WisdomMaps: The Future of the Past
Experience digital pre-history and its unique civilizations with WisdomMaps!
The story of the first humans begins with their evolution from australopithecus, the earliest of the pre-human hominids: not an ape, but not quite human either. Evolution take us through various stages of upright progression from homo erectus to homo sapiens sapiens (“wise, wise human being”). The Paleolithic (“Old Stone Age”) is by far the longest part of the human experience on earth, and it brings humans to create their first stone tools and weapons and forage for their food in a natural environment they had an intimate and supportive relationship with through their short, brutish lives. But Paleolithic man was hardly bereft of culture, as we see in the amazing cave paintings at Lascaux and Altamira, and an interest arose in personal adornment with jewelry. The Cro-Magnons became the first recognizably human type, and prominent Paleolithic settlements arose in the Natufian, Jomon, and Chinoook societies.
The Mesolithic Era emerges about 10,000 years ago with the advent of a new ice age, and is followed by the Neolithic (“New Stone Age”) Era, which brings a revolutionary transition to an agricultural society that raised crops and animals for food. The first cities came into being at Jericho and Catal Huyuk, beginning some 7,000 years ago. In China, the Yellow River civilizations gave rise to the Xia dynasty, whose recent archaeological finds date the beginnings of China’s civilization from 8,000 years ago. South American civilizations like the Caral, Supe River, and Norte Chico began, as did the Indus River civilization in India. Polished stone tools came into use, and art produced its first depictions of people. Religion begins in the form of animism, and deities associated with life, death, and regeneration come into being. These include Venus figurines with outsized “earth mother” characteristics. Neolithic man built temples and megaliths for worship, such as Stonehenge. Cultivated crops spread throughout the Near East (“Fertile Crescent”), the Middle Americas, South Asia, and West Africa, and produced new forms of nourishment with corn, rice, potatoes, and beans. As people ate better, they developed surpluses that enabled some to leave the farm and move to communities where they would provide the many services and goods that would give rise to the first cities.
That said, here’s our assortment… please enjoy! When you’re done perusing a map, just close it, and you’ll be back here.