Regents Prep: Global History: Science & Technology:
Neolithic Revolution

During the Paleolithic Period, which lasts from the beginnings of human life until about 10,000 BCE, people were nomads. They lived in groups of 20 -30, and spent most of their time hunting and gathering.  In these groups, work was divided between men and women, with the men hunting game animals, and women gathering fruits, berries, and other edibles.  These early peoples developed simple tools such as, spears and axes made from bone, wood, and stone.  Human beings lived in this manner from earliest times until about 10,000 BCE, when they started to cultivate crops and domesticate animals.  This is known as the Neolithic Revolution

 The Neolithic Revolution was a fundamental change in the way people lived. The shift from hunting & gathering to agriculture led to permanent settlements, the establishment of social classes, and the eventual rise of civilizations. The Neolithic Revolution is a major turning point in human history.

Great Discoveries
About 10,000 BCE, humans began to cultivate crops and domesticate certain animals.  This was a change from the system of hunting and gathering that had sustained humans from earliest times. As a result, permanent settlements were established.  Neolithic villages continued to divide work between men and women.  However, women's status declined as men took the lead in in most areas of these early societies.

New technologies developed in response to the need for better tools and weapons to go along with the new way of living.  Neolithic farmers created a simple calendar to keep track of planting and harvesting.  They also developed simple metal tools such as plows, to help with their work.  Some groups even may have used animals to pull these plows, again making work easier.  Metal weapons were developed as villages needed to protect their valuable resources.


Early River Civilizations
Egypt: Most of Egyptian science and technology revolved around their fascination with the afterlife.  Egyptian scientist were experts at preserving the human body after death through a process called mummification. Developing this process also gave them insights on how the body worked, and enable some physicians to better diagnose illness, and even perform surgery. Egyptians scientist created a fairly accurate calendar, and a system of writing called hieroglyphics.  Egyptian scientist also used advanced mathematical and engineering skills in the creation of the pyramids, and irrigation systems.

Mesopotamia: The Sumerians in Mesopotamia were the first to build wheeled vehicles.  The built irrigation systems, dykes, and canals for better farming. Sumerian scholars developed the Cuneiform system of writing, the earliest known system. Sumerian mathematicians developed early forms of algebra and geometry.  Other civilizations in Mesopotamia also contributed scientific and technological advancements, such as the Hittites, who were the first to mine iron ore to produce iron, and the Babylonians, who were some of the first people to study the skies, adding knowledge to the new field of astronomy.

Early China: Under the Shang Dynasty, scholars developed a system of writing that used pictographs, or drawings of objects, and ideographs, or drawings that expressed a thought or idea.  Examples of this type of writing can be found on oracle bones.  Oracle bones are pieces of bone of turtle shell used by Shang priests to tell the future.  They would write a question addressed to either one of the gods, or an ancestor on the bone, then heat it until it cracked.  They believed that by studying the pattern of cracks, one could learn the answer to the question.  Oracle bones are the oldest example of Chinese writing.


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