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The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History, Second Edition
Richard W. Bulliet, Pamela Kyle Crossley, Daniel R. Headrick, Steven W. Hirsch, Lyman L. Johnson, David Northrup
History WIRED

Chapter 1: Nature, Humanity, and History: The First Four Million Years


Chauvet-Pont-D'arc Cave
Click under "album" to view eighteen images of prehistoric art not discovered until 1994.

Human Evolution: The Fossil Evidence in 3-D
This site contains images of primate and fossilized skulls that can be rotated and viewed using Shockwave software.

Find images of fossilized skulls of proto-humans along with descriptions and timelines at this site.

The Mammoth Saga
A "virtual exhibition of mammoths and other animals, and plants of the ice ages is based on an exhibition held at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, from May 11 to September 18, 1994."

The Paleolithic Painted Cave of Lascaux
This site offers thirty-three images from the Cave of Lascaux, an excellent source of paleolithic art.  It also offers links to other Lascaux sites and examples of paleolithic cave art.

Cave of Lascaux: Virtual Reality
Click on the entrance to the cave for a superb three-dimensional presentation of the Cave of Lascaux.

Stone Pages
A comprehensive collection of images of megaliths in Western Europe.  Images of Stonehenge can be located in the "Stone Circles" of England.  The site also provides panoramic views of these prehistoric sites using Quicktime Software.

This site offers images and descriptions of current archaeological activity at the site of one of the world's oldest cities.  Most reports or newsletters that are hyperlinked include a variety of images dealing with multiple topics.  While locating specific topics may take a while, this site is comprehensive and continually updated.

Çatal Hüyük
Images, including several panoramic views, of ?atal Huyuk.  The site also includes links to other sources about the ancient city.

Archaic Art of Northern Africa: Saharan Rock Art
Images and descriptions of prehistoric rock art in Northern Africa.

Archaic Southern Africa: Rock Art
Images and descriptions of prehistoric rock art in Southern Africa.

Women in Prehistory: The "Venus" of Willendorf
A thorough description of the discovery of this famous object and its signficance as well as numerous images of the artifact can be found by exploring this site.

Activity One:

This chapter covers the longest span of time of any in The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition).  It explores the origins of the first hominids through the emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens.  To better comprehend this development go to Human Evolution: You Try It.  Click on the "Human Evolution Activity" and follow the instructions.  When completed, go to Hominid Species Timeline and click on each hyperlink.  When finished, make your own timeline that traces the origins of human beings, making sure to note dramatic developments.  For example, when did hominids spread to all continents?  When did they begin using tools?  What special advantages did newer species have that allowed for greater survivability?

Activity Two:

Another important distinction this chapter highlights is the transition from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic Eras in human history.  This transition is highlighted on pages 11-25 of The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition).
The last two paragraphs on page 11 explain the two terms.  As the authors stress, humans used tools in both eras, but did so for different purposes. The major difference between the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods lies in what tasks prehistoric humans were able to complete using these tools. Paleolithic humans were hunters and gatherers. Neolitithic humans were more likely farmers or herders. To understand better this shift in outlook, compare and contrast artifacts from each era that you observe at Paleolithic Art Page, The State Hermitage Museum: Neolithic Art and Anatolian Civilizations: Aceramic Neolithic-Neolithic 8000 - 5000BC. How are these artifacts representative of each time period? How do the tools or technology from each time period suggest different social organizations and economic enterprises? You might want to print out some of the images to enhance your argument.

Activity Three:

The authors of The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition) stress that changes in the earth's environment were largely responsible for the transition from paleolithic to neolithic organization. Go to The Geological Time Scale and identify the two environmental epochs or series in which Homo sapiens sapiens resided. For more infomation on these periods, see The Pleistocene and The Holocene and write a short definition of each term. To explore the impact of this transition in environmental conditions, go to The Late Pleistocene Extinctions and visit each hyperlink between the horizontal lines. Explain how the environmental changes between the Pleistocene and Holocene eras affected Homo sapiens sapiens. What influence did it have on the transformation of humans societies from paleolithic to neolithic characteristics?

Activity Four:

In 1991, hikers stumbled onto the remains of an "Iceman" in the Italian Alps. For further information, see "Environment and Technology: The Iceman," on page 15 of The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition). Also visit Discovery.com: Iceman from the Stone Age and read the text and observe the images linked from the first page. You might also choose to view the videos associated with each page. After reviewing this material, describe the life of this prehistoric man in a brief essay. Pay particular attention to how he and his community reacted to their enviroment. In other words, how was his community organized? How did they secure the food necessary for survival? What technology did they possess that helped them in this task? How did they address environmental problems such as harsh weather or lack of resources?