6th Grade World Marchand
The Earliest Human Societies
(Chapter 1 (pp. 4-23))
I. Studying History and Early Humans
A historian’s job is to question, study, and analyze the past.
o Historians begin by asking questions, and then use evidence to answer those questions.
o A primary source is something written o created by a person who witnessed a historical
event. (military records, marriage certificates, diaries, private letters, etc.)
o A secondary source is produced by someone who was not actually there. (Newspapers, books,
paintings, oral history, etc.) Secondary sources may include insight that a primary source does
not. (Eg. A secondary source about Columbus might note that he had not sailed to Asia,
something that Columbus himself never realized.
Why History Changes: (1) Different Evidence; (2) Different Interpretations; (3) New Evidence
Early humans were hunter-gatherers: they hunted animals and gathered plants for food.
Hunter-gatherers lived in small bands, each made of several families. The size of the band, usually
around 30, reflected the number of people who could live off the plants and animals in one region.
o Men hunted and fished. Women gathered plants (roots, berries, nuts) that grew in the
wild. Children also worked.
Hunter-gatherers were nomads: people who move from place to place. When a band no longer
had enough to eat, they moved to another location. Sometimes people returned to the same places as
o Migration (moving from one place to settle in another) may have occurred because people
followed animals to hunt.
By 13,000 B.C., humans had migrated throughout much of the world. Even crossing a land
bridge (connecting Siberia and Alaska) into the Americas.
o Good outcomes of migration: sharing knowledge and tools
o Bad outcomes of migration: violence in defense of territory
Technology is any way people apply their knowledge, tools, and inventions to meet their needs. Tools
help make life easier.
o 2 million years ago people made simple stone tools for cutting. Flint spearheads, wooden
bows, and metal tools were made later.
o Technology gave humans more control of their environment. Collecting food more
efficiently allowed settlement.
Fire was mastered 500,000 years ago. Fire provided heat, light, cooking, protection, and tool
Religion is the worship of God, gods, or spirits. Early humans probably believed in spirits of nature.
o Cave paintings give us insight into daily lives of early humans. More than 200 sites in France
and Spain. Show images of bulls, stallions, and bison. Jewelry and figurines also tell us about
II. The First Communities
8000 B.C. the last Ice Age ended. As temperatures rose the growing season became longer, wild
grasses spread, and humans began to domesticate (to adapt/breed animals for human
use) animals and plants.
o Domesticated animals were used for food, clothing, shelter, and tools. Some (horses,
camels, llamas) were used to transport goods. Dogs were used to help in hunting wild
animals. Domestication of animals helped produce a stable food supply.
Agriculture (planting seeds to raise crops) was discovered when gatherers noticed that grain sprouted
from spilled seed. The shift from gathering to farming is called the Agricultural
Revolution. People began to develop technology to aid in farming.
Farming allowed one area of land to provide more food. This led to increased
population and opportunities to settle permanently.
o Agriculture first developed where water was available, such as river valleys. Irrigation uses
ditches, pipes, and streams to water dry land.
Surpluses and specialization led to the growth of villages. Daily life and social relationships
became more complex as villages developed and populations grew.
o Surpluses were grown as techniques improved. A surplus is more than what is needed to
survive. This meant that not everyone had to farm and could specialize.
o Specialization is a skill in one kind of work. Potters and weavers were among the first to
As specialization spread, people spent years becoming experts in their craft. People trained in crafts are
called artisans. Potters, weavers, carpenters, toolmakers, cloth makers, are examples of artisans.
o People with similar skills developed into social classes because of similar customs, knowledge,
experience, training, and income. Examples include farmers, craftspeople, priests, and rulers.
Government (ways of creating order and providing leadership) developed as villages grew
larger. There was a need for government to keep order and settle disputes.
A complex village had a larger population than a simple village. Larger population meant a
greate supply of skills, ideas, and needs.
Characteristics of a complex village: large settled population, specialized skills, social classes,
government, and trade.
Catal Huyuk is an example of a complex village. In southern Turkey, it is 9000 years old and had a
population of about 8000 people.
1. Agricultural village: fertile soil produced wheat, barley, and peas. Also raised sheep. These
supported a settle population.
2. Complex life of villagers: People lived in clusters of permanent buildings (1000 dwellings
with similar floor plans). Buried dead under floors of homes. Murals painted on walls of homes
show wild animals and hunting scenes. Murals seem to be related to burials, suggesting religious
3. Trade: Produced tools, cloth, wooden vessels, and simple pottery. Became a center of trade,
culture, and influence.