Unit 2: Paleolithic Era to the Agricultural Revolution

Click on the links for study maps of this unit's content.

1. Paleolithic & Neolithic Societies and Homo Sapiens
The life of early hunter-gatherer societies was shaped by their physical environment. Early human societies, through the development of culture, began the process of overcoming the limits set by the physical environment. The beginning of settled agriculture (including permanent settlements) was a major step in the advance of civilization.

Link to Study Map for WHI 2a, b, c: Early Eras

2. Archaeologists

Archeologists continue to find and interpret evidence of early humans and their lives.

Link to Study Map for WHI 2d: Discoveries

Unit Vocabulary: Read the vocabulary for this unit. Click on the links next to each definition for more information.

Homo sapiens: the species to which modern humans belong Explore the Smithsonian's Homo Sapiens presentation: Smithsonian Link
(Tree Diagram Source: http://humanorigins.si.edu)


Hunter-gatherer societies: nomadic people who live chiefly by hunting, fishing, and harvesting wild food Hunter gatherers
Paleolithic Era: this era is also known as the Old Stone Age and lasted about 2.5 million years. It is the time period extending from the first appearance of artifacts to the end of the last ice age. Paleolithic
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bifaz_de_Atapuerca_(TG10).jpg)
Neolithic Era: this era is also known as the New Stone Age. During this era, farm animals were first domesticated, agriculture was introduced, and polished stone weapons prevailed. Neolithic
(Source: http://www.memo.fr/en/article.aspx?ID=REG_GEN_PRE_002)

Domestication: to tame and keep for farm produce
Archeologists: people who study human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains.
Carbon dating: the determination of the age of an organic object from the relative proportions of the carbon isotopes carbon-12 and carbon-14 that it contains. The ratio between them changes as radioactive carbon-14 decays and is not replaced by exchange with the atmosphere.
Short video on Carbon 14 Dating:
Stonehenge: archeological (megalithic) monument on Salisbury Plain in England that was begun during the Neolithic Age and completed during the Bronze Age.
Stonehenge video:
Aleppo: An early city located in northern Syria in the Fertile Crescent, studied today by archeologists. Aleppo

Jericho: a town in Palestine, on the West Bank, north of the Dead Sea. According to the Bible, Jericho was a Canaanite city destroyed by the Israelites after they crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land. It is an early Fertile Crescent city, studied today by archeologists. Jericho
(Source: israel-a-history-of.com)
Catalhoyuk: Neolithic site in Anatolia under excavation. Catalhoyuk
Anatolia: the western peninsula of Asia that forms the greater part of Turkey. It is bounded by the Black, Aegean, and Mediterranean seas. (See map above.)

What do you know about Homo Sapiens?

Homo sapiens emerged in east Africa between 100,000 and 400,000 years ago.

Homo sapiens migrated from Africa to Eurasia, Australia, and the Americas.

(Source of map above and discussion below: http://staff.harrisonburg.k12.va.us/~cwalton/History.htm)



The map below shows fossil sites that are keyed to Paleolithic Periods. Homo Sapien sites are shown in red.

(Map source: http://www.handprint.com/LS/ANC/disp.html)

Early humans were hunters and gatherers whose survival depended on the availability of wild plants and animals.

To learn more about early man and the growth of civilization, click on the powerpoint icon. This will download it to your desktop for viewing.

Read More About Early Humans
The following links are part of an exhibition that discusses the first humans, cave paintings and aphrodite figures, and the Catalhoyuk site. Your teacher may assign a similar project for you to complete. Links to sites for online exhibitions include the following: Web Poster Wizard Wizard; Glogster Glog; Comic Creator Create; Stapleless Book Book; ToonDoo Toon; Bio-Cube Cube
First Humans Early

Cave Paintings and Aphrodites Painting

Catalhoyuk Village

Complete the following chart about early humans using your textbook or other resources.

Review Game: Click on the link to review the information in this unit.

1. Prehistory Hangman Prehistory

Review Blanks: Fill in the blanks to review this unit. (Source: Henrico Public Schools, 2010)
WHI 2a


(Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1e/Lascaux_painting.jpg)



WHI 2d