Paleolithic period of time is distinguishable from other periods since it marked the start of technology with hominids introducing agriculture and tools made of stones. This was during the Stone Age. The main economic activity during Paleolithic period was hunting and gathering. Dominant tools were made of wood and bones. It was in this era that mankind evolved into a fully behaved and functional individual.
As Paleolithic age approached its end, human beings started producing works of art and participated in religious behavior. People in the Stone Age ate proceeds from hunting and gathering. These included meat, fish, fruits and insects. Their social organization is believed to be much progressed as compared to chimps. From Paleolithic to early Neolithic, societies were not organized systems of governments (Gutrie, 2005). Lower Paleolithic was characterized by hierarchy while the middle once were organized into bands
Lascaux cave which was discovered in 1940 shades light on the origin of man and art. At an altitude of 185m its entrance is 110m above the flow of the valley. The valley is on a concentrated network of 37 well furnished caves and shelters. Lascaux cave is divided into several sectors. The first one is the Hall of the Bulls with outstanding features of 130 figures. Axial gallery is another sector of Lascaux cave.
It contained 161 graphics comprising of Chinese horses, falling cow, red cows, black bull and the Hemione (Gutrie, 2005). The rear part of the gallery had a representation of upside down horses. The passageway acted as linkage from Apse to the Hall of Bulls and the Nave. Historians found a total of 385 figures. Other sectors of the Lascaux comprised of: the Nave, chamber of the Felines, the Apse, and the Shaft.
Farming and domestication of animals started during the Stone Age. This was a great progress in human lifestyle as people did not have to relocate elsewhere in an endless search for food. Since proceeds from farming were abundant, ceramic pottery came in handy to assist man store the cereals.
Stone was also utilized for defense and as a tool. Danish Neolithic weapons which featured 4500 years ago were more sophisticated. As population increased competition for fertile land violence intensified. This is part of the reasons for the advancement in technology.
In approximately 7000 B.C people settled in the Nile valley while participating in farming. During the first dynasty, Hieroglyphic script was developed and used to record critical information for over 3500 years. It was during this dynasty that Menes conquered over upper and Lower Egypt (Gutrie, 2005).
During the old kingdom, first stone pyramid was constructed for pharaoh Djoser. Subsequently, pyramids of Giza were made. They comprised of khufu’s pyramid, khafra’s pyramid, the great sphinx and menkauras pyramids. After the collapse of the ancient government in about 2200 B.C, Egypt was ruled by different people for about 150 years. In A.D 642 Arabs took over Egypt. Napoleon was also among those who invaded Egypt in 1798.
The Indus Valley
At the beginning of 2600 B.C to 1700 B.C major settlement was at the banks of Indus valley where civilization took place. The valley was built of bricks and stones. Its banks were classified as most refined. In addition to jewel, people of Indus valley developed a system of writing which was utilized for many years. Nevertheless, it is difficult to perceive the meaning of those writing.
The area around the yellow river was ruled by three dynasties between the Second millennium B.C to 221B.C. After Xia ruled, Shang took over from 1500 to 1050 B.C. The last ones were Zhou who ruled from 1050 B.C but later deposed in 256 B.C after their leader and a few of their representatives were killed. After 40 years of constant conflict Qin Shi Huangdi took over China and united the people forming a centralized government.
Piye who invaded Egypt in 730 B.C ruled Nubia, located in the present day Sudan, for two decades. He was the first of the black pharaohs who governed Egypt. Currently, the hydroelectric power being constructed lies on Aswan High Dam which was constructed in 1960s. This is a clear indication of civilization.
The Americas: The Olmec and the Chavin
Olmec civilization was the first in Central America and took place between 1200 and 1000B.C. These people initially occupied southern part Mexico a region called Gulf Coast but expanded to Guatemala. The common people were agriculturalist while the elite conducted religious ceremonies in town. One of the outstanding aspects of the Olmec people was building massive stone heads. At about 300 B.C. Ohmec disappeared without a trace.
Aegean Sea was among the places occupied by Mycenaeans. They were expert in constructing artifacts like swords, inscriptions and bronze double axes. Unlike Minoans whose major occupation was trade, mycenaeans preoccupied themselves with conquests. By 1400 BC the mycenaeans expanded their area of control to Crete which was previously inhabited by Minoans. They were therefore forced to adopt the Minoan script which helped them write their own Linear B.
Neolithic farming community was the oldest to occupy Crete until 7000 BCE. This community lived in open villages. Huts were constructed on the shores for the fishermen to occupy. The fertile Mesara plains were used purely for farming. 2700B.C was the beginning of Bronze Age. By the third millennium, many local centers used for trade and handwork developed. This made it possible for the upper class people to lead and increase their influence. At the period 1700 BC Anatolia invaded Crete creating a major instability.
Assyrian is located in Mesopotamia, upper Tigris River. It was named Assyrian because of the capital Assur. For the period between 20th century to 15th century BCE, Assur was in charge of upper Mesopotamia.
From 15th to 10th century BCE Assyrian was conquered but subsequently taken over by Neo-Assyrian Empire between 911-612 BCE. Asurbanipal (668 – 627 BCE) controlled the fertile land for some times before succumbing to the pressure from Neo-Babylonian and Median. They were later overcome by Persian Empire.
Gutrie, D. (2005).The Nature of Paleolithic Art. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.