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Technological and Environmental Transformations (8000-600 BCE)

Terms in this set (38)

-Migrations took Homo sapiens out of Africa around 100,000 years ago, first to the Middle East and the warmer parts of Asia. By 40,000 years ago, humans had moved into Europe and northern Asia and are believed to have crossed the Bering land bridge into the Americas around 15,000 years ago
-For thousands of years, human communities in the Americas developed in isolation from those in Afro-Eurasia
-Until approx. 10,000 BCE, ice ages prevailed, restricting where Stone Age human communities could live and delaying the discovery of agriculture. The ending of the ice ages began the transition from the Paleolithic era (early stone age) to the Neolithic (recent stone age)
-During the Stone Age, human hunter-foragers learned to use fire. They also created tools and clothing from a variety of materials, allowing them to shape their environment and survive in a wider range of ecosystems. The Neolithic Revolution heightened the effectiveness and environmental impact of these tools
-The more advanced form of economic production, the more ecological stress caused by resource consumption, caused overgrazing and erosion. Not only did agriculture deplete soil, but irrigation, swamp draining, forest clearing and the terracing of hills and mountainsides radically altered the environment
-Metallurgy, mining, and city buildings placed even greater burdens on the environment
-On occasion, environmental changes destroyed societies or forced them to move elsewhere. Such changes included major temperature shifts, drought and desertification, deforestation, and the drying-up or altered flow of rivers
-The first states grew out of core civilizations in the Middle East (Mesopotamia and Egypt), the Indus River Valley (Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa), China (the Shang), Mesoamerica (the Olmecs), and the Andes of South America (the Chavín)
-With the development of agriculture and fixed settlements, complex forms of political organization began to appear, including the formation of elite classes and bureaucracies. Cities emerged as centers of political leadership
-Most governments were monarchies or oligarchies. Representative forms of government were all but nonexistant
-Some states had highly centralized governments. In others, the central authority remained comparatively weak, leading to loosely organized confederations or decentralized feudal systems
-Law codes, such as Sumeria's code of Ur-Nammu and Babylonia's the Code of Hammurabi, appeared. Although they were typically harsh and often gave extra rights and privileges to elite classes, they represented an improvement over lawlessness and arbitrary rule
-Religion was commonly used to legitimize political systems. Typically, the ruler was seen as divine in his or her own right or his or her rule was said to be justified by the will of the gods.
-Organized warfare became more common as states formed. Some states built conquest states, or empires, by dominating their neighbors
-Attacks by nomads and pastoralists caused civilized societies to react by building stronger city walls, adopting weapons like recurved and compound bows, and learning the arts of cavalry warfare and charioteering.
-What roles do geography, climate, and environment play in shaping human societies? How have different societies affected their environments?
-How do technological advancement, resource extraction and consumption, and environmental impact relate to each other? What stresses have been placed on the environment by hunter-foragers, pastoralists, agricultural villages, and cities?
-How did technology change trade, transport, and agriculture?
-What features distinguish less advanced societies from civilizations?
-How do agricultural and urban societies compare with hunter-forager and pastoral societies? How do these different societies interact? How did military threats from pastoral nomads influence civilized societies?
-How did the appearance of cities affect the development of ancient societies? What roles did monumental architecture play?
-When and where did cultural interaction and diffusion change societies technologically, scientifically, and culturally? What about independent innovation?
-Compare how different religions and philosophical traditions have supported political regimes. Also, how have they been used to justify class systems, hierarchies, and gender and ethnic discrimination?
-How have different socieites organized themselves economically? What role did trade play in the prehistoric and ancient world, both regionally and transregionally? Compare Mesopotamian-Egyptian trade, Egyptian-Nubian trade, and Mesopotamian-Indus trade.
-What roles did large-scale migrations play in various parts of the world during this period? Consider the passage of Asiatic peoples to the Americas over the Bering land bridge, the Bantu migrations throughout Africa, and the spread of Indo-Europeans throught Eurasia.