Lecture One A: Before History/Early Life
Welcome to our first real lecture.
I have attempted to condense the
Tradition and Encounters
chapter and add some additional information.
Read through this lecture in conjunction with the
corresponding chapter in the Tradition and Encounters book – it should be Chapter One.
have also included a Power Point that is a bare bones look at the data in an outline form rather
than a conversational style.
Not every chapter we cover will have a PowerPoint, but when we do
have one you should take a look.
I occasionally include pictures and maps in these to help you
picture the location and technologies of the people we will be studying.
At the end of this lecture
you will find your first Web Discussion assignment.
Please be sure to follow the instructions and
answer the questions by the assignment due date (found in our syllabus, under assignments, and
in the discussion board) for credit.
I expect a well thought out, substantial answer to my
Remember, our discussions are 40% of your grade.
I am expecting several well-
crafted paragraphs from each of you.
Now, on to our discussion of early man and human evolution:
Before the development of writing, ca 3200 bce, humans existed, but the record of their presence
and activities must be read through non-written sources. That is what prehistoric means to
historians: prior to writing.
History as an academic discipline can be described as the study of
change over time.
Historians study changes in behavior, attitudes, politics, religions, you name it
you can probably find an historian who has studied it.
We must rely upon fossils, material objects, and early art in order to piece together what was
happening prior to writing.
Even for historic times, material and visual objects remain important.
The methods and theories of anthropology, archaeology, geology, geography, and art history, to
name just a few disciplines, enable researches to develop a chronology of human development in
the periods prior to writing.
I do not expect that everyone will agree with the theory of evolution,
however, it is a theory that we study in order to understand how some historians understand
The theory of evolution informs the theory of human development over time.
Therefore, while I do not require you to “believe” in the theory of evolution, I do require you to
know about it.
Please read through the following lecture.
It is meant to augment your readings in
Tradition and Encounters.
It is partially an outline of the Before History chapter, partially further
elaboration upon certain themes.
Be sure to read through the entire lecture as your discussion
assignment is listed.
Throughout my lectures I give you web sites that you may visit for more
You are only required to visit the web sites that are part of your discussion
All others are given to help those with greater interest in a topic to find more
Evolution of Humans