From the Stone Age to Civilization
Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic to Civilization
We have Spanned Thousands of Years in a Matter of Weeks
The students learned that historians divide the Stone Age into three categories: Old, Middle and New. Each age has specific characteristics. The longest period is known as the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. It began 2.5 million years ago and ended around 10,000 B.C. The Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age was a transitional period and lasted from about 10,000 B.C. to 5,000 B.C. During this time, some people around the world were experimenting with farming and domesticating animals. The Neolithic or New Stone Age begins with the Agricultural Revolution (discovery of farming) and lasts from about 5,000 B.C. to 2,500 B.C. Most people at this point in time had stopped hunting and gathering and began farming and domesticating animals. It is a truly exciting time in human history. The students learned that the discovery of farming changed the world in unimaginable ways. The Agricultural Revolution is the reason we have civilization!
Who Was the Iceman and What Can His Life Tell us About the Neolithic Stone Age?
The students examined Otzi, a Neolithic man that lived about 5,300 years ago whose body was found in the Italian Alps in 1991. Remarkably, many of his belongings were preserved along with him. The students acted as archaeologists and made inferences about his life and what may have happened to him. His body contained many tattoos, which was probably a form of acupuncture, They also examined his shoes, copper ax, fur quiver, pouch, string, blade, birch fungus and a maple leaf, which he wrapped hot embers in. The students completed an artifacts graphic organizer and came up with theories about what may have happened to him. Most students believed he was assassinated. Ask them why.
The First Farming Community
The students examined an archaeological site from 9,000 years ago. Catal Huyuk is speacial because it is probably the first human settlement. At a time when most of the world was still nomads, as many as 10,000 people lived at Catal Huyuk. Numerous artifacts were studied including murals, pottery and tools. The students completed a web quest and discovered many interesting facts about the site. The most mysterious discovery were their homes. The people who lived in Catal Huyuk did not have any streets. Instead, they traveled their community on rooftops. They're front doors were even located on their roofs!
Turkey - Catalhoyuk
What Makes a Civilization?
You can't call any human settlement a civilization. A civilization must contain certain elements. These are government, organized religion, social classes, art/architecture and writing. Civilization does not officially begin until 3,100 B.C. The Mesopotamian's are credited with being the first civilization because they invented writing in 3,100 B.C. The students learned that they may be tempted to call Catal Huyuk or Jericho a civilization. However, they can't because these early settlements did not have a written language.
With a clear understanding of the five elements of civilization, the students began examining one of the more important elements - architecture. A civilization's landmarks can tell us a lot about a particular culture. Our own civilization has many famous landmarks. One of the most famous is the Statue of Liberty. By examining the Statue of Liberty, we can assume a lot about who we are as people. The statue represents our core values: liberty, freedom and democracy. The students are working in groups to examine various civilization's famous landmarks. They are researching the Giza Pyramid, Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China, Acropolis of Athens and the Colosseum, They have been asked to answer many questions about these famous landmarks, to find meaning in them and to determine how they reflect the ancient civilization's culture. Students are working hard to research these landmarks and will soon be creating a Google Slide presentation about their group's landmark.