Writing systems in which a symbol represents a sound.
The branch of anthropology that studies prehistoric people and their cultures.
Austronesian Language
The family of languages spoken in Australia and Formosa and Malaysia and Polynesia.
Bantu Languages
Descriptive name for languages spoken largely east and south of the present day nation of Nigeria; i.e., in the regions commonly known as central Africa, east Africa, and southern Africa.
Book of the Dead
Collection of religious spells which were thought to be helpful to the deceased in the afterlife.
Bronze Metallurgy
Copper and tin combined to make Bronze, Shang completely controlled bronze production.
A strong military unit of the ancient time, combining pastoralist technologies of horseback riding and wheels.
A city with political and economic control over the surrounding countryside.
Cultural Diffusion
The spread of cultural elements from one society to another.
An ancient wedge-shaped script used in Mesopotamia and Persia.
The dispersion of the Jews outside Israel.
The taming of animals for human use, such as work or as food.
A group of countries under a single authority.
The Epic of Gilgamesh
A Mesopotamian story that tells about the quest for immortality and the inevitability of death, and which includes a flood story similar to that of Noah's Ark. This epic is important because it illustrates the Israelites' same fear of death and desire for immortality.
Fertile Crescent
A geographical area of fertile land in the Middle East stretching in a broad semicircle from the Nile to the Tigris and Euphrates.
One who searches for food by hunting or gathering.
A defensive wall or other reinforcement built to strengthen a place against attack.
Hammurabi's Code
A legal code developed by King Hammurabi of Mesopotamia. The code was influential in the establishment of Hebrew and Islamic law and in the U.S. judiciary system. It specified crimes and punishments to help judges impose penalties.
Hebrew Monotheism
The Hebrew religion gave us monotheism; it gave us the concept of rule by law; it gave us the concept that the divine works its purpose on human history through human events; it gave us the concept of the covenant, that the one god has a special relationship to a community of humans above all others.
The organization of people at different ranks in an administrative body.
An ancient Egyptian writing system in which pictures were used to represent ideas and sounds.
Indo-European Languages
A family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major languages of Europe, Iran, and northern India, and historically also predominant in Anatolia and Central Asia.
Iron Metallurgy
Extraction of iron from its ores. allowed for cheaper stronger production of weapons and tools. More abundant than tin and copper.
Supplying dry land with water by means of ditches etc.
Monumental Architecture
Characteristic of civilization, often religious monuments (i.e. Ziggurats in Mesopotamia, pyramids in Egypt).
Neolithic Revolution
The shift from hunting of animals and gathering of food to the keeping of animals and the growing of food on a regular basis around 8,000 BC.
Groups of people tending to travel and change settlements frequently.
Oracle Bones
Animal bones carved with written characters which were used for telling the future.
A type of agricultural activity based on nomadic animal husbandry or the raising of livestock to provide food, clothing, and shelter.
Form of social organization in which a male is the family head and title is traced through the male line.
Pictures that stand for words or ideas; picture writing.
Belief in multiple Gods.
Push/Pull Factors
Events and conditions that either force people to move elsewhere or strongly attract them to do so.
Monumental architecture typical of Old Kingdom Egypt; used as burial sites for pharaohs.
An arrangement of knotted strings on a cord, used by the Inca to record numerical information.
Rig Veda
The first scripture in Hinduism, it has information about spiritual, scientific, and philosophy.
Not migratory; settled.
Social Stratification
The condition of being arranged in social strata or classes within a group.
Specialized Labor
Each person is responsible for a specific, specialized set of tasks at which that person is to become proficient, the workers work is matched on the basis of merit.
The State
A separate part of an Empire with its on individual government.
Urban Planning
Determining and drawing up plans for the future physical arrangement and condition of a community.
Vedic Religion
A symbiosis of gods and humans because humans could only prosper in an oriented cosmos system. The gods were needed to maintain cosmic order.
Sumerian temples made of sun-dried brick.
Dual gods of equal power to form early monotheism; Persian; cosmic struggle over good and bad; those that do good go to Heaven and bad go to hell; influenced Judaism and Christianity.