Prehistory: An Introduction


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The members of a tribe belonged to the same family.

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They did not live very long. A cold climate and common diseases explain why most of the Palaeolithic men and women lived about thirty five years. Palaeolithic tribes decorated their caves walls with paintings and made sculptures to keep these divinities favourable to them. Human beings discovered agriculture and cattle raising about 10, years ago in the Middle East Mesopotamia, Egypt. Hunting wild animals and gathering fruits and plants were not the only way of getting food. They learnt to cultivate plants and domesticate animals. When human beings knew how to produce their own food their lives changed.

This process is so important that we call it revolution. The first plants they cultivated were cereals : wheat in the Middle East and Europe, rice in Asia and corn in America. The first domesticated animals were horses, dogs: goats, sheep and oxen.

Tribes needed to live near arable land to cultivate cereals. They stopped moving from place to place to find food and became sedentary. They built villages , usually situated next to rivers. When men and women started to live in villages, there was a specialization of work. Some people cultivated fields, other people looked after the animals and others made weapons, fabrics, and other objects. There were two important technical innovations in the Neolithic Age: fabrics and pottery. Neolithic means New Stone.

Paleolithic art, an introduction

In the Neolithic Age, people used more specialised tools that which were made of stone such as hoe s to till the soil, sickles to collect the harvest or hand mills to grind the grain. Human beings made the first metal objects about 7, years ag o. First they used copper but it was not very strong. Then bronze and iron were used. With bronze and iron they could make different kinds of objects: weapons , jewels , statutes, etc.

The wheel , the sail and the plough were invented in the Middle East about years ago. We still use them today. The wheel had different applications: for transportation being used in carts pulled by bullocks or in pottery wheels to make better ceramic pieces. The plough substituted the hoe to cultivate the land. They could work faster and in greater areas. Human beings needed raw materials to fabricate new tools. The search for these raw materials was the beginning of trade. Because of this, population increased.

Some villages became small cities with hundreds of inhabitants. Cities were encircled by walls , and inside there were buildings with different functions : houses, stores, shops or workshops. In the late Neolithic Age, human beings built what we can call the first monuments using big blocks of stone, called megaliths Big stones.

Geographical Features and Pre History of India

The main monuments were menhirs , dolmens and cromlechs. Menhirs were big, long stones vertically driven into the ground. Menhirs were probably religious constructions dedicated to worship the sun. Dolmens were collective burial places. They were composed of big, long vertical stones which formed a wall and were covered by several horizontal slabs of a great size.

Multiple choice. What were human beings' first steps like? The Palaeolithic Age began with our first ancestors and finished about 10, years ago. During that period, human beings used tools made of stone and lived on hunting and gathering. In the Neolithic Age , which began about 10, years ago , human beings lived in villages. Human communities cultivated the land and raised cattle. Agriculture and cattle raising gave rise to a productive economy.

We call the the Metal Age to the period beginning about years ago , when human beings started to make objects out of metals. Hominization is the evolutionary process that results in the present human being. It was a very long process.

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The first ancestors of the human beings appeared about five million years ago. We call them Australopithecus. They were quite similar to chimpanzees. Two million years ago a new human species called Homo Habilis appeared. They made tools of stone and lived on hunting and gathering. Homo Habilis and Australopithecus lived in Africa. Homo erectus appeared a million and a half years ago.

They were similar to Homo habilis but they made more perfect tools. They had a greater technological development.

Defining the City

This species discovered and learned how to use fire. Home erectus remains have been found out of Africa, in Europe and Asia. Homo antecessor is an extinct human species discovered in the Atapuerca site Spain. He appeared about , years ago. First they learned to herd animals and grow crops. Later they discovered the secrets of making bronze and iron. Prehistoric people couldn't read or write, but they were astonishing builders. Their tombs, forts and monuments have survived for thousands of years.

Prehistoric people left no written records, so how do we know about their lives? Archaeologists work like detectives looking for evidence. They use this evidence to build up a picture of the past. The remains of homes and temples show how people lived and worshipped.

Introduction to prehistory in Dordogne

Tools and weapons give clues about the way people worked and fought. Bumps and ridges in the landscape show the layout of ancient villages, fields and forts.


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Some of the best evidence comes from human remains. Skeletons have been found buried with their possessions and a few bodies have been preserved in bogs.

Introduction to prehistory in Dordogne | Lascaux Dordogne, your holidays in Perigord Noir

By examining human remains, experts can work out when a person lived. Sometimes they can even suggest what they looked like! Click on the image to find out more. Take a look at three very different archaeological sites: a fort , a mine and a tomb. Click on the images to uncover evidence about prehistoric Britain. The prehistoric period came to an end when the Romans invaded Britain. The next year he tried again and failed. Almost years later, in AD43, the Roman general Agricola launched a new invasion. This time the Romans conquered Britain.

Some ancient Britons retreated to Cornwall, Wales and Scotland , where they continued to follow their Celtic customs.

Prehistory: An Introduction Prehistory: An Introduction
Prehistory: An Introduction Prehistory: An Introduction
Prehistory: An Introduction Prehistory: An Introduction
Prehistory: An Introduction Prehistory: An Introduction
Prehistory: An Introduction Prehistory: An Introduction
Prehistory: An Introduction Prehistory: An Introduction
Prehistory: An Introduction Prehistory: An Introduction
Prehistory: An Introduction Prehistory: An Introduction

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