1.2.6-Technological Impact on First Wave Civilizations


Alice LaLone & Alexis Farrell

Opening Summary:
The neolithic era was a time in which agricultural civilisations started to form. People were moving away from the hunting and gathering way of life and slowly into the agricultural lifestyle. This change allowed many people to have a food surplus which in turn caused job specialization. This transition was taking place all over the world with innovating technologies, such as the wheel and the plow leading the way.



The Basic Gist:

Neolithic era was the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. It took place from 10,000 B.C.E. to 3000 B.C.E. all over the world by people who were on the verge of agricultural societies. Technological innovations led to improvements in agriculture, trade, and transportation helped make societies that were no longer nomadic and could get a continual supply of food through agricultural means.

Analysis of Why:

  • Permanent housing led to development of a larger amount of food creating job specialization
    • This led to the need to create more efficient ways to produce a greater amount of food villages needed- Tools (new innovations)
      • Agricultural Tools
        • Used digging sticks to break up the soil, and axes to cut down trees and growth
          • This led to the invention of the plow; more efficient
        • Polished stone tools used from a variety of hard rocks as flint, jade, jadeite, greenstone,
          • Were able to cut down the forest and make room for crops and mining.
        • Made many tools such as sickle blades, and grinding stones
          • Necessary for farming in villages
        • Micro-blades and domestication
          • Increased ability to tend, harvest, and processing of food
        • People used manure from animals to help fertilize crops
    • This led to improvements in people’s ability to create trade and techniques that allowed them to exchange their cultures with other societies
      • Trade Tools
        • Barter technique- trading when people desired objects but no form of money system
        • The invention of the wheel
          • Ability to travel farther meant more contact with more people - more trade
    • This enabled people to move across land faster and more efficient
      • Transportation Tools
        • The invention of the wheel
          • Increased mobility
        • Use of domestication of animal
          • Northern people trained reindeer to help pull sleds.
          • Those farther south used camels to help transport things.
          • In Pastoral societies people learned how to ride horses
        • Boats/canoes
          • Increased mobility for societies near water



Case Study:

  • When: 3500-1850 B.C.
  • Where: Fertile Crescent- Mesopotamia
  • Who: Sumerian Civilization


This civilization was an agricultural society and their many innovations improved the efficiency at which they


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Tools. Digital image. Http://www.xtimeline.com. Famento Inc. Web. 4 Oct. 2011. <http://www.xtimeline.com/evt/view.aspx?id=676522>.
Here is an example of what their farming tools looked like.
produced surmount of food for their people. They had three agricultural regions; however the largest was outside the city away from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. However, they engineered an irrigation system, a leading technology in farming, by a system of canals from the two local rivers. This was their first innovation. Without setting up a way for water to be at hand in an area large enough to grow enough food for this society, they would not have survived. They also invented the plow, which was made of stone, and the sickle, which was made of clay. These two inventions allowed farmers to reach a new level of efficiency in producing and cultivating produce off their land.

Another area in which they improved upon was their transportation. When farmers created the plow, they also created domestication of animals. Plows were too heavy for the average man to push so they used trained animals to push plows for them. With the domestication of animals, this allowed the Sumerians to also use them as a form of transportation. They could easily set gear or ride on large animals’ backs like the cow and travel to a destination faster. This caused trade to increase because with more people able to travel over long distances in a shorter amount of time gave people the ability to interact with other societies and to exchange goods and cultures.

Lastly, the Sumerians came up with new ideas on how to better trade between the parties involved. They created a new technique in which to track financial transactions. Sumerians used clay figures which
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Although, they may have not lasted long in history, Sumerians invented the first tools that would be used throughout history in cultivation produce. Their agricultural tools created a more efficient technique in gathering a large amount of food in order to feed more people. They
Clay pellets and tokens. Digital image. Http://en.finaly.org. 29 Dec. 2008. Web. 4 Oct. 2011. <http://en.finaly.org/index.php/Reckoning_before_writing>.
Here is an example of what their transaction system of clay looked like.
also created domesticate techniques that harnessed the animals of the fertile crescent which allowed Sumerians to not only move to places faster but also increased trade among societies. They also created a system in which tradesmen could keep track of their purchases and sales. The Sumerians invented ideas that enabled their society to progress in different areas that they believed could be improved upon.





Final Summary Analysis:

  • A: -able to create tools to perform art, pottery, sculptures, pictures on caves
  • G: Manipulation of environment- ex. deforestation to make space for land for agriculture, irrigation systems for farming ex. Canals
  • M: able to create weapons for defense and offense
  • S: job specialization- social hierarchy ex. King, priest, merchants, craftsmen, farmers, not personal in cities
  • P: leader to oversee developments, based off religion, able to write down laws ex. Code of Hammurabi
  • R: kings were seen as deities or the voice of deities, rule through religion
  • I: led to writing- cuneiform able to record events and people
  • T: Metallurgy- bronze-iron tools Travel- wheels go farther faster,
  • E: bartering, recording of transactions


Inventing tools not only helped farmers but because they were so efficient at gathering food, they allowed villages to expand into huge civilizations. It created job specialization through the food surplus which was the tipping off point that allowed these cultures to grow. It allowed people to change their surroundings in a way that would benefit them like chopping down trees and growth to expand on farming land. Tools also set the stand in making weapons for which these civilizations could use to both defend and overtake other societies of the Neolithic Era. Also, with job specialization came the need to oversee the developments of these craftsmen. Social hierarchy materialized as a result of these specialized jobs, which created social classes that contrived inequality among the people. However, in order to enforce the rules and laws of the overseer (king), they used religion as a way to oppress people. They believed that the King was the human vessel of the gods they worshipped and because of this, followed the rules of the land. Also, through the techniques of bartering, many societies came up with a way to write like the Sumerians with Cuneiform. Lastly, with these innovations came the progression of iron tools which were sturdier.




Work Cited:

"The Neolithic Transition." World History International: World History Essays From Prehistory To The Present. Web. 06 Oct. 2011. <http://history-world.org/neolithic1.htm>.

"History of Technology." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 2 Oct. 2011. Web. 06 Oct. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_technology#Stone_Age>.

"Neolithic Age - New World Encyclopedia." Info:Main Page - New World Encyclopedia. Web. 06 Oct. 2011. <http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Neolithic#Technology>.


B.c., About 7000. "The Origins Of Civilizations." World History International: World History Essays From Prehistory To The Present. Web. 06 Oct. 2011. <http://history-world.org/neolithic.htm>.

Smith, Mary. "The Evolution of Human Civilization." Associated Content from Yahoo! - Associatedcontent.com. Web. 06 Oct. 2011. <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1248337/the_evolution_of_human_civilization_pg2.htm>.

"History of Sumer." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 06 Oct. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Sumer#Periodization>.

Kestner, Wiley. "Sumerian Culture and Contributions." Public Schools Of Petoskey. Web. 06 Oct. 2011. <http://www.petoskeyschools.org/vandeventer.si.t/Links/sumerian_culture_and_contributio.htm>