canals. Dikes, or walls made of earth, held the flooding rivers within their banks. Canals carried some of the extra water back to the rivers after floods. Reservoirs stored the remaining floodwater. Building dikes, canals, and reservoirs took special knowledge of making and using tools. The skills and knowledge to make products or meet goals is called technology. By about 3500 B.C. the early settlers of Sumer developed the technology to carry out successful agriculture and to build cities.

The technology of Sumer was greatly advanced by the use of the wheel, which may have been invented by an earlier people. Farmers in Sumer made their wheels by attaching boards together and rounding them off. To make the wheels last longer, the Sumerians covered the rims with pieces of copper.

Wheel technology made possible other inventions, including the wheeled cart.

With a wheeled cart, a domesticated animal such as an ox or a donkey could pull a heavy load. Wheeled carts were needed to move construction materials for houses and other buildings in Sumer's growing cities. To help them move goods and travel, the Sumerians also built some of the world's first sailboats.

What were two inventions that helped Sumerian people move things?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Formulate Generalization Skills

Formulate Generalization

1 • Why Learn This Skill?
Sometimes the same kind of event happens to you over and over again. When this occurs, you can make a general statement about the cause or the effect of the event.

For example, suppose you usually had a good breakfast in the morning. Three times, though, you skipped breakfast. On those days you did not seem to have enough energy. Based on your experiences, you could make this general statement:

Whenever you don't have a good breakfast, you feel tired all day.

This kind of statement is called a generalization. A generalization is a summary statement made about a group of related ideas. By making generalizations you can describe events or relationships and tell how they are alike.

Generalizations can be true, but they can also be false. A true generalization is based on a list of facts. False generalizations are based on an incomplete list of facts.

Generalizations are useful because they can treat many ideas as one simple idea. They may also find similarities in ideas that at first seem different. Suppose that you stayed up late and were too tired the next day to do your best on a science test. Your friend, kept awake by noise, did poorly in math that same day.

On the surface these examples seem different because they are about different problems. Both have something in common, though. In each case a student didn't get enough sleep and didn't do his or her best work at school. You could make a generalization and say, People don't do their best work when they haven't had enough sleep.

2.    Remember What You Have Read
Soon you will have a chance to write a generalization based on what you read about in Skara Brae: The Story of a Prehistoric Village. To prepare for writing a generalization about what you have read, answer these questions:

•    What materials did the people of Skara Brae use to build houses? Where did they get those materials?
•    What did they eat at first? Where did they get that food?
•    What did they use as fuel? Where did they get that fuel?

3.    Understand the Process
To formulate a generalization, use the following steps:
  1. List the facts or events.
  2. Think about how the facts or events are alike.
  3. Write a sentence that makes a general statement linking the facts or events.
  4. Test your generalization. Make sure it is true for most things that might happen.

Now look at your answers from Remember What You Have Read. Think about ways in which all your answers are related. Then following the steps on page 80, think of a generalization that explains how the people of Skara Brae met their basic needs. Your generalization might be: People in simple societies met their basic needs by using materials from the environment around them.

4.    Think and Apply
How do people today meet their basic needs? How do they get housing materials, food, and fuel? Develop a generalization based on these questions. Test your generalization to make sure it is true. Discuss your generalization with those developed by other students.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Working with Water in Ancient Mesopotamia

Working with Water
Flowing through the Fertile Crescent, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers played an important role in shaping the lives of the people who lived nearby The Euphrates is a slow, winding river with few tributaries, or branches. With its many curves, it stretches out for 1,250 miles (2,012 km). Unlike the Euphrates, the Tigris River moves rapidly along its 1,720-mile (2,768 km) course and has many tributaries.

The source of both rivers is high in the Taurus Mountains. The rivers flow downward through Mesopotamia's plateau to its area of plains. Finally the rivers join together and flow into the Persian Gulf.

The two rivers helped make it possible for early settlers to survive on the land alongside them. The two rivers often overflowed their banks, flooding the land. When the floodwaters drained back into the river, a layer of silt, a rich mixture of bits of rock and soil, remained. The silt made the land suitable for growing crops.
The Tigris and Euphrates rivers enriched the soil, but they could not be counted on to water the farmers' crops. Unfortunately, the rivers seldom flooded at the time farmers really needed water when crops were first planted. In addition, it hardly ever rained over the land between the rivers, particularly in the south. Droughts, or long times with little or no rain, were common. During these times, the sun baked and hardened the clay soil.

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers provided a likely source for water. Farmers needed some way to get water to the land.

To get river water to their fields at just the right time, farmers had to learn to tame the Tigris and the Euphrates. To do this, they developed a system of irrigation. Irrigation is the use of connected ditches, canals, dams, and dikes to move water to dry areas. Irrigation allowed water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to be stored and used when needed. Farmers could now water their crops during dry months.

Irrigation also helped farmers prevent and control flooding. Exactly when the rivers would flood had always been impossible to predict. Often, the floods caught the early settlers completely by surprise. When the rivers did flood, the rush of water  destroyed not only crops but shelters as well. Entire villages could be swept away. Sometimes many lives were lost. Irrigation allowed settlers to protect their villages.

The canals and ditches carried away flood- waters that would have otherwise brought destruction.

What is irrigation and how did it affect the people of Mesopotamia?

Farming in Ancient Mesopotamia

Farming in Mesopotamia
At the ruins of the city of Nippur in Mesopotamia, archaeologists found ancient clay tablets that tell about farming long ago. The tablets explain how farmers raised such crops as barley, wheat, and a wheat-like grain called emmer. Each spring farmers harvested their crops. After harvesting they threshed, or separated, the grain from the husk, or outer shell, of the plant. Threshing continued throughout the summer.

Besides the main crops planted in fields, farmers grew vegetables such as onions and cucumbers in gardens. Their orchards produced fruits such as figs and apples.
Fields not suited for crops were used for grazing animals. On these fields shepherds herded goats, sheep, and cattle. These domesticated animals provided meat, milk products, and wool. Eventually the early people of Mesopotamia also used horses, camels, donkeys, and other animals to help them in their work.

What important crops were grown in ancient Mesopotamia?

Early Agriculture Diversity in Stone Age

Diversity in Early Agriculture
Around the world early people domesticated a wide variety of plants and animals. Agriculture in southwestern Asia was based on growing wheat and barley and on raising sheep, goats, and cattle. In the Nile Valley in northern Africa, farmers raised wheat, barley, sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs. Far to the east, people settling the river valleys of present-day Pakistan and China raised grains such as rice and millet and kept pigs, chickens, and water buffaloes.

In the Americas early farmers also began growing crops. Farmers in what is now southern Mexico grew chili peppers, squash, and other vegetables. In the mountain valleys of what is now Peru, farmers raised beans and chili peppers. Potatoes were a major crop in what is now Bolivia. Later, Native Americans would also grow maize, or corn. Maize would be important throughout American history.

At its beginning, agriculture simply offered another way besides hunting and gathering for people to subsist, or survive. Once people began to depend on farming for their subsistence, they were less likely to move. They needed to stay near their fields so that they could care for the crops. In many places, agriculture gradually led to year- round villages and more complex societies.

What were the main food crops raised in northern Africa? in the Americas? in southwestern Asia?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Use a Parallel Time Line Skills

Use a Parallel Time Line

1.    Why Learn This Skill?
Just as maps help you understand where something happened, time lines help you understand when something happened. Time lines let you put events in sequence.
Some time lines are simple to read and understand. Others, such as the one below, are more difficult. It is important to look at complex time lines carefully to be sure you understand them fully.

2.    Think About Time Lines
The time line you see on this page is a parallel time line. It is really several time lines in one. Parallel time lines are useful if you want to show related events. You could show when the same kind of events happened in different areas. Or you could also show events that happened in different places at the same time.

Each section of this parallel time line is divided into spans of 2,000 years, begging 8000 B.C. and ending at A.D. 2000.

The abbreviation B.C. stands for "before Christ." A.D. stands for anno Domini, a Latin phrase meaning "in the year of the Lord." This abbreviation tells how many years have passed since the birth of Jesus Christ. Some time lines are labeled B.C.E. and C.E. rather than B.C. and A.D. The abbreviation B.C.E. stands for "before the Common Era" and C.E. stands for "Common Era." The terms B.C.E. and C.E. refer to the same years as B.C. and A.D.

No one knows exactly when some events happened long ago. Therefore, a date on a time line sometimes is approximate, or not exact. This usually means that the earliest evidence, or proof, is from about that time. Approximate times are often shown after the Latin term circa, or c., its abbreviation. The term circa means "about."

The time line on page 70 shows when agriculture developed during the Stone Age in different geographic regions. The Stone Age is divided into two parts. The Paleolithic period, or Old Stone Age, is the time before 8000 B.C. The Neolithic period, or New Stone Age, is the time from 8000 B.C. to as late as the present day. j    During the Paleolithic period, all people were hunters and gatherers. During the Neolithic period, people began to domesticate plants and animals.

3.    Understand the Process
Look down the left-hand side of the time line. Find the top bar labeled Africa. What is the first date that is highlighted on the top bar? If you said 6000 B.C., you are right. Under that date are the words Northern Africa. This means that agriculture began in northern Africa about 6000 B.C. Now look at the other bars on the time line. In which regions of the world did people develop agriculture at about the same time?

4.    Think and Apply
Make a parallel time line comparing important events in your life with events in the lives of family members or friends. Make sure that your time line has a bar for each person and a title. Write three questions for a classmate to answer using your time line.

The following suggestions will help you make your time line:
•    Identify the events you want to show.
•    Determine the length of time over which the events took place.
•    Make the time line, divide it into equal parts, and mark the years on it.
•    Add the events you want to display. It is always a good idea to double-check the dates of events to be sure your information is accurate.
•    Give your time line a title that explains its contents.

Skara Brae: The Story of a Prehistoric Village

Skara Brae
The Story of a Prehistoric Village
written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea
Skara Brae was an early farming village on an island off northern Scotland. Shortly before 2400 B.C. a sudden storm covered the village in sand. It remained covered for more than 4,200 years. Then, in A.D. 1850, a powerful windstorm stripped the sand from the dunes and uncovered the stone walls of the village. What archaeologists know about life in Skara Brae comes from studying the stone huts and the objects the early people left behind. Through careful study of this evidence, archaeologists were able to piece together the story of this village of long ago.

Read now about what life may have been like in Skara Brae and in other farming villages long ago. Think about how life in these early settlements compared with life in hunter- gatherer societies and with our lives today.

By 3500 B.C. farmers and herders had reached a group of islands to the north of Scotland the Orkneys.

They found the Orkneys an ideal place to live. There were gently rolling hills, open grasslands for their sheep and cattle, and wide, sand-fringed bays. The islands had no predatory animals that would attack their livestock. It was a good area to settle.
Orkney was a strange place to these early settlers. They were accustomed to trees and forests. In Orkney there were far fewer trees.

But though there was very little wood, there was plenty of fuel. Mosses and other plants had decayed in bogs to form peat. The peat could be burned like coal. The settlers could keep warm and cook their meat around a peat fire.

Most of all, there was a great abundance of stone on the islands. Stones were everywhere on the beaches, on the grasslands, and on the hills. The herders and farmers chose these stones to build their permanent homes and monuments.
In time the Orkneys became more populated. New masses of migrating people reached their shores. Several generations of settlers came and went, and some ventured off to the smaller and less populated islands.

One band of settlers, seeking better grazing land for their animals, moved farther out on the main island. Making their way to the farthest west coast, they explored the land for a suitable place to live.

As they marched northward along the rugged cliffs and inlets, they came to a Orkney was a strange place to these early settlers. They were accustomed to trees and forests. In Orkney there were far fewer trees.

beautiful wide bay the Bay of Skaill. There were sand dunes, open grassland, and no other settlers to compete for the land's resources. It was here the band decided to make their new home.

There were twenty people in the group: four small families. Together they owned a flock of sheep, a small herd of cattle, and a few pigs.

After surveying the land around the bay, they chose the southwest corner in which to erect their temporary shelters. The women and older children put up the tents, using wooden poles they had brought with them. These tents made of skins would protect them from rain and wind.

It was the task of the older children to tend the livestock, even though the animals mostly fended for themselves and found food wherever they could.

During this period, settlers lived off their animals. To their diet of meat and milk they added wild foods foraged1 from the land and sea birds and eggs, fish, shellfish such as limpets,2 and wild grains. The men sometimes brought in the meat of deer and other wild animals as well.

Through the summer, autumn, and winter the band continued to live in their tents. During the winter months they started construction of a new village that would have proper houses for all the families.

While they built the permanent stone houses, everyone worked. The men gathered the larger stones needed for the foundations and walls. The women and children also gathered stones to be used in the construction of the huts.

Everyone worked together on all the houses. One partly completed house was used as a shelter for the cattle, sheep, and pigs. The band continued to live off their animals as well as the land and sea.

There were plenty of stones on the beach around the bay, and collecting them went quickly. The stones could be easily split to make straight, uniform surfaces for building.

The houses were small when completed, measuring only twelve feet long by six to nine feet wide in the interior. The plan of each house was basically square, with rounded corners. In one of the corners, there was a small, beehive-shaped cell, used either for storage or as a latrine.4

The walls were built by piling stone upon stone. A few feet above the floor the stones began to project a little toward the inside of the hut. This overlapping construction is called corbelling.5

Each hut was big enough to allow room for a central hearth,6 a stone bed set into the wall on either side of the hearth, and a stone dresser built into the rear wall.
The mother and small    the children slept in the bed to the left of the hearth; the father slept in the bed to the right.
The stone beds were filled with heather7 and skins, making them comfortable and warm for sleeping.

There were one or two small recesses for keeping personal possessions in the wall above each bed.

Within a few weeks the little huts were completed.
And so began the occupation of the village. It was around 3100 B.C.
As they went about the routine of their daily life, the villagers allowed their refuse to pile up against the outside walls of their huts. Shells, broken bones, fragments of pottery, sand, and everything no longer used was heaped around the structures.

This refuse, called midden, helped to insulate the huts. It kept the cold winds from blowing through the chinks in the stones. Over the years these midden heaps mixed with sand and became a claylike covering from which grass grew.

The exterior of the cairn was covered with earth, and in time grass grew over it. It looked like a hill in the landscape.

There was also time for the villagers to practice their various crafts. The women made pottery. Sometimes they made engraved or raised designs on their pots. But the people of Skara Brae, unlike many Neolithic peoples, were not especially skilled at this craft.

The men spent hours carving strange, intricate patterns on stone balls.
The teeth and bones from sheep, cattle, and whales were used to make beautiful beads and necklaces.

For a long time the life of Skara Brae continued uninterrupted. Then, around 2400 B.C., when the village had settled into its way of life, a terrible catastrophe occurred that caused it to be abandoned forever.

As the villagers went about their daily tasks of collecting food and tending their herds or practicing their crafts, a sudden and violent storm arose. The storm came so unexpectedly and with such severity that the inhabitants fled without being able to collect all their belongings.

In her haste to escape, one woman broke her string of beads as she squeezed through the narrow doorway of her hut. The necklace fell to the floor of the passageway, and there it remained.

In another hut an old man was gnawing a choice bit of mutton when the storm took him by surprise. He dropped the bone by his bed and fled the hut in panic.

Then the wind-driven sands quickly filled all the stone huts burying the necklace and the half-eaten bone for the ages.

The storm raged with a fury the villagers had never experienced before. They fled the village in blind terror.

The sea pounded in the bay, and to the prehistoric people of Skara Brae it must have seemed that the world was coming to an end.

The villagers abandoned their village in the hilly dunes. Several times a small number of them returned and camped under the remaining exposed walls of the huts. And then they never returned again. Over the centuries the sand continued to drift in, until nothing was visible.

Although the name Skara Brae remained, memory of the village itself vanished.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Agriculture and Farming in Stone Age

Effects of Change
Agriculture, the raising of domesticated plants and animals, changed human societies forever. Agriculture provided a reliable food source. In fact, agriculture allowed farmers to grow more food than they needed. This extra amount could be traded for other resources the farmers needed or wanted.

As early people turned to agriculture, the size of their communities began to grow. With more food available, more people could live in one place.

As the size of societies increased, not everyone needed to spend the day farming. Because of this, a division of labor began. Different members of a society were able to do different tasks based on their abilities and the group's needs. Some people still farmed, but others made tools, sewed hides for clothing, or built shelters. Still others served as leaders.

The leaders of farming societies made important decisions for the community. Duties may have included deciding what crops to plant, where to plant them, and who would care for them. Leaders may have also been responsible for deciding how much food would be used at certain times. Leaders might have also come up with ways to protect their community against the dangers of nature or other people.

One common means of protection was the building of walls. Some societies built walls around their villages to prevent attacks from other societies. Others built walls to keep floodwaters from reaching their settlements. One of the oldest known walled villages was built at a site in southwestern Asia known today as Jericho. The people lived in mud-brick huts grouped inside stone walls. The village walls were 20 feet (6.1 m) high and 6 feet (1.8 m) thick.

The ruins of another early farming community can be found in present-day Turkey. This community is known today as Catal Huyuk (chat»AHL hoo»YOOK). As many as 6,000 people lived side by side in ancient Qatal Huyuk. The community of Qatal Hiiyiik looked more like a sprawling apartment complex than a village. Its people built mud houses right next to each other. They came into and left their homes through holes in the roof. To reach the holes, residents used ladders. Outside the village in every direction lay the farmers' fields.

Agriculture made more food available, but it also brought new concerns. Farmers faced threats to their crops such as insects, plant disease, and flooding. When crops failed for any reason, the whole community suffered. In addition, the need for fertile soil on which to grow crops caused some fights over land.

Sometimes the ways in which early people farmed had consequences for their environment, or surroundings. For example, many farmers cleared land for crops by cutting and burning the wild plants that grew there. Although new crops could be grown, wild plants that supported herds of wild animals were lost. Also, after years of growing the same crops, the land was no longer fertile. It could not be used for a period of time. Many early societies were often unaware of such consequences. It took farming communities a long time to learn the best ways to farm and to raise livestock.

What were some advantages and disadvantages of agriculture?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Early Farmers in Stone Age

Early Farmers
Aearly societies grew, many bands of early people :ound that they could no longer depend on hunting and gathering for their needs. This method did not always bring in enough food. For a more steady supply of food, some early societies began to change from food collecting to food producing growing crops and raising animals.

Producing Food
About 10,000 years ago some hunter-gatherer societies began to produce some of their food. This change meant that people no longer depended just on what they could find or hunt. Instead, people learned to domesticate plants and animals. To domesticate living things means to tame them for people's use.

Women probably did most of the food gathering in early societies and may have been the first to domesticate plants. They probably began this process as they cared for wild plants. They learned that seeds from fully grown plants produced new plants. As time passed, they most likely began planting seeds from carefully selected wild plants.

They chose seeds from plants that were plentiful, grew fast, and tasted good. Over time some societies came to depend less on wild plants and more on crops grown in small gardens by early farmers. Wheat and barley were among the first crops to be domesticated. Growing crops also meant staying in one place, however. Planting, caring for, and harvesting crops took many months.

Once the crops were harvested, they needed to be stored. Early farming societies built year-round shelters and grew crops on the land around their small villages.

Their economy the way people use resources to meet their needs became based mainly on their crops.

No one place can claim to be the birthplace of farming. Farming started independently at different times in different parts of the world.

Early people in southwestern Asia, southeastern Asia, northern Africa, and South America all made the shift to farming without learning about it from elsewhere in the world. In each part of the world, word of farming passed from one person to another.

The shift to farming did not happen suddenly either. The change from a hunting-and gathering society to a farming society took place over a long period of time. Animals remained an important resource. Some societies that farmed also continued to hunt. At the same time, people began to domesticate some animals. Dogs had long been tamed and used for hunting. Now people began to domesticate wild sheep and goats as well. These newly domesticated animals provided a ready supply of meat, milk, and wool. Some early people came to depend less on raising crops and more on raising livestock. The term livestock refers to domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep, and pigs.

Some of the early people who cared for livestock were nomads, people with no settled home. They moved from place to place with their herds to find pasture and water. Like hunting-and-gathering nomads, those who herded livestock did not build year-round settlements. Instead, they lived in temporary shelters and traveled in bands.

In settled societies herders and farmers grew to depend on one another. Each raised something that the other did not. Together they worked to supply their society with important resources.

Not all people took up a new way of life as farmers or herders. Some went on hunting and gathering their food. Even today, a few small groups of people still meet their needs by hunting and gathering. These groups live much the same way as their ancestors did thousands of years ago.

What major change took place in the way early people got their food supply?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Use Latitude and Longitude Skills

Use Latitude and Longitude

1 • Why Learn This Skill?
When you study world history it is important to know exactly where places in the world are located. To show location, mapmakers use imaginary lines called lines of latitude and lines of longitude. These lines are drawn as a grid on maps and globes. This grid is much like the grids that archaeologists use to divide their dig sites. Archaeologists' grids help people know where artifacts were found. Similarly, grids of lines of latitude and longitude help you know where places are on Earth.

2.    Lines of Latitude
The lines that run east and west on a map or globe are lines of latitude.
Lines of latitude are also called parallels (PAIR»uh»lelz) because they are parallel, or always the same distance from each other. Parallel lines never meet.
Lines of latitude are measured in degrees north and south from the equator, which is labeled 0°, or zero degrees. Parallels north of the equator are marked N for north latitude. This means they are in the Northern Hemisphere. Parallels south of the equator are marked S for south latitude. This means they are in the Southern Hemisphere. The greater the number of degrees a parallel is, the farther north or south of the equator it is.

3.    Lines of Longitude
The lines that run north and south on a map or globe are lines of longitude. Lines of longitude are also called meridians.

Each meridian runs from the North Pole to the South Pole. Unlike parallels, which never meet, meridians meet at the poles. Meridians are farthest apart at the equator.
Meridians are numbered in much the same way as parallels. The meridian marked 0° is called the prime meridian.

It runs north and south through Greenwich near London in Britain. Lines of longitude west of the prime meridian are marked W for west longitude. They are in the Western Hemisphere. The meridians to the east of the prime meridian are marked E for east longitude. They are in the Eastern Hemisphere. The Eastern and Western hemispheres meet at the 180° meridian.

The 180° meridian runs exactly opposite to the prime meridian.

4 • Understand the Process
The map on page 63 shows some sites throughout the world where prehistoric art has been found. The map has both lines of latitude and lines of longitude drawn over it. These lines overlap each other to form a grid. The crossing lines of latitude and longitude make it possible to describe absolute, or exact, location.

Look at the map of Ancient Art Sites carefully. It shows every twentieth line 9    of latitude and every twentieth line of longitude. At either side of the map, find the line of latitude marked 40°S. Near the bottom of the map, find the line of longitude marked 60°W. Trace these lines with your fingers to the point where they Perito Moreno is not far from this point. Perito Moreno lies halfway between 20°S and 40°S and just east of 60°W. Using this information, you could say that the absolute location of Perito Moreno is 30°S, 58°W.

5 • Think and Apply
Use the map and what you
already know about latitude and longitude
to answer these questions:

A.    Which sites shown on the map lie between 0° and 40°E?
B.    Which line of latitude is closest to Monument Valley?
C.    Which site lies between 40°N and 60°N?
D.    Which line of longitude is closest to Lake Mungo?
E.    Which site is closest to the prime meridian? Which sites are closest to the equator?

Spreading Through the World in Stone Age History

Spreading Through the World
As some bands grew in number, they had to roam farther from their usual hunting- and-gathering grounds to find enough food. Each new generation expanded the band's migration pattern. Some experts believe that just two or three miles (3.2 to 4.8 km) were added every 20 years the average length of an early person's life.

By this slow process, humans began to spread throughout the world. It probably took hundreds of generations thousands of years to do this!

For a long time, Homo sapiens lived only in Africa. Gradually, some bands began moving farther north as they hunted and gathered. In time, bands had traveled across the dry grasslands of the Sahara, into the Nile Valley, and then into southwestern Asia. This movement of people set the stage for the settlement of the entire world. Between 12,000 and 100,000 years ago, the descendants of the earliest African bands spread to Asia, Europe, Australia, and finally to the Americas.

Much of this settlement was made possible by the last Ice Age. An Ice Age is a long period of bitter cold. In the distant past, the Earth had several Ice Ages. The last Ice Age began about 115,000 years ago and ended about 10,000 years ago.

During each Ice Age, huge sheets of ice called glaciers covered parts of the Earth's surface. Because much of the ocean was ice, sea level was nearly 300 feet (90 m) lower than it is today. This meant that there was more dry land than there is now. Land bridges connected some islands and continents. Early people were able to use the land bridges to travel between places that are now divided by water.

Some archaeologists believe that early hunters and gatherers first set foot in southwestern Asia about 100,000 years ago.

There they found herds of gazelle and deer. Following these herds, generation after generation of early people spread out in many directions.

By about 65,000 years ago, hunters and gatherers had traveled all the way east in Asia to the land now known as China. Later generations followed land bridges to what is now Indonesia. From there, men, women, and children paddled log rafts across the open ocean to Australia. People probably reached this continent by 50,000 years ago.

Early people also moved in other directions. About 40,000 years ago some groups of people spread from southwestern Asia into Europe. Others migrated to the northeast, following herds of wild animals. They reached what is now Siberia in Russia about 35,000 years ago. There they faced a harsh environment as they adapted to life in the tundra, or large treeless plains found in Arctic regions. Archaeologist Goran Burenhult describes early life in Siberia's tundra this way:

The hunters who inhabited these immense, frozen, and treeless expanses had to cover vast territories in pursuit of game and other food. There were few caves and rock shelters for protection, so they had to build huts that could withstand the severe cold.

The bitter cold of the tundra made life difficult for the early people of Siberia.
They needed to keep fires burning almost all the time to stay warm. Also, their clothes had to fit snugly to prevent them from freezing. The huts they built were made of sod a layer of soil with grass growing from it and mammoth bones. Mammoths were large, hairy elephants with long tusks. Early people used mammoth bones not only for building but also for fuel and tools. Other parts of the mammoth gave the early Siberians food to eat and hides for clothing.

The migration of early people did not stop in Siberia. Bands moved east from Siberia over a land bridge that crossed the Bering Strait, a shallow sea between Asia and North America. Between 12,000 and 40,000 years ago, early people moved into North America. Eventually some hunter- gatherers reached South America.

What effect did the movement of early people have on the world?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Early Cultures and Societies in Stone Age

Early Cultures and Societies
All early people hunted animals and gathered wild plants. However, each group had its own unique culture. A culture is a way of life. A group's culture is made up of its beliefs, customs, language, and arts.

In part, early cultures varied because of each group's location and available resources. Each culture lived in a unique place. This led each culture to make different kinds of clothing, live in different kinds of shelters, and make different kinds of artifacts, including tools. For example, in the far north of Europe, individuals may have carved tools from reindeer antlers. People in the ancient Americas may have used caribou or elk antlers and bones. Ancient people living in rocky areas may have made great use of stones for tools.

Early cultures also varied because each was made up of unique individuals, all with their own ideas. Different cultures, therefore, came up with different solutions to problems and different ways to meet their needs.

Over time, all cultures change. New ideas and new ways of doing things cause some changes. Shifts in climate or changes in the land may affect a culture as well. Contact with other cultures also may lead people to change their way of life.

The increased use of language helped early people further develop their own cultures. Older band members passed on customs and knowledge to younger members. The spoken word also helped people share new ideas, warn of dangers, and work together as a team. Language helped early people join together to become a society.

A society is an organized group of people living and working under a set of rules and traditions.
In some ways people today are very different from those who lived long ago. In other ways they are still much the same. Modern people look much like early Homo sapiens. It is the differences in society and culture that set them apart.

How is a culture different from a society?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Survival Skills in Stone Age

Survival Skills
Most of what we know about ancient Homo sapiens comes from the work of archaeologists and other scientists. To do their work, archaeologists choose a place where they believe humans once lived. This place is called a site.

When excavations are underway, a site is often referred to as a dig. At their site, archaeologists begin by tying string in a pattern of squares called a grid. Then they dig through the soil layer by layer. As they dig, they carefully sift through the dirt, looking for fossils and artifacts, or human-made objects.

Archaeologists record the square and the layer each fossil or artifact was found in. This important information will help them later as they examine their findings. A careful examination might reveal such information as a fossil's age or the purpose of a piece of pottery or other artifact.

One way that experts judge the age of fossils is through radiocarbon dating. Radiocarbon dating tells how much carbon remains in a once-living person, animal, or plant. All living things contain radioactive carbon. After death, however, the radioactive carbon begins to decay.

By measuring the amount of carbon left in a fossil, experts can identify its age. Radiocarbon dating can only be used for fossils 50,000 years old or younger.

Archaeologists and other scientists have uncovered many important facts about Homo sapiens. Like the early people before them, the first Homo sapiens lived together in bands. Usually the bands were made up of related families. About 20 people lived in each band. Band members worked together to meet their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Without such cooperation, individuals probably would not have survived.

The small bands spent many hours of their days searching for the food they needed to survive. Much of their diet consisted of wild fruits, nuts, roots, and seeds. They also caught and ate fish, turtles, birds, and small rodents. Experience taught them which plants and animals could be eaten without an unwanted consequence, or effect, such as illness.

These early people also hunted large animals. Many of these animals, such as giant oxen, woolly rhinoceroses, and the elephant-like mammoths, are now extinct, or no longer living. Other common prey, such as reindeer and bison, still exist. All these animals provided meat for food, bones for tools, and skins for clothing and shelter.

To kill large animals, early hunters needed special tools. Unlike Homo erectus, Homo sapiens made different kinds of tools for different needs. These people sharpened stones, animal bones, antlers, or tusks to make spears and knives for hunting. They also made needles for sewing animal skins together and hooks for fishing.

Because early bands were always on the move, they had no permanent year-round settlements. Instead, they set up seasonal camps in caves or rock shelters near places where plants and animals were plentiful. When food was no longer available in one place, bands moved on to the next place. Usually, bands traveled around a particular area as they searched for food. By following a regular seasonal pattern of migration, or movement from one place to another, bands of hunters and gatherers found enough to eat.

Why was cooperation important for early hunters and gatherers?

In 1856, workers digging for stone made an unusual discovery in a buried cave in Germany's Neander Valley. They found an odd-looking human skull along with leg and arm bones. Later, British biologist Thomas Huxley identified the discovery as an early Homo sapiens fossil, the first ever found. The fossil soon gained the name Neanderthal, after the valley in which it was found. Scientists now know that while Neanderthals are Homo sapiens, they are not our direct ancestors.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

First Footsteps and People of the Stone Age

People of the Stone Age

First Footsteps
Imagine digging through layers of rocks and sand to find out about people and places of the past. That is what scientists do to help us learn about the world's prehistory. Prehistory is history that happened before the invention of writing. To find out about prehistory experts must look at evidence, or proof, rather than written words. They must search for clues to piece together the puzzle of the distant past.

Fossil Finds
Many different kinds of scientists work to uncover facts about the past. Together, they find out how, where, and when early people lived. Among these detectives of the past are archaeologists and paleoanthropologists. Archaeologists locate and study the things left behind by people. Paleoanthropologists study the ancestors of modern people. They carefully look at fossils (FAH»suhlz), or remains of once-living things.

For more than 100 years, people have been searching for the fossils of early human ancestors, or hominids. In 1896 Eugene Dubois (dyoo»BWAH), a Dutch surgeon, dug beneath a river in Indonesia in southeastern Asia. He uncovered what he believed to be the remains of a human ancestor.

He named his find Homo erectus, meaning "human who stands upright." Other scientists laughed at Dubois's claims. However, in 1927 another hominid was found near Beijing, China.

At about the same time, a South African scientist named Raymond Dart found a still earlier human ancestor in his home country. He had unearthed fossils of an australopithecine (aw • stray • loh • PIH • thuh • syn). Later,more australopithecine fossils were found in southern Africa. Then, in 1959 Louis and Mary Leakey found australopithecine fossils at Olduvai (OHL«duh»vy) Gorge in Tanzania (tan»zuh»NEE»uh), eastern Africa.

Soon after these discoveries, the Leakeys found other early hominid fossils. One of these hominids appeared to have been round-headed and smallboned. Louis Leakey believed this hominid to be a direct ancestor of modern humans.

He named it Homo habilis (HAH»buh»lis), a Latin term meaning "handy person." He gave it this name because he also found stone tools nearby.

Louis and Mary Leakey's son Richard continued his parents' work. He has found dozens of hominid fossils while searching at Lake Turkana in northern Kenya. Among these are remains of Homo habilis from about 2.5 million years ago, the time when toolmaking began.

Other scientists have also made astonishing finds. Near the Awash (AH»wahsh) River in Ethiopia, paleoanthropologist Don Johanson unearthed a 3-million- year-old australopithecine. Johanson and his team nicknamed their find "Lucy."

"I just can't believe it!" Johanson cried out upon making his 1974 discovery of Lucy. He was surprised to find almost half of an ancient skeleton. Usually paleoanthropologists are not that fortunate. Often they find just a small piece of ancient life, such as a jawbone or part of an arm bone, as they excavate a site. Excavate means to uncover by digging.

In 1994 University of California scientist Tim White revealed that, while excavating in Ethiopia, he had found an even earlier australopithecine than Johanson's. This African hominid may have walked the Earth as much as 4.5 million years ago.

(Review) How have Don Johanson and the Leakeys contributed to the search for early hominids?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Early Ancestors and People of the Stone Age

Early Ancestors
From the discoveries of archaeologists, paleoanthropologists, and other scientists, we can begin to know what the distant past was like.

Many experts agree that the first hominids appeared south of the Sahara in Africa more than 3 million years ago.

By Lucy's time, several kinds of australopithecines lived in eastern Africa. All were mainly plant-eaters.

Most may also have eaten meat left over from lion kills.
By 2.5 million years ago, at least one larger-brained group of hominids lived in eastern Africa. These belonged to Homo habilis. Within 500,000 years they had spread throughout eastern Africa and into southern Africa. They usually traveled across open grasslands in search of food. As they traveled, they gathered and ate many different kinds of plants. In addition, they scavenged meat from lion and leopard kills. To cut the meat, they used stone choppers and knives, which they made by hitting two stones against each other.

About 1.9 million years ago Homo erectus also could be found in Africa. Homo erectus had greater brainpower than Homo habilis. Even so, Homo erectus probably could not make more than a few different sounds.

These early Africans were the first to tame fire. This action gave them a way to protect themselves against lions and other wild animals. It also allowed them to live in colder climates because they could use fire to keep themselves warm.

Like earlier hominids, Homo erectus survived by hunting and gathering. In time, hunting and gathering led bands, or small groups, of these hominids across Africa's Sahara and into Asia. Later, bands appeared throughout much of Asia and in Europe as well.

For more than 1.5 million years, Homo erectus flourished in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Life changed little for Homo erectus-except in Africa. On this continent the first modern humans began to appear by 200,000 years ago. These newcomers, Homo sapiens, would greatly affect the ways of life of Africa's Homo erectus.

Review How did controlling fire help Homo erectus?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hunters and Gatherers of Stone Age

Hunters and Gatherers
Most experts believe that Africa was not only the cradle of human ancestors but also the home of the world's first modern people-people like us. According to these experts, the earliest Homo sapiens lived in tropical Africa at least 200,000 years ago. By about 150,000 years ago, some Homo sapiens had migrated to the eastern and southern parts of Africa.

Homo erectus and Homo sapiens probably lived side by side for some time. Then Homo erectus died out while Homo sapiens continued to exist. Today all people on Earth are Homo sapiens. The name Homo sapiens means "wise human," and this tells us why Homo sapiens lived on. The early Homo sapiens had larger brains than the early hominids did. They were able to make better tools and communicate more easily using language.

Biography LUCY
The name Lucy might seem unusual for an ancient hominid. Don Johanson tells how Lucy got her name. At the time of the discovery, a tape recorder in Johanson's camp was playing the Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." As Johanson explains,

"At some point during that unforgettable evening . . . the new fossil picked up the name of Lucy, and has been so known ever since."

Back in the United States, Don Johanson and Tim White rebuilt Lucy's skeleton from tiny bone fragments. When she was alive, Lucy stood just about 4 feet high. She was 19 to 21 years old when she died. Lucy walked on two feet and probably spent much of her time in open country rather than in forests.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Mayas and Changing the Environment

Changing the Environment
Some archaeologists believe that the Mayan population may have grown to 14 million people by the end of the Classic period. There may have been as many as 500 people per square mile (200 per sq km) in some places. The ancient region where the Mayas lived could have been more crowded than present-day China.

Feeding such a large population took a lot of thought and planning. The Mayas had to find ways to use their tropical rain forest environment to meet their needs for food.
The ancient Mayas, like their modern descendants, cut and burned parts of the rain forest to provide land for growing crops. This slash-and-burn farming, however, can support only small communities. This is because the ashes fertilize the soil for no more than three years. Then the land must lie free of crops for several years until the soil regains the nutrients needed for growing plants.

As their population increased, the Mayas invented new ways to grow more crops. In swampy areas, they built raised fields. On hillsides, they made terraces, or ledges, they could use for farmland.

Like the Olmec farmers, Mayan farmers used intercropping to grow maize, beans, and squash in the same field. They also grew avocados, a starchy food called ramon, and cacao beans.

How did the Mayas produce enough food to support a large population in the rain forest?


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