Tag Archives: Artifacts

Breaking News: New Species of Ancient Human Discovered in South Africa

10 Sep

The timing of the end of our early humans unit coincides with the news of the discovery of ancient skeletons in Africa. This story is all over the news and social media. I have included some videos from the news and some articles with images.  Scientists have discovered a new human-like species in a burial chamber deep in a cave system in South Africa. The discovery of 15 partial skeletons is the largest single discovery of its type in Africa. The researchers claim that the discovery will change ideas about our human ancestors.

Image source: OCTOBER 2015 ISSUE OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE. Photo by Mark Thiessen/National Geographic

Photo by Mark Thiessen/National Geographic

Image source: National Geographic

Image source: National Geographic

Please comment and write about anything interesting you read or heard and/or one wondering or question you might have about this discovery. Here are some articles with further stories and images:

National Public Radio

National Geographic


HuffPost Tech UK

Cave Art & Early Human Culture

24 Aug

We are learning about early human culture and the development of art. There are many examples of ancient cave paintings, particularly in France and Spain. Watch the video clip and also check out website for the Lascaux Cave Paintings in France (also mentioned in pages 6-7 in your textbook). Click ‘visit the cave’ to enter this cool website that features some really amazing early art.  Women made most of the oldest-known cave art paintings, suggests a new analysis of ancient handprints. Most scholars had assumed these ancient artists were predominantly men, so the finding overturned decades of beliefs.

Think about: What does this art tell us about early humans?  

How Archaeologists Study the Past + Tech Reminders

18 Aug

In addition to learning about tools historians use, we have learned the following terms: archaeologist, anthropologist, artifact, and fossil (chapter 1, lesson 3). A few reminders: Please bring your computer to each class and leave your notebook in our classroom, unless you have homework. All students should be following the blog and know how to post a comment. Students should also know how to access our Google homework calendar from Moodle. Here are two screencasts I have created this week to review these things:

Linking to Thinking Introduction

Where can I find my homework?

News: Cave Paintings in Indonesia Redraw Picture of Earliest Art

9 Oct

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Great timing! Here is a story that Mrs. Hall and Mr. Hoover shared with me. According to this National Geographic article, a “hand painted in an Indonesian cave dates to at least 39,900 years ago, making it among the oldest such images in the world, archaeologists reported Wednesday in a study that rewrites the history of art.The discovery on the island of Sulawesi vastly expands the geography of the first cave artists, who were long thought to have appeared in prehistoric Europe around that time.  This BBC article features a short video on the caves. Click on the map below to enlarge, and you will see where Sulawesi is located in Indonesia.

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Archaeologists and Artifacts

25 Aug

This playlist features information on archaeologists, artifacts and a nice video by Bill Nye, the Science Guy.
Comment: What do archaeologists do? After reading sections 1 – 2 (‘Finding Clues to the Past’ and ‘The Search for Early Humans’) tell us why you think studying early people is so hard for archaeologists. Tell us something new you learned from any of these video clips?

Qin Dynasty, Great Wall of China, Terra Cotta Warriors

21 Apr
Perhaps the most recognizable symbol of China and its long and vivid history, the Great Wall of China actually consists of numerous walls and fortifications, many running parallel to each other. Originally conceived by Emperor Qin Shi Huang (c. 259-210 B.C.) in the third century B.C. as a means of preventing incursions from barbarian nomads into the Chinese Empire, the wall is one of the most extensive construction projects ever completed. Watch the videos clips of the Great Wall  on the History Channel link! They are very good.

Ancient Rock Art in Utah

25 Sep

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Here are some photos I took last summer when I was traveling in Utah and the American Southwest.  They remind me of some of the photos on page 54 of your textbook.  Prehistoric art is among the oldest art in the world.  These photos are mostly from Capitol Reef National Park. They are examples of ancient art from the Fremont people.  According to the National Park website, the Fremont people were hunters and gatherers.  Fremont and ancestral Puebloan people began to incorporate farming into their hunter and gatherer lifestyles approximately 2,000 years ago. Petroglyph panels throughout the park depict or show ancient art and stories of these people who lived in the area from approximately 600-1300 common era (CE). The article goes on to say:
Pictographs (painted on rock surfaces) and petroglyphs (carved or pecked into the rock surface) depict people, animals and other shapes and forms on rock surfaces. Anthropomorphic (human-like) figures usually have trapezoidal shaped bodies with arms, legs and fingers. The figures are often elaborately decorated with headdresses, ear bobs, necklaces, clothing items and facial expressions. A wide variety of zoomorphic (animal-like) figures include bighorn sheep, deer, dogs, birds, snakes and lizards. Abstract designs, geometric shapes and handprints are also common. Designs may have recorded religious or mythological events, migrations, hunting trips, resource locations, travel routes, celestial information and other important knowledge. 

Journey of an Artifact

5 Sep
Here is an interesting video created by the Florida Public Archaeology Network.  Below are some images distinguishing (or showing) the differences between artifacts and fossils, something we reviewed in our most recent lesson.  An artifact is a human-made object, and fossils are remains of early life preserved in the ground (skulls, teeth, bones).

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