In this blog I hope to enlighten, entertain and encourage discussion on all aspects of archaeology, hopefully giving people a better idea of what archaeology can tell us about what it is to be human.
Over the course of half a million years humans have evolved to become one of the most versatile animals on planet earth. The technologies we use and the habitation structures our ancestors built in the past can help us understand how people developed and created new innovations to help make life easier and more productive. Over thousands of years in the palaeolithic period humanity first learned to harness the power of fire and stone and we lived as hunter gatherers but in the neolithic period (approx 10’000 B.C. in the Middle East) we developed agriculture and finally settled down and the first communities developed. Then with the discovery of using furnaces to melt copper and tin to make bronze (approx 2’500 B.C.), humanity leaped forward, building emmense palaces around the world (such as on Minoan Crete and in Egypt) and trading became prevalent as merchants traveled around the Mediterranean. However the first signs of large scale fighting can also be seen at this time, as it appears the more people have the more they are willing to risk to get more, and the Bronze age period ends in the Mediterranean with the collapse of most civilisations with evidence of large scale fighting and destruction.
The Iron age (approx 700 B.C.) saw iron smelting replace bronze and the civilisations (Celtic, Greek etc..) in Europe thrived with the Romans ending up controlling most of Europe through technological innovation but also cruel warfare methods. Over the course of hundreds of years the older belief systems of Europe were replaced by Christianity as it spread from the Middle East all across the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire finally collapsed in 476A.D. And the Early Medieval period rose from the ashes where cultures such as the Anglo Saxons, Bizantiums, Carolingians, the Islamic Caliphates and Norse Vikings fought and traded with each other but never again in Europe would one civilisation dominate all the others. In the Medieval period (approx 1000 A.D) in Europe the impressive Castles and Cathedrals of the Middle Ages were built leading to the early modern period (approx. 1600 A.D).
War and technology appears to go hand in hand with the development of more complex civilisations. As we improve our lives we seem to come up with ever more effective ways to kill each other. If we learn to remove war and cruelty from developing our societys their will be nothing to hold us back but to remove war we need to insure people have enough food, land and freedoms that they want for nothing. To accomplish this humanity will need to make a drastic shift in how we think and live but we have drastically changed how we live before so we can hopefully do it again in the future.
In the following blogs I’ll look at various sites and artifacts that can tell us about how our ancestors lived in various time periods and we will investigate how people lived through these times. I hope you will join me on this journey to explore the human spirit and inventiveness of our ancestors.