Iron Age II Broken down into Babylonian and Persian period Hellenistic period Alexander the Great brought Hellenistic (Greek) civilization to Southeast Europe and East Asia Roman period The Roman Empire dominated the Western world Evidence found in the Olduvai Gorge (near the Great Rift Valley in northeast Africa) shows that our human ancestors were using simple stone tools some 2.5 million years ago. More sophisticated tools such as hand axes were developed about 1.6 million years ago. Stone tools were used for tasks like chopping, scraping hides, and cutting. They were also sharpened into spear points for hunting game. Fire came into use among our hominid ancestors (such as Homo erectus ) about 1.5 million years ago. Our species, Homo sapiens sapiens , appeared about 200,000 BCE . Thereafter, clothing was in use from about 170,000 years ago. Cave art also appeared around this time. The image is one of more than six hundred cave paintings found in the Lascaux region of southwestern France. The images date from the Upper Paleolithic period (c. 1770 BCE). They’re attributed to our earliest fully human ancestors, the Cro-Magnons . Study the image shown. Try to unravel the story it tells. You might come up with ideas like this: The hunters appear to be working as a group to bring down one of the charging animals, which may be elk. The hunters are familiar with the use of bows and arrows as tools. They seem to have planned and coordinated this hunt. This type of cave art offers evidence that the bow was designed early in human history. It also shows how early humans worked together to solve problems.
In any case, you might like to know that the caves of Lascaux have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The so-called Venus of Willendorf (shown) is a stone figure about 4.4 inches tall . It dates from about 28,000 to 25,000 BCE. This figure is one of many similar artifacts discovered across Europe around the time ceramics were invented (c. 25,000 BCE). This statuette tells us something about the status of women in times past. It may also hint at the religious significance of women in ancient times. Humans domesticated animals (the horse being key among them) beginning around 15,000 BCE. They used bows, slings, and copper tools by around 8000 BCE. Additionally, humans began to develop crop agriculture and invented the plow around this time. Early writing appeared around 3500 BCE. Bronze tools followed around 3300 BCE, along with the use of salt in trade and as currency. Humans invented the wheel around 2500 years BCE, probably in Mesopotamia. This invention is an example of transformative technology ; that is, an invention that drove significant social change. The invention of the wheels led to the development of different types of transport, from handcarts to chariots to carriages, bicycles, and motorcars. Technological Advances: From Egypt to the Present Egypt As already noted, Egypt may have been the first civilization. However, whether first or not, Egypt was the major power of the Mediterranean for more than 3,000 years. Many mighty states rose and fell while Egypt simply evolved.
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