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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 3: The Late Bronze Age in the Eastern Hemisphere, 2200-500 B.C.E.


Physical Map of Asia

Contemporary Political and Physical Map of Asia

China: A View From Above

Physical Map of China

Contemporary Physical Map of China

Agricultural Regions of China

Shang Civilization, 1200 B.C.E.

Zhou Dynasty

Contemporary Political and Physical Map of Mediterranean Basin

Mediterranean Region: A View From Above

Contemporary Political and Physical Map of the Middle East

Eastern Mediterranean: Resources

Akhenaten's World: Maps

Contemporary Physical Map of Greece


Artifacts from Shang Dynasty Tombs
At this comprehensive site, explore the elaborate burial ritual for notable individuals of the Shang Dynasty.

Chinese Bronzes of the Shang Dynasty
This site offers detailed description of how this form of artwork was developed and what it signified to the people of the Shang Dynasty.

Henan Museum: Bronzes 
Most of these artifacts are from the Shang Dynasty period.  Be sure to allow the site to load fully before exploring.

Zhou Dynasty 
This site offers four examples of artwork from the Zhou period in Chinese History.

Oracle Bones
Click on the numbers to see numerous examples of these artifacts used for divination.

Shang Dynasty Oracle Bones 
Two good images of this ancient form of Chinese divination.

Ancient Egypt
This site provides numerous images of artifacts and artwork from the new kingdom.

Ancient Nile Valley: Kingdoms of Kerma and Punt 
Use these images to explore the influence of Egyptian civilization on the people to its south.

Pharaohs of the Sun
This site explores the life of the controversial ruler during the new kindgom period--Akhenaten.

Deir el-Bahari
This site offers numerous images of the tombs of several New Kingdom Egyptian Pharaohs.

Click on the links to the left for various images of this African civilization that was strongly influenced by the Egyptians.

Ancient Art of the Aegean: Crete and the Cycladic Islands 
Especially useful at this site is its link to images from the famous Palace of Knossos built during the Minoan Period.

Images from the Palace of Knossos
This spectacular site offers multiple clear and vibrant images of this archaeological discovery from the Minoan Period.

Another excellent site exploring the Palace of Knossos and other Minoan ruins.

Numerous images of Mycenaean ruins can be found here.  Click "Death Mask" for an image of the Mask of Agamemnon.

Along with many images of Mycenaean ruins, this site provides a link to more images of the Mask of Agamemnon (at the bottom of the page).

Activity One:

Chapter 3, "The Late Bronze Age in the Eastern Hemisphere, 2200-500 B.C.E.," explores the expansion of civilization in China, the Middle East, and the Eastern Mediterranean.  To reinforce your geographical knowledge of this material, analyze Physical Map of Asia and Contemporary Political and Physical Map of the Middle East.  Make sure that you can locate where the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, Egypt, Nubia, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Crete, and Greece, as covered in this chapter, were located.  You may need to refer to the Maps in your textbook or use the Maps provided on this web site.  For practice, print out this Outline Map of the Eastern Hemisphere and label these areas.  Once you are familiar with these locations, review Physical Map of Asia and Contemporary Political and Physical Map of the Middle East.  Which civilizations covered in these chapters were most likely to develop extensive contact with each other?  Which were isolated from other centers of civilization?  What geographical features encouraged or discouraged extensive contact?  You should now be able to use these Maps to demonstrate why the civilizations of the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean developed greater exchanges with each other during this time period, while kingdoms in China remained fairly isolated.

Activity Two:

As the title of this chapter suggests, bronze was important to all of the civilizations in the Eastern Hemisphere between 2200 and 500 B.C.E.  Bronze is a metal alloy made by combining copper and tin.  This desire to manufacture bronze created strong trade networks in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Go to Eastern Mediterranean: Resources.  Where was there an abundance of tin and copper?  Which civilizations controlled these areas between 2200 and 500 B.C.E.?  According to this map, what other items might they have exchanged with each other?  As these civilizations in Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt began to develop elaborate trade routes and protocol with each other, they began to borrow and share each others' culture as well.  They also sought out other sources of precious materials. One outgrowth of this development was cross-cultural exchange between Egypt and its neighbor to the south, Nubia.  Explore the site Nubia and read "The Land and its People" (be sure to click on "Next" until you complete the essay).  While reading the essay and studying the images, pay special attention to the extensive contact between Egypt and Nubia. What products did they trade?  How did they organize this economic activity? List and explain three
major ways that extended contact with each other influenced Egypt and Nubia.  Which culture had the most influence on the other?  Why do you think this was so?  What does this episode tell us about trade and the spread of civilization?

Activity Three:

Another area that experienced strong Egyptian influence during this time period was the Levant, or the Eastern coast of the Meditteranean.  To reference this area, go to Akhenatan's World : Maps, Near East.  Today, the countries of Israel, Lebanon, and Syria occupy this territory.  From 1500 to 1200 B.C.E. it was controlled by the New Kingdom in Egypt.  Archaeologists have learned much about Egyptian rule in the Levant through the discovery of the Amarna Letters.  Review "Society and Culture: The Amana Letters," on page 67 of The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition). How has the study of the Amarna Letters increased our knowledge of the Levant area during this time period?  To read translations of some of these letters, go to The Lab'aya Affair as seen in the el-Amarna letters.  Using this material, explain why the Egyptians wanted to control this region and how they exerted their control.  Did they favor direct or indirect rule?  Which groups did their policies favor?

Activity Four:

The Shang and Zhou Dynasties in China remained distant from the cosmopolitan Middle East during the late Bronze Age. This allowed the Chinese to develop manyimportant traditions that remained strong throughout Chinese history, even during periods of sustained contact with other cultures and civilizations.  One of these traditions was the Mandate of Heaven or T'ien Ming.  Review this concept at T'ien Ming: The Mandate of Heaven.  How did this belief help the Zhou dynasty enforce its rule during the late Bronze Age in China?  How did it promote stability and continuity in China's political system? You might also want to review "The Zhou Period" on pages 61-64 of The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition).