Chapter 1 – History Alive!

ancient history
Ancient history concerns the distant past, from the earliest humans through the first great civilizations.

Archeologists study the past by examining objects that people have left behind. These artifacts are anything made or used by people, such as clothing, tools, weapons, and coins. When archeologists discover a place that has artifacts, they ask, Who lived in this place? When did they live? What were they like? Then they study the artifacts for clues.

Historians are the recorders of the past. Human beings have been around a very long time. Historians are most interested in the last few thousand years, when people began leaving written records. The first question historians ask is, What happened in the past? To find out, they study all kinds of artifacts and documents. They read diaries and letters. Besides asking what happened, they try to understand why events happened the way they did.

Geographers study natural features of the Earth, such as water, landforms, plants, and animals. They also look at manmade features, such as towns, roads, bridges, and dams. They can help us answer questions like these: Where did people live? How did they use their environment to survive? Geographers often create maps to show what they have learned.

social scientist
Scholars who study human society are called social scientists. Many social scientists can help us study the past. Among these “history detectives”‘ are archeologists, historians, and geographers.

an artifact is an object made or used by people in the past.

“prehistoric” means before written history.

ritual means relating to a ceremony, such as a religious ceremony.

1. What is the role of an archeologist? A historian? A geographer? How do
these social scientists work together to learn about the past?
scientists can look at the same evidence and come up
with different answers, or theories, about how humans came to be and how events happened.

2. In what ways have caves provided important clues about the past?
Cave paintings provide clues about what life was like in prehistoric times, before writing was invented. Caves with paintings thousands of years old have been found all over the world. The paintings show what animals
roamed the Earth. They show how people hunted. Often they offer hints about what people believed.
Caves have also provided clues in the form of artifacts.
Scientists have found lamps for burning animal fat. bits of rope, and tools for painting and engraving. Cave paintings and artifacts are amazing treasures, because they can help answer many questions about how ancient humans lived.

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