World History

Period up to c. 600 B.C.E

Topics

Subtopic

Cave paintings: The earliest cave paintings date around 32,000 years ago. Sometimes it is hard to know if things we find were used for artistic or religious purposes. For example, we have no way of knowing what purpose many cave paintings served, but they seem to have played an important part in the life of Stone Age peoples.


Music: Music was first used 30,000 years ago. People from the Stone Age developed a keen sense of both art and religion. Flutes are the oldest known instrument and are believed to have been around in the Stone Age.


Organization of society in the Paleolithic Stone Age: In the Paleolithic Stone Age, the society organized in kinship groups. Families gathered into clans and communities. They lived without much social hierarchy, and, within the clan, there was no ownership of land or possessions. Most people in the kinship group carried out similar tasks. The social structure was quite simple.


Old Stone Age Labor: Labor was divided amongst Old Stone Age people by gender. Duties were divided based on sex because of the basic physical differences. Men went to war, completed the more strenuous physical labor, and hunted the larger animals; women hunted the smaller animals, collected plants, and upheld the home.


Oceania: There are thousands of islands in the Pacific Ocean, but they do not belong to any one continent. Grouped together, they are called Oceania. Though some opinions on what constitutes Oceania differ, it is primarily believed to be the islands in the Pacific Ocean. These islands began to be explored by Europeans in the 16th Century, the most notable early exploration being by Ferdinand Magellan, from Spain, during which he was the first person to circumnavigate the world.


Shamans: The religious leaders in the Paleolithic Stone Age were called Shamans. The Stone Age people believed that their shamans could communicate with supernatural spirits, and perform miracles such as healing the sick.