Civilization takes the reader from the earliest days of human settlement to the civilizations of the New World overthrown by the Spanish conquistadors. After a brief look at humanity's development as monadic hunters and gatherers, the book opens with the crucial step taken around 10,000 years ago when some communities started to ultimate plants. The settled villages of these early farmers were the forerunners of the complex cities and highly sophisticated cultures that were later to flourish in the emergent ...
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Civilization takes the reader from the earliest days of human settlement to the civilizations of the New World overthrown by the Spanish conquistadors. After a brief look at humanity's development as monadic hunters and gatherers, the book opens with the crucial step taken around 10,000 years ago when some communities started to ultimate plants. The settled villages of these early farmers were the forerunners of the complex cities and highly sophisticated cultures that were later to flourish in the emergent civilizations around the world. Focusing largely on the world's key civilizations in each time period, the book begins with the primary civilizations in Mesopotamia, India, Egypt, and China, and from there to Greece, Rome, and their contemporary cultures, culminating in the settlements in the Americas. Illustrated with revealing photographs, artworks, and maps throughout, Civilizations brings alive the ideas, events, and people of earlier cultures whose achievements have laid the foundations of our present-day world.

An overview of the first 10,000 years of human existence, from the time of the first farming settlements to the overthrow of the American civilizations of the Incas and Aztecs.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Civilization: Ten Thousand Years of Ancient History, Jane McIntosh (The Practical Archaeologist) and Clint Twist (Historical Atlas of the Celts) explore the first 10,000 years of civic life. Beginning with the first agricultural settlements "the moment when... the pace of change accelerated, leading rapidly to the very different world in which we live today" the authors look at Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, Greece and the Roman empire, finishing up with the Incas and Aztecs. Shipbuilding, aqueducts, pyramids, pottery and technologies of every variety are given fresh consideration. With more than 270 color photographs and illustrations, this large-format book will entertain and illuminate. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
This lavish coffee-table volume on human history as it is presently understood begins with the first human settlements and the development of agriculture. McIntosh has written extensively on archeology, including The Practical Archeologist (Facts on File, 1999), and has taught archeology at the university level. Twist is the author of many books on history. Together, they provide a crisp, readable run through ten millennia of human civilization, covering pivotal events, changing technologies, and the most important cultural groups. The book is broken into four broad areas: Prehistory, Cities and States, Classical Civilizations, and Empires of the New World. Within each section, important developments in ancient history are examined. For example, in Cities and States, the emergence of cities led to hierarchical societies of different classes of people and the development of crafts and goods, trade, and warfare. Writing was created to keep track of business, with the spin-off benefit of its ability to preserve history and culture. High-quality photographs and illustrations put a face on ancestors and their ways of life. The many maps will help with answers to homework questions, including the map of the Silk Road that marks its route through the Roman, Parthian, Kushan, and Han China empires, and the commodities that were traded along it. In addition to being an excellent reference source, Civilizations is an enjoyable read both straight through and dipping in and out. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Charts. Chronolgy. VOYA CODES: 5Q 2P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, DK, 240p, $29.95 Oversize. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Dolores Maminski SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789478306
  • Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 10.04 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane McIntosh is a freelance archaeological writer, editor, and consultant. Her doctoral and post-doctoral research was on the South Indian Iron Age, and she has considerable experience in archaeological fieldwork in India, Iraq, Cyprus, and Britain. Dr. McIntosh taught archaeology at Cambridge University. She has written a number of books and multimedia texts, including Atlas of the Ancient World CD-ROM (1998), The Practical Archaeologist (1999), and A Peaceful Realm: The Rise and Fall of the Indus Civilization (2001). She has contributed many articles to encyclopedias, dictionaries, and atlases. Clint Twist studied history at Cambridge University and then worked as a consultant on various archaeology and museum projects in the Middle East. He has written over thirty books, including an eight-volume history of exploration. Many of these titles have been translated and published internationally. His recent projects include editing the Encyclopedia of Colonial America (1998); compiling World History (1999), a chronology of people and events; and writing Historical Atlas of the Celts (2001).
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


The roots of human civilization can be traced back some 10,000 years—to the very beginnings of agriculture. It was then that many communities started to establish permanent settlements, and from these beginnings there emerged the first urban civilizations, around 5,000 years ago. This is only a tiny fragment of our story, as humans have been around for at least 2 million years. Nevertheless, this small slice of time is the most exciting part of our history, as it was at the moment when humans began to practise agriculture and live in permanent settlements that the pace of change accelerated, leading rapidly to the very different world in which we live today.

    How have we reached this point? It is impossible to understand the achievements of recent times without tracing the story back to the very beginning—to the moment when our remote ancestors began to shape their own destiny instead of leaving it to nature.

Previous page. The cultivation of cereals—wheat, barley, millet, rice, maize and others—which began in many parts of the world between 9000 and 1000 BC, revolutionized the way of life of human societies and set in train irreversible changes to the environment.


Through time, all living organisms have evolved by adapting to changes in their environment. Humans are no exception to this, although more than any other creature we have adapted not so much by evolving different physical characteristics, but by actually changing our environment to suit ourselves, sometimes for thebetter, sometimes for the worse.

    Early humans began making stone tools more than 2 million years ago. Tools allowed them to perform actions that their lack of claws and their feeble teeth made otherwise impossible—cutting through tough animal hides to get meat, digging up plant tubers and roots and making other tools of wood. They later learned to use fire—to make their food easier to chew and digest, to keep them warm and to ward off dangerous animals. They also began to construct shelters to protect them against cold and heat.

    The first humans lived in Africa and were creatures of the tropics. By 1.8 million years ago they had spread well beyond this region, as far as eastern and Southeast Asia, and more than half a million years ago they were living in much cooler areas too, such as northern Europe. Their innovations had already made them phenomenally successful, allowing their populations to grow and making it possible for them to cope with a wide range of climates and environments, many different kinds of plants and animals for food and other uses, and a great variety of natural hazards.

Modern humans

Around 120,000 years ago the first anatomically modern humans developed—people indistinguishable from us and different in some ways, often subtle, from the other types of human that had existed before. Appearing first in Africa, they are believed to have spread also into Asia and Europe. At first they were little different in behaviour from the other humans with whom they coexisted, but they proved capable of rapid and far-reaching innovations. Perhaps as early as 60,000 years ago, and certainly by 50,000, they had colonized Australia—crossing the sea to do so, which means that they were already able to make seaworthy boats. By 40,000 years ago they were beginning to spread throughout Europe and were starting to make new kinds of objects and behave in new ways, reflecting spiritual and social as well as technological needs.

Individuals and society

The period from 40,000 years ago until the end of the last Ice Age around 10,000 BC is known as the Upper Palaeolithic—the last phase of the `old' Stone Age. It is during this time that we first come face to face with our earliest direct ancestors and can recognize them as people who were as human as ourselves. Chance had preserved the remains of earlier humans, but the Neanderthals probably deliberately buried their dead. The burial practices of modern humans were more systematic than those of their Neanderthal predecessors. They laid the bodies carefully in graves or under heaps of stones or plant material and placed with them things that the deceased might need if they were going to another world—the clothes and ornaments they wore, the tools they had used and things to eat and drink. Sometimes they scattered red ochre over the body—perhaps symbolically giving new life to the deceased. This implies that they were now thinking of people as individuals and wondering what happened to them after death.

    We don't know when earlier humans began to clothe themselves—although it is likely they used skins to keep themselves warm and dry. But these modern humans were certainly making leather clothing, which they cut with sharp stone tools and stitched with bone or ivory needles. They may have dyed these garments, often decorating them by sewing on patterns of shell or bone beads. They also made headdresses, pendants and other jewellery. Like modern fashion, these made a personal statement, showing who people were within their community and which community they belonged to when they encountered other groups.

Tools and technology

Early stone tools had served many purposes, and had remained basically the same for hundreds of thousands of years. Gradually, however, tools became more varied and more specifically designed to do particular jobs. They also became smaller, making them more manageable and using less raw material. The Upper Palaeolithic people made many different tools from long flint blades—knives, spearheads, scrapers, awls and engraving tools. They made others from wood, bone, antler and ivory. Not only were these tools suited to their purpose but, increasingly, they were also a vehicle for artistic expression. Much energy went into producing tools that were beautiful, perfectly shaped and pleasing to look at and to handle, and sometimes decorated. For example, long bone rods used for throwing spears more efficiently often had the hook at the end fashioned into the shape of an animal.

Ice Age homes

Much of the Upper Palaeolithic period coincided with the last Ice Age—a time when world climate was generally colder and drier. Much of the earth's moisture was locked up in the ice sheets that covered substantial parts of Europe, North America and northern Asia, so sea levels were up to 100 m (330 feet) lower and much land that is now underwater was exposed. In the areas of arctic tundra just to the south of the ice sheets, such as France and parts of Russia, people needed shelter from the elements. Caves and rock shelters provided convenient homes, in which other structures were often erected, made from wood, stone and skins. Substantial houses of skins were constructed over mammoth-bone frameworks in eastern Europe and Russia, while in warmer areas or during the summer months, people lived in tents of skin and wood.


One of the keys to human success has been the development of an omnivorous diet, making it possible for people to find food in a rich diversity of environments. Our early ancestors scavenged meat from animals killed by other predators, but by half a million years ago people were also hunting game. In the Upper Palaeolithic period hunting was well developed and often involved storage—for example, some groups filleted meat and dried or smoked it so it would keep. Storage made it possible for people to colonize cold northern latitudes around this time.

    Often communities concentrated on particular species of animals—reindeer in southern France, mammoth in North America, gazelle in the Middle East, for example. Great herds of these animals generally moved with the seasons in order to find food where it occurred at different times of year. Often the people who hunted them also moved seasonally, following the herds for meat and gathering plant foods, such as fruits, berries, leaves, seeds and tubers, available in different regions at different times of year. Fish, such as salmon, might also have been part of the diet.

    Seasonal migrations not only maintained a year-round food supply but also had other advantages. They would have brought together different communities, allowing them to renew kinship and friendship ties and to cement these with new marriages. Seasonal movement also gave people access to useful raw materials such as stone for tools, either directly when source areas were visited or indirectly by exchange of gifts when communities met up.

An unbroken thread

In some parts of the world, such as northern Europe, these seasonal migrations involved movements over long distances. In other areas, the distances travelled might be far smaller, and in regions of particular abundance, human groups might not have had to move at all. This hunter-gatherer way of life, in all its diversity, was universal until around 8000 BC, when farming began to develop in some regions.

    Gradually farming took over as the main way of getting food over much of the globe, and in some regions hunter-gatherers were eventually pushed into marginal areas, such as the Kalahari Desert, where farming was not possible. In some areas, notably India, a symbiosis between hunter-gatherer and farmer developed, farmers providing grain, domestic animals and manufactured goods in exchange for forest products such as honey that the hunter-gatherers could more easily collect. But in many areas, such as North America and Australia, hunting and gathering remained the main way of life into recent times.

    Surviving or historically documented hunter-gatherer groups give us some insight into the way of life of our ancestors (though the ways of coping with any environment are legion and so no human society is ever identical to any other in the lifestyle it adopts. Modern Inuit (Eskimos) allow us to glimpse the problems encountered by our Ice Age ancestors and suggest ways they may have dealt with them. Australian Aborigines reveal the strategies, skills and ingenuity needed to win a living from the hostile arid interior of their continent. Nineteenth-century records of Pacific coast Native Americans show the richness of a sedentary hunter-gatherer life made possible by the seasonal abundance of migratory fish, particularly salmon.


Many Upper Palaeolithic works of art served as tools, but there were also many objects made that were not functional. These may reflect the religious beliefs of these Palaeolithic people—the `Venus figurines', such as the one illustrated, representing mother goddesses and a fertility cult, for example—but we cannot know for certain what they signified.

    The same is true of the magnificent paintings and engravings created by these people on the walls of caves and rock shelters or portable plaques of stone or bone. Some small engravings on wood or ivory rods may have been calendars, devices for counting the days in a lunar cycle or recognizing the approach of individual seasons. Such information would have been important for planning—for instance, marking when to prepare for a seasonal migration following herds of animals that they hunted or for the arrival of spawning salmon.

    Other pieces of art may have played a role in different parts of life. Engravings found deep in the inaccessible recesses of cave complexes may have been created for ceremonies initiating children into adulthood. The art on cave and rock-shelter walls is justly famous—magnificent paintings of bulls and bison, horses and other animals such as lions and rhinos, bring vividly to life the world in which our ancestors lived.

Big-game hunting

European settlers recorded a hunting strategy, now vanished, but practised on the North American plains for thousands of years. Although generally small parties hunted a few animals at a time, on occasion a number of tribes or groups would come together for a bison drive. An advance party would locate a herd and by careful movement slowly drive the bison into a restricted area. Here many other hunters lay in wait, ready to stampede the herd when it was in position. The panicked animals were then driven into a natural trap: into a dead-end gorge or over a cliff, for instance. Hundreds of animals were killed. The rest of the assembled tribespeople waited around the kill site, ready to swoop in to butcher the animals, stripping off and treating the hides, roasting some of the meat and preserving the rest. Similar game drives are known from other parts of the world—in the Levant and probably Europe towards the end of the last Ice Age, for example.


The first humans were few in number and confined to certain parts of Africa, but populations rapidly grew, due to our success in devising technologies to overcome our physical limitations. By 1.8 million years ago humans had spread out of Africa as far as China, Java and the Caucasus, later colonizing much of Europe. Modern humans repeated the process after 100,000 years ago, becoming established throughout Europe (outside the glacial regions of the north) by 40,000 years ago. Asia was also colonized and from there people reached across the sea to Australia. Gradually they also moved into the cold regions of northern Asia and towards America.

    At the height of the glacial conditions the lowered sea level exposed a land bridge across what is now the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska. This land bridge, known as Beringia, linked the Asian and American continents, so gradually people also colonized the extreme north of America. However, a massive ice sheet covered the northern part of North America, blocking the way further south.

    It was probably only when the ice sheets began to melt, around 12,000 BC, that it was possible for people to move south into the Americas. Once the opportunity arose, however, their spread was extremely rapid, colonists reaching the southern tip, Tierra del Fuego, by or before 9000 BC.

Penetrating the extremes

Although the first colonists of the Americas were accustomed to a cold environment, the Arctic was initially too hostile. Over many thousand years, however, dwellers in the extreme north developed technologies that gave them mastery over this icy region, even enabling them to hunt large sea mammals in the polar waters. In equivalent latitudes of Asia and Europe, now separated from the Americas by the postglacial rise in sea levels, other human groups like the Lapps also developed a way of life suited to the frozen north. Elsewhere, other difficult regions were gradually conquered. The domestication of the horse made it possible for herders to move into the steppes of Central Asia by 1500 BC, exploiting its scattered pastures. Camels, domesticated in North Africa by the 7th century BC, later opened up the deserts of North Africa and Arabia to herders and traders.

    The coasts of Australia and New Guinea had been colonized by 50,000 years ago, and over the millennia people adapted their way of life to settle in the interiors—the deserts of Australia and New Guinea's mountains. People also settled on surrounding islands, developing their seafaring skills in the process. From 1500 BC they began to colonize the scattered islands of the Pacific, reaching the farthest, the Chatham Islands off New Zealand, by AD 1000. The Antarctic to the south was too inhospitable for human life until the development of 20th-century technology.

    The 20th century also saw the first venture of humans beyond the earth, landing people on the moon. Human ingenuity has overcome our physical limitations and devised the means to maintain human life in environments that are ever more different from that in which our ancestors evolved. It is this ingenuity that has got us to where we are, and that leads us on into the future.


Around 1500 BC, people were living in the Pacific islands as far east as the Solomon Islands. A new wave of colonists now began to move out from the Philippines, reaching New Caledonia, Fiji and Samoa within 500 years. These people were skilled navigators so seafood played a large part in their diet, but they also kept domestic animals—pigs, dogs and chickens—and grew garden crops such as taro (a plant with edible roots), bananas and breadfruit. They made attractive pottery with stamped decorations, but stopped doing so about 2,000 years ago.

    By this time, settlers had also reached eastern Micronesia. The islands of eastern Polynesia, tiny dots scattered over a vast area of open sea, were progressively settled over the following centuries—the Marquesas and Society Islands by 150 BC, Easter Island and Hawaii by AD 400 and New Zealand by AD 800. The settlement of the Pacific was a staggering achievement. Colonizing expeditions were sent out from settled islands in large outrigger canoes (small examples are shown right): they carried not only men and women but also their plants and animals. They sailed into the unknown, relying on their intimate understanding of ocean currents, winds, wave and cloud patterns, the stars and the movements of birds and other natural phenomena to enable them to find other islands.


Our ancestors began using deliberately shaped stone tools at least 2 million years ago, and they doubtless made and used tools of wood and bone as well. However, stone tools provide most of the available physical evidence about early human culture, because stone endures the ravages of time almost unchanged while wood and bone soon decay. Broken stone remained the only source of a strong, sharp cutting edge until bronze tools were developed in western Asia around 3200 BC and later in other parts of the world (pp. 44-5). It is important to realize that all the basic elements of civilization—cities, writing and even metalworking—were developed by societies that were still largely dependent on stone tools.

Hunters' toolkits

For most of the prehistoric period, stone tools were mostly associated with the main activity of obtaining food, usually by the hunting and butchering of large animals. By about 40,000 years ago modern humans had developed an efficient and portable stone technology based on chipping away a series of sharp blades from a carefully shaped core of suitable stone. These blades could be made and used straightaway to skin and slice up an animal carcass, or they could be modified to produce specialized tools such as projectile points, scrapers for removing hair from animal hides, or borers for making holes.

    Stone-working skills steadily improved, and by about 20,000 years ago some groups were producing exquisitely fashioned spear heads, each one painstakingly shaped by pressing the edge with a piece of deer antler to remove small flakes of stone.

    Towards the end of the Ice Age (about 14,000-10,000 BC), as people in many parts of the world began exploiting a greater variety of food sources, there was a further development in stone-blade technology. Instead of producing a few large blades, the stone workers now concentrated on producing thousands of small, sharp blades, which could be embedded in wooden handles to make a wide variety of tools. One of the most important of these was a long knife (often curved) for harvesting wild cereals.

Farmers' tools

Exploiting cereals also required the development of an entirely new stone tool—the grindstone—to process the hard, ripened grain into a more digestible form. This tool consisted of a large stone tray on which grain was placed and then crushed and ground with a smaller rounded stone.

    The adoption of a settled lifestyle, which is marked by the development of heavy and cumbersome grindstones, stimulated a further development of stone working. Some stone tools, especially axes, were now shaped by slow grinding and polishing. This technique produced a much stronger edge than that produced by chipping or flaking. It was mainly the polished stone axe that was responsible for the rapid clearance of Europe's forest cover (some 25 per cent by 4000 BC) as agriculture spread across the continent. Some of these polished axes became prestige items, and are found in burials.

    In Eurasia, stone tools were generally replaced by the introduction of bronze and then iron, although this process of change was much more rapid in some regions than others. In the Americas, however, metal remained a rare, prestige material, and stone tools were in everyday use right up to the Spanish conquest.

Material value

The most commonly used material for stone tools was flint, a hard, fine-grained rock that is widely distributed across the globe, occurring as pebbles in rivers and on beaches, and as nodules in softer rock. However, good flint may be scarce locally, and `tool-quality' stone sometimes had to be obtained from sources 50 km (30 miles) or more distant.

    A much rarer material was obsidian, a type of volcanic glass that can be worked to an extremely sharp edge. Deposits of this highly prized dark stone were a valuable resource, and in both Eurasia and the Americas obsidian was distributed over networks extending for hundreds of kilometres.

1. Indirect percussion —hitting a punch set against the stone core instead of striking the stone directly—gave the stoneworker greater control, allowing him to create long, parallel-sided blades.

2. The earliest cutting tools were simply broken pebbles with sharp edges; but more than a million years ago our ancestors began making elegantly shaped handaxes.

3. This pre-dynastic Egyptian ceremonial flint knife demonstrates the superb craft skills of ancient workers in stone.

4. Jade and greenstone are very hard and have been valued by many societies. Often they were used to make ceremonial tools and weapons, like this adze used by a Maori (New Zealand) chief.


government and citizens 161-2
legions 175
medical equipment 230-1, 230-1
and the Mediterranean 113
military roads 161, 171
mosaics 177
public buildings 68
ships 162-3, 167
slavery 130, 131, 131
trade 111-12
villa estate 171
war with Carthage 160 162-3
Rome (city) 171-4, 172, 173, 179
Forum 69, 173, 234
sacrifices 39, 71, 72, 74, 79, 92, 126, 131, 140,
148, 182, 184, 189, 192, 197, 200, 202, 205,
213, 214, 216, 220, 221, 222, 222
salt production 147, 148
sarcophagus 81, 158, 199
Saraswati (river) 37, 39, 62, 67
Sasanians 122, 138, 175, 235
Sea Peoples 103, 105, 105
seals (for marking goods and property) 41,
41, 66, 235
seasonality (seasonal availability of resources)
14-15, 15, 23
Seleucid empire 129, 136, 163
Semitic languages 197, 235
Serpent Mound, Ohio 190, 191
settlement (permanent) 10, 15, 20, 22, 25, 26,
38, 68-9, 68, 69, 133, 134, 157, 171, 182,
189, 201, 203, 211
shadufs 33, 33, 235
Shakas 137, 138
Shalmaneser III (Assyrian king) 104
shamans 190, 210, 214, 216, 235
Shang civilization 37, 70-3, 71, 75
Sheba 104-5
Shihuangdi (First Emperor of China) 147, 150
tomb of 151, 151
and navigation 167
and seaborne trade 59, 66, 89, 96, 104,
111-14, 151, 166-7
shipbuilding 166, 166
warships 103, 162-3
silk production 31, 74, 112, 146, 218
Silk Road 111, 112, 115, 134, 138, 235
and the Han dynasty 145, 147
slaves and slavery 48, 50, 97, 104, 105, 126,
130-1, 130-1, 165, 173
neck-rings 130
Solomon (King of Israel) 104
South America 183, 184, 208-17
gold 229, 229
reed boats 167
Southeast Asia 11, 146, 151-3, 151
Sparta 121, 122, 125, 126, 145
Spartacus 165
sports 144, 145
Sri Lanka 134, 136, 136, 178
stamp seals 41
Stone Age see Palaeolithic period; Neolithic
stone tools 11, 13, 20-1, 20, 21, 24
compare with metal tools 44
Sulla 164-5
Sumerian civilization 37, 40, 47, 48, 49, 50
59, 61, 66
surgery, 230-1, 230-1
Tanit (goddess) 160
Taxila, India 148, 136, 137
technology 6-7, 232
temples 37, 43, 43, 47, 48, 192-3, 192, 193
Buddhist rock cut 141, 141
Chavín de Huántar 211
Egypt 88, 89, 91
pyramid temples 81, 200, 200, 201, 204,
Tenochtitlán 221, 222-3, 223, 229, 233
Teotihuacán 68, 69, 194, 195, 196-7
Pyramids of the Sun and Moon 192, 196,
196, 216
textiles 29, 30, 31, 37, 41, 47, 51, 62, 66, 70, 74,
79, 81, 97, 103, 112, 113, 130, 136, 139, 146,
149, 150, 182, 200, 209, 210, 211, 217,
218-19, 218, 219, 222, 224, 225, 228
cotton 31, 62, 113, 139, 149, 180, 184, 198,
209, 212, 214, 218
linen 81, 218
silk 31, 74, 79, 112, 146, 148, 149, 150, 218
woo, 31, 41, 62, 66, 79, 96, 180, 184, 209,
218, 228
Tiglath-Pileser II (King of Assyria) 52
Tiwanaku 217, 217
Tlatilco (Valley of Mexico) 189
Toltecs 194, 203-5, 221
Toltecs 194, 203-5, 221
tombs see burials
early farmers 24
Egypt 86
importance of 11, 13, 20-1, 232
Indus valley 60-2
iron 99, 99
stone 11, 13, 20-1, 20, 21
towns 37, 43, 51, 56, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64, 65,
66, 67, 68, 73, 83, 84, 86, 87, 88, 89, 95,
101, 105, 121, 133, 134, 136, 153, 165, 168,
170, 171, 174, 175, 178, 182, 192, 194, 199,
200, 205, 211, 225
trade 42, 59, 86, 110, 111-14, 111, 190
and Buddhism 132
and China 146
and coinage 116
and early agriculture 25, 38
Egypt 87
Greece 111-12, 119
India 111-12, 134-5
Indus valley 58, 59, 59, 60, 62, 66
Mediterranean 110, 111, 112-13, 119, 156
in Mesoamerica 183-4, 194, 198, 201, 222,
Mesopotamia 43, 51, 58, 59-60, 59, 62, 66
in metals 45, 51, 58, 62, 66
Minoan Crete 96, 111
and the Mycenaeans 97, 111
and the Phoenicians 103, 104
and pottery 27
South America 211
Trajan (Roman emperor) 169, 170, 171, 173,
trepanation 230, 231
Tula 203, 205, 221
Tutankhamun 81, 89, 90, 90, 144
Upper Palaeolithic period 12-13, 12, 13, 14
Ur 34, 44, 47, 47, 48, 48, 49, 66
royal cemetery at 48, 49, 61, 144
Ur III empire 47-8, 49, 51
urbanism see cities
Uruk 43, 47, 49
carved stone vase from 42
Vandals 177
villages 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 37, 38-9, 43, 56,
60, 63, 66, 67, 68, 71, 76, 85, 95, 133, 139,
149, 171, 183, 190, 201, 208, 209
Wang Mang (Chinese emperor) 131, 147
warfare 38, 39, 43, 59, 92-3, 94, 121, 129, 130,
153, 156, 163, 182, 214, 222
Aztec 221
China 72, 73
and Greek city states 120-1
horses and chariots 51, 52, 54, 72, 78, 88,
89, 93, 93, 97, 101, 102, 137, 148, 149, 151
Hittite 101
Mesopotamia 48, 46, 51, 52-4, 53, 92
Rome 162-5
sieges and siege engines 53, 54, 93
and slavery 130, 130-1
water supplies to cities 60, 68, 68, 69
see also irrigation
weapons 21, 44, 45, 52, 54, 54, 59, 72, 73, 74,
76, 86, 88, 92, 92, 93, 93, 97, 101, 103, 142,
229, 235
iron 98, 99, 99
Mycenaean 97, 97
wheeled vehicles 30, 31, 49
chariots 72, 88, 97, 83, 83, 102, 145, 148
Indus valley 60, 62, 63
and the steppes 78
women 62, 64, 68, 114, 126, 130, 130-1, 140,
144, 145, 150, 158, 173
queens 71-2, 73, 84, 88, 129, 145
Woodlanders of North America 190-1, 190,
world colonization 11, 12, 18-19
writing 20, 41-2, 47, 56-7, 67, 70, 86, 87, 94,
97, 106-7, 112, 180, 224, 225
alphabets 94, 95, 106-7, 106, 107, 110, 119,
Egyptian scripts 41, 56, 57, 86, 106, 234
Indian scripts 65, 66, 66, 107, 133, 137, 153
in Mesoamerica 42, 57, 199, 199
in Mesopotamia 42, 47, 56-7
cuneiform 56-7, 57, 102, 106, 107, 233
Chinese scripts 42, 57, 153
Punic script 165
written records 51, 56-7, 95, 105, 153, 199,
Wuding (Shang dynasty king) 71-2, 73

Xerxes (Persian emperor) 123

Yazilikaya (Hittite religious complex) 101
Yellow River 38, 39, 70, 151
Yudhisthira (Indian king) 144
Yuezhi tribes 138, 139

Zapotec people 195, 205
Zhou civilization 70, 71, 73-5, 93, 111
ziggurats 41, 48, 48, 193
Zoroastrianism 113, 114, 122
Zoser (pharaoh) 84-5, 178

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Table of Contents

Timeline 6
This chapter briefly examines more than 2 million years of human
development before focusing upon the last 10,000 years when
the adoption of agriculture quickened the pace of change and laid
the foundations of civilization. Special features take a closer look
at stone tools, which first extended people's physical capabilities,
pottery (developed worldwide as a storage medium) and irrigation,
which greatly enhanced agricultural productivity.
1.1 Taking over the World
1.2 First Agricultural Revolution
The emergence of civilization in Mesopotamia, Egypt, India
and China after 3000 BC opened a new chapter in human
development, and by 1000 BC West Asia and the eastern
Mediterranean were home to many competing states. Cities
emerged, the focus of hierarchical societies led by priests or
kings, who were often accorded lavish burials after death.
Thriving crafts included the working of copper and bronze and
later iron. International relations developed, involving both
trde and warfare. The creation of writing not only facilitated
the administration of these states but also led to the recording
of their history and culture.
2.1 Prelude to Civilization
2.2 The Lands between the Rivers
2.3 The Indus and its Neighbours
2.4 The Middle Realm
2.5 The Gift of the Nile
2.6 Zone of Conflict
After 600 BC new states emerged, climaxing in four
empires that controlled the greater part of the Old World,
stretching from Spain to China and from Britain to southern
India. Linked by trade over land and sea, they provided
fertile ground for the development of great religions,
philosophy, mathematics, science, technology and the arts.
Coinage promoted commerce, while many economies depended
on slavery.
3.1 A Widening World
3.2 The Athenian Role-model
3.3 The Land of the Buddha
3.4 The Great Han
3.5 Mediterranean Conflicts
3.6 The Might of Rome
Civilizations in the New World developed quite independently
of the Old. Mesoamerica and the central Andes were the main
centres by around 1200 BC. Superb craftsmanship included
the manufacture of fine textiles. Temple pyramids marked
widespread adherence to religions whose practices included
blood-letting and human sacrifices supported by warfare, and
which promoted a detailed knowledge of astronomy.
4.1 The Continent Awakes
4.2 Builders of Mounds and Pyramids
4.4 Flowery Wars and Conquerors
Afterword 232
Glossary 233
Picture credits 236
Index 237
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