Paleolithic carvings of female form, often with exaggerated breasts, buttocks, hips and stomachs, which may have had religious significance.
In San culture, a nightlong ritual held to activate a human being’s inner spiritual potency (n/um) to counteract evil influences of gods and ancestors. Common to the Khoisan people.
In early societies, a person believed to have the ability to act as a bridge between living humans and supernatural forces, often by means of trances induced by pyschoactive drugs.
San, or Jo/’hoansi
A Paleolithic people still living on the nothern fringe of the Kalahari desert in southern Africa
Paleolithic “settling down”
The process by which some Paleolithic peoples moved toward permanent settlement in the wake of the last Ice Age. Settlement was marked by increasing storage of food and accumulation of goods as well as growing inequalities in society.
Paleolithic Rock Art
Although this term can refer to any art of a hunting or gathering society, it is usually done to describe the hundreds of Paleolithic paintings discovered in Spain and France dating back to 20,000 years ago; these paintings usually depict a range of animals, although human figures and abstract designs can also be found. The purpose of this art is debated.
Literally “old stone age”, the term to describe early Homo Sapiens in the period before the development of agriculture.
“The original affluent society”
Term coined by scholar Marshall Sahlins in 1972 to describe Paleolithic societies which he regarded as affluent not because of having too much, but because they wanted and needed so little.
Of the San, a spiritual potency that becomes activated during “curing dances” and protects humans from the malicious forces of gods or spirits.
A European varient of Homo sapiens that died out 25,000 years ago.
Dying out of a large number of animal species, including the mammoth and several species of horses and camels, that occured around 11,000-10,000 years ago, at the end of the Ice Age.
A settled Paleolithic culture of prehistoric Japan, characterized by seaside villages and the creation of some of the world’s earliest pottery.
“Insulting the meat”
A San cultural practice meant to deflate pride that involved negative comments about meat brought in by a hunter and the expectation that a successful hunger would disparage his own kill.
Any number of cold periods in the Earth’s history; the last one was at its peak around 20,000 years ago.
The term used to describe the transition of humans acting out of biological imperative to dependence on learned or invented ways of living (culture)
A people of Northern Tanzania, almost the last surviving Paleolithic society
According to one theory, a dominant deity of the Paleolithic era
“Gathering and Hunting Peoples”
People who live by collecting food rather than producing it. Recent scholars have turned to this term instead of the older “hunter-gatherer” in recognition that such societies depend much more heavily on gathering than on hunting for survival.
A recently discovered hominid species of Indonesia
The native Australian Aborigines’ belief about how they came to be
The earliest widespread and distinctive culture of N. America; named from a particular kind of projectile point
Paleolithic culture of Southern California that survived until the modern era.
Brotherhood of the Tomol
A prestigious craft guild that monopolized the building and ownership of large ocean-going canoes, or tomols, among the Chumash people (S. California)
The last phase of the great human migration that established a human presence in every habitable region on Earth. These people settled in the Pacific Islands and Madagascar in a series of seaborne migrations that began around 3500 years ago.
Also known as the Neolithic Revolution, this is the transformation of human (and world) existence caused by the deliberate cultivation of particular plants and the deliberate taming and breeding of particular animals.
An Asian-language family whose speakers gradually became the dominant culture of the Phillippines, Indonesia, and the Pacific Islands thanks to their mastery of agriculture.
A Chinese archeological site where the remains of a significant Neolithic village have been found
An African-language family whose speakers gradually became the dominant culture of eastern and southern Africa thanks to their agricultural techniques and, later, their iron working skills.
The spread of Bantu-speaking peoples from their homeland in what is now southern Nigeria or Cameroon to most of Africa in a process that started ca. 3000 BCE and continued for several millennia.
Broad Spectrum Diet
Archeologists’ term for the diet of gathering and hunting societies, which included a wide array of plants and animals.
An important agricultural chiefdom of North America that flourished around 1100 CE.
An important Neolithic site in what is now Turkey.
A societal grouping governed by a chief who typically relies on generosity, ritual status, or charisma rather than force to win obedience from the people.
The gradual spread of agricultural techniques without extensive population movement.
The taming and changing of nature for the benefit of humankind.
End of the Last Ice Age
A process of global warming that began around 16,000 years ago and ended about 5,000 years later, with the earth enjoying a climate similar to that of our own time; the end of the Ice Age changed conditions for human beings, leading to increased population and helping to pave the way for agriculture.
Region sometimes known as Southwest Asia that includes the modern states of Iraq, Syria, Israel/Palestine, and southern Turkey; the earliest home of agriculture.
Hoe-based agriculture, typical of early agrarian societies.
The process of getting more in return for less; for example, growing more food on a smaller plot of land.
Site of an important early agricultural settlement of perhaps 2000 people in present day Israel.
The valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in present-day Iraq
Often called “Aboriginals” the natives of Australia continued to live (and to some extent still do) by gathering and hunting despite the transition to agriculture in nearby lands.
A human society that relies on domesticated animals rather than plants as the main source of food; lead their animals to seasonal grazing grounds rather than settling permanently in a single location.
“Secondary Products Revolution”
A term used to describe the series of technological changes that began ca. 4000 BCE, as people began to develop new uses for their domesticated animals, exploiting a new source of power.
Village-based societies usually organized by kinship group that functioned without a formal government apparatus.
The wild ancestor of maize.