The hands of Human’s and Apes, display structural similarities. The difference being that the human thumb is longer than an ape’s, and has far better scope for movement.
Bone for bone of Human’s and Apes, the human skeleton frame of bone’s is designed for walking on two legs, not four as used by apes. The spine of a human develops a curve to support vertical posture. The design of the jaw bone and teeth differ, an indication the human walks on two legs, and stands upright, whilst the ape walks on four, bends forward and shape of jaw differs, similar to that of a canine.
With long toes and an enlarged big toe, a gorilla/ape’s foot is designed for gripping, whilst humans promote stability. The ape’s lack an arch within the foot to absorb impact of each step.
Science tells us all living creatures are composed of cells, with the capacity to reproduce itself. All living things have the right to be born, but survival of the species, is another matter. Survival, involved constant changes in the species, through genetic changes.
Early monkeys from the rainforests of Africa, dating back some thirty million years have barely changed… living in trees and standing on four limbs.
Another form of monkey existed with longer arms for food gathering and swinging through trees, they belonged to a new category; Apes.
Around fifteen million BC, Earth’s climate underwent a climate change and became seasonal. Fruit in forests became sparse in certain times, forcing monkeys and apes to leave their habitat in search of food.
Ramapithecus, the Rama-ape, successfully adapted to life outside the forest. Their fossilized remains can be found in the foothills of the Himalayas.
The Australopithecines or Southern Apes lived between five million and one million BC, and fossil remains found in Africa, showed that these bipedal apes, were different from their ancestors.
The spine no longer hunched, shorter pelvis by design, hip joints modified, allowing legs to lie in line with the backbone. The species were much taller, up to 1.5 metres in height and weighing in at seventy kilos.
As the Australopithecines were fading out of existence, around two to three million BC, a new creature had arrived… He was man, the world’s first Homo; man and grass eater with a fifty per cent larger brain.
This was Homo Habilis, whose fossilized remains have been discovered at Olduvai in East Africa. He had the ability to create tools for hunting, by splitting of rocks and cutting up animal carcasses.
Somewhere along their road of evolution, they discovered how to create and use fire.
Come 300,000 BC, they still retained their original facial image associated with that of an Ape, and classified as “archaic Homo sapiens” and evolved into modern man. European Homo sapiens by 100,000 BC became Neanderthal Man and by 30,000 BC disappeared. They left their mark; they conquered the art of tool making.
The next step in evolution, came the Homo sapiens appearing first in South Africa around 100,000 BC, and over the next 70,000 years would replace all previous species of hominid, world-wide. They had the ability to produce sound.
Changes came about around 30,000 BC. No longer did nature shape mankind’s development but mankind stepped out and started shaping nature’s development.
It is unlikely that early forms of man were fully aware of the impact on our world that their simple use of tools from bones, rocks and branches would eventually have. Even so, rock was rock and wood was still wood, no matter what shape they formed it to or what they attached it to make weapons and early knives or cleavers.
There were times however when the nature of wood or rock could change, they would have seen this and most likely have been very alarmed. The fire from the sky may have struck a tree causing it to burn and turn black. They would certainly have found that food they found or killed smelt bad, or didn’t taste quite so good after a few days in the sun. They may even have noticed that fruit juices became strangely stimulating to drink and affected them physically.
These changes in the nature of substances that form matter of all kinds forms what we now call Chemistry. These fundamental alterations in the nature and structure of substances are known as chemical changes. Today, we readily make chemical changes that are generally with some benefit in mind. Some, alas, are not.
The first of these “controlled” changes occurred when man developed that ability to start and maintain fires. This was the “discovery of fire” as history labels it. From this point onwards, man would soon find that the texture and taste of food was enhanced by mixing it with fire for certain times, he would find that mud became extremely hard and that food inside mud would have an even different taste and texture to that mixed directly with fire. It would not be long before man was shaping mud and baking it hard to hold food and other items. Eventually, this would lead to ceramics and even primitive forms of glass.
These times are generally grouped into what we call the Stone Age, a time generally thought to be prior to 8000 BC when in the Middle East a revolutionary change was occurring. Man learned to domesticate animals and grow some of the foods they needed and so provide more stable and ample supplies required for the increasing populations. They began to develop permanent dwellings. For the first few thousand years stone was still the dominant tool in this “New Stone Age” or “Neolithic Period”. By 4000 BC, this development was spreading out from the Middle East to areas of Western Europe. It was about this time that a significant discovery was made, that of metal.
Early man came to find and use metal but it is almost certain that these early metals would have been shiney nuggets of yellow gold or the red copper. Maybe they would have been in the streams or in a hole dug for another reason. We can however, assume that their rarity prevented any real use until maybe someone discovered that the bluish green rocks he or she has surrounded a fire with the night before had left nuggets of this red malleable material behind. It wouldn’t have taken them long to realize that by heating certain types of rock they could obtain these metals. The first evidence of this discovery is thought to have been around 4000 BC, on the Sinai Peninsula, East of Egypt. Copper frying pans have been found in Egyptian tombs that has been dated 3200 BC.
By 2000 BC an alloy of Copper, produced (no doubt by accident at first) from the heating of copper and tin ores together was common enough to be used in weapons and armour. This metal gives its name to the Bronze Age, during which the Trojan Wars occurred.
By 1500 BC the Hittites had discovered how to extract iron from its ores, a process requiring significantly higher temperatures than for copper or tin. Letters from 1280 BC from a Hittite king to his viceroy in an iron rich mountain region, make definite references to iron production. Iron itself is not a strong metal but during production it would pick up carbon from the furnace in enough quantities to form steel, a more malleable and stronger metal that could be formed into stronger armour and sharper blades. So began the Iron Age. By 900 B.C. several empires were building based on the strength of their iron, but even now the Egyptians were already turning their hand to other forms of chemistry. There was a great interest in the preservation of human bodies after death using pigments and juices from the natural world.
According to one theory they word “Chemistry” is derived from the word “khemeia”, a derivative of the Greek word “khumos”, meaning juice of plant and so khemeia is thought to mean the art of extracting juices, these juices may also refer to extracting liquid metal from rock and so this word can also mean “the art of metallurgy”.
By 600 B.C. the Greeks were beginning to concern themselves not only with the technology of the day but where it came from and why some things happened the way they did. They were setting out to develop what we might call, the first chemical theories. The first of these documented, lies with the philosopher Thales (c. 640 – 546 B.C.) who lived in Miletus, a region east of Turkey. What he was asking himself was that if you can transform one substance into another that has no resemblance of the previous substance, what is the true nature of that substance? Is the true nature of the substance what is was in the beginning or what it was at the end? Maybe it was neither, maybe it was both. Moreover, was it possible to change any given substance into some other substance and so, are all substances just a different aspect of one basic material? The obvious answer to us now is a resounding YES, all substance can be converted into some other substances and more importantly, all substances are derived from one basic material.
At this time, the Greek philosophers knew very few pure and basic substances. Of these, Thales believed the basic substance, or element, was water. It may seem strange to think that rock can form from water but, Thales observed that water was present in the greatest amount, it surrounded the land, fell from the sky, permeated rocks and life was impossible without it. It was a logical choice. As with all good philosophy, his ideas were accepted by some, disputed by others and in 570 B.C. Anaximenes of Miletus concluded that the element was in fact air and that towards the center if the universe, then thought to be earth, air was compressed into harder and denser varieties such as water and earth. Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 540 – 475 B.C.) took a different route and suggested that if change characterized the universe then the ever shifting and ever changing fire must be the element and that its fieriness made change inevitable.
During these times the scientific interest migrated westwards with the Ionians and about 529 B.C. Pythagoras of Samos (c. 582- c.497 B.C.) is thought to have travelled to Italy where his teachings are known to have been very influential. Empedocle of Sicily (c.490 – C.430 B.C.) asked, “Why does there have to be one single element?” and so developed the doctrine of four elements which was accepted by one of the best known of the Greek philosophers, Aristotle (384-322B.C.). Aristotle did not consider the elements as named, rather that they were combinations of opposites, hot and cold, dry and moist and he believed one property could not combine without the other. This he took further by proposing that each element had its own unique set of properties and also proposed a fifth element, ether (meaning “glow”) and applied this to the heavenly bodies as they were unchanged. Fifth Element, in Latin is “quinta essentia”, it is still used today to mark Aristotelian perfection in the word “quintessence” when we talk of something in its purest and most concentrated form.
During the debate over elements, another major question developed between the Greek Philosophers. They had observed that you could break down a rock into powder but how many times could you continue to make the subdivision. Leucippus of Ionia (c. 450 B.C.) maintained that eventually a piece so small would be obtained that it could no longer be subdivided. Democritus (c. 470 – c.380 B.C.) was a disciple of Leucippus continued to think about this and named the ultimately small particles “atoms” meaning “indivisible”. Democritus believed that the atoms of each element were distinct in size and shape and that it was this distinction that made the elements have different properties. Actual substances were mixtures of the atoms of different elements and one substance could be converted to another by changing the nature of the mixture.
As humans we have been successful in the art of spreading ourselves across the world, from one continent to the next. We should never forget that the human race started out as animals, and evolved into humans.
Human evolution is a process of change, for we as people originated from our apelike ancestors. They who walked this land many millions of years ago, and evolved into the human race, we see today.
Humans are primates, who more than likely started out in life, walking on all fours, and some four million years ago found the ability to walk on two legs.
Early humans are believed to have migrated from Africa to Asia, and later into Europe, over the last two million years.
Discoveries of early human fossils and archaeological finds, such as ancient bones, tools and footprints, help us learn about our past. Like the 44,200-41,500 year old jaw fragment, discovered in Kent’s Cavern in Devon, known to be the earliest human fossil discovered in Britain.
Some 700,000 years ago, the primate… the early human, walked upon this land, we now know as England, and our island was joined to mainland Europe.
Northern Europe and much of England was plunged into a deep Ice Age around 25,000 BC. Our ancestors were forced out, and headed south to warmer areas.
England became a habitable land between 250,000 and 30,000 years BC, and the Neanderthal man in England was the dominant species of the time.
England was not always an island as it is to-day. Following periods of glacination, the bed of the North Sea, was known to dry up, and become rolling plains.
Humans are said to have headed south around 27,000 years ago as temperatures plummeted and returned around 15,000 years ago, during the thaw. Then some 13,000 years ago forced south yet again, and return 1,000 years later.
Prior to the last Ice Age, Britain was connected to Europe by a land mass. As the ice slowly melted, the ice age was ending, and the oceans would return, and sea levels would rise. Coastlines would change, with the creation of new water areas; rivers, streams and lakes, when before there was none.
Two significant changes, Britain was no longer part of Europe, the land mass that connected us to Europe, had been replaced by the English Channel. Britain was no longer joined to Ireland, for we were an island in our own right, separated by the Irish Sea.
The last Ice Age came to an end around 10,000 BC, and nomads a primitive human roamed this land of ours for thousands of years. These people clothed in animal skins, with spear in hand, trekking across this land, in search of food. By 4,000 BC this island of ours showed signs of a Neolithic culture inhabiting Britain.
Early man would be in a time of learning as they made tools from bones and rocks. Tree branches would form a handle, for their early styled weapons; knives, cleavers and mallets.
They would have been afraid in the beginning when lightning struck a tree, seeing it topple over or even catch fire. They would learn that food left out in the sun, would smell and taste bad after a few days. Fruit from the trees was sweet to the taste.
As man learnt to light fires, by banging stones together, rubbing wood in a stone hole or rubbing wood together. They were entering a new world of discovery…
They brought with them heavy pottery vessels, which supplied archaeologist’s information about their lives, for the earth had protected these pots buried in the ground for centuries.
Humans evolved, they learnt other ways to exist, and by 3,500 BC they started to farm the land and feed their family, and so communities settled down, and their lives as wanderer’s slowed down.
One would have to deduce that the change of lifestyle from a wandering hunter – gatherer to that of a farmer, defines the beginning of the New Stone Age or Neolithic times.
They fashioned stone tools, using a process of knapping, which chipped away at the stone, then polished it using water and a shaped rubbing stone.
These Neolithic farmers, bred dogs from wolves, pigs from wild boar, and brought cattle, sheep and goats from Europe.
It is believed that the early farmers of this land would have been Middle Stone Age or Mesolithic people. They, who travelled across the country over the next 2,000 years, would introduce farming to other parts.
The Neolithic farmers, formerly from the lands of Europe, brought with them wheat and barley seed grains, which had been bred from wild grasses. Cereals were grown in plots, harvested, and grain stored for a later time.
So what we had in those early times in Britain were two different types of people: The Neolithic farmers gradually settled down, whilst the Mesolithic would move around the country based on the seasons of the year. They tended to follow the lifestock, birds and fish; their prey.
An interesting piece of early history, Neolithic sites, turned up in areas which were once a Mesolithic settlement. This practice took place between (5,000 – 4,000 BC). Then around 3,800 BC, they moved into non exploited areas.
In the Middle Neolithic, large communal tombs known as long barrows or mounds and ceremonial monuments started appearing.
People from communities gathered together, and socialised, exchanged ceremonial gifts, and acquired fresh lifestock.
These ceremonies, where rituals took place, were an important part of their lifestyle. They were known to buy significant items like early axe heads, pottery or human skulls.
Some ceremonial monuments in the Middle Neolithic periods are aligned based on the position of the sun during summer or winter solstice.
The long passage of a passage grave, is positioned so the sun on the shortest days shines into the burial chamber. They were known to provide good acoustics, possibly for theatrical performance of some kind.
From around 3,000 BC huge monuments similar to “Stonehenge” were created by digging a circular ditch surrounded by stones, and entrance is by way of entrances laid out in stones. Most lie within pre-set ritual landscapes.
Stonehenge consisted of a double circle of bluestones, with a pair of Heel Stones creating an entrance, and other stones in the centre creating a monument.
Avebury Henge consisted of three stone circles; one larger as the outer, with two smaller inner circles.
Druids believe Avebury Henge and Stonehenge are connected by an astronomical axis.
They are known to incorporate lunar and solar alignments, as a means of linking physical and social structures within society, with powers of the natural world.
Neolithic designed houses, were rectangular in shape, made from timber, with timber walls of wattle (woven hazel rods) covered with daub (clay, straw and cow dung) with a thatched roof.
The “Bronze Age” started around 2,500 BC when bronzes started appearing in Britain, along with copper and tin. The only notable changes were seen in burials, when bronze or tin metal work on dagger and axes were discovered in burials with rings, bracelets adorning bodies.
Lifestyles changed little in the “Bronze Age” yet the difference were only noted in burials
Early Bronze Age houses were round in design with a conical roof and a single entrance.
The “Middle Bronze Age” (1,500 – 1,250 BC) saw an important change in burials, moving away from mounds towards cremations where one’s ashes were placed in pottery urns.
These new settlements, consisted of round houses grouped together possibly for defence, as large hoards of spearheads axes and daggers were buried within easy reach.
In the “Late Bronze Age” (1,250 – 800 BC) hoards found in southern Britain contained fancy bronze ornaments; bracelets, rings, pins and swords of a similar design to that of the cavalry cutlass.
The Bronze Age has left us many reminders of the past, but one which stands out proud for all to see, has to be the “Uffington White Horse” believed to have been created in 1,000 BC.
This image is a Geoglyph, which has been cut into the landscape, revealing the white chalk beneath a layer of grass. The image is that of a horse, based on the fact that the area is known as “Mons Albi Equi (Hill-White-Equine).”
At the beginning of what had been referred to as the “British Iron Age” around 800 – 750BC iron reached Britain from Europe. It was harder and stronger than bronze, and it revolutionised much of agricultural working practices.
Iron tipped ploughs, could dig up the land more efficiently and quicker. Iron axes, would de-forest wooded areas quicker.
By 500 BC, the common language spoken by the inhabitants was “Brythonic” and by the Roman era, their language was similar to that of the Gauls.
Skilled craftsmen showed their wares, producing patterned gold jewellery, weapons made of bronze and iron.
Iron Age Britons lived in groups ruled by a chieftain. As the population grew, wars broke out between different tribal groups, which led to the construction of “Hill Forts.” By 350 BC these forts had fallen out of favour.
Prior to the Roman invasion, many Germanic-Celtic speaking refugees from the lands of Gaul, who had been displaced by the expansion of the Roman Empire, and settled in Britain.
In the year 175 BC highly developed pottery making skills appeared in Kent, Hertfordshire and Essex.
The tribes of the South East became Romanised, and were attributed with the creation of early settlements.
The Roman Empire expanded into parts of Northern-Britain, as Rome took interest in Britain. Was it the large number of refugees from Europe or the large mineral reserves held by Britain?
Most Iron Age settlements were small, the main family and descendants, often enclosed by banks and ditches, but large enough to create a defensive position. Their buildings were built of a roundhouse design, built out of timber and stone, covered in thatch or turf. Another type of dwelling, often found on marsh edges and lakes, involved the creation of a man-made island, built of stone and timber, thought to be a form of defence. Another type of settlement found at that time consisted of a tall tower like structure, surrounded by smaller round houses, more commonly found in the eastern parts of the country.
The Iron Age gave us some of the finest pre-historic metalwork of Britain. Bronze and goldsmiths produced high quality items, richly decorated with fancy designs and enamelled inlays. Anything from delicate works of rings, brooches to shields, helmets and swords.
Iron Age, saw much warfare among the Celtic tribes, in this land of ours, requiring the construction of many hill forts. These Celts were true warriors in every sense of the word, for they fought from horses or wooden chariots, and threw spears and fought with swords, and carried wooden shields. Some even wore chain mail for added protection.
The Celts were an accomplished race of people, they were much more than farmers, for they could pick up a weapon and fight for their people. Many of their number were blacksmiths, bronze smiths, carpenters, whilst others worked with leather and made pottery. They also created elaborate jewellery from gold and precious stones.
They took their art further, by adding artistic designs made from metal, leather and precious stones to their swords, daggers and shields.
Celtic society was organised, based on the part you played within your designated tribe. At the head would be the King or Chieftain, and next in line, the nobles, followed by the craftsmen, then the farmers and warriors, last in line would be the Celtic slaves.
Trade with European countries, was an important part of everyday life to them. Copper, tin and iron, along with skins, grain and wool were exported. In turn they imported fine pottery and quality metal goods. Celtic currency started out as iron bars, and by 50 BC they had switched to gold coins.
Celtic houses were round in design, with a central pole, with horizontal poles radiating outwards. Walls made of wattle and daub, with a thatched roof. They made dyes from plants; weld for yellow, woad for blue and madder for red.
The Druids were the priests of the Celtic people, and played an important part in their lives. These druids were scholars and advisors to the Celtic Kings, who worshipped more than one God.
These Druids worshipped nature in the truest sense of the word, by bringing man in harmony with nature. They are responsible for many occult beliefs and religious symbolisms used in the practice of Christianity, Judaism and Wicca. The number three plays a major part in their practices; tripods and trinities.
During Celtic times, the old tradition of building barrows for the dead was phased out, and replaced with individual graves. Yet, some parts of tradition still carried on; the practice of burying grave goods with the dead, what was required by him to gain access to the afterlife. (A similar practice to that carried out by the Pharaoh’s in Ancient Egypt).
The Celts were no match for the warriors of Rome, and were defeated by the might of Julius Caesar in 55 BC and again in 54 BC.
In 43 AD the Romans invaded Britain under Empereor Claudius with Aulus Plautius their supreme leader. The Romans and Celts faced each other in battle, but resistance to these Roman invaders proved futile. By 47 AD the Romans had control of Britain from the River Humber to the River Severn.
The Celtic Iceni tribe in East Anglia rebelled against these Roman warriors. A deal was struck and their King’s retained their position at head of their tribes, and accepted Roman Rule.
Only one leader refused to accept Roman Rule: Queen Boudicca. For it was upon the death of the Iceni King, the Kingdom was left to his wife Boudicca and Emperor Nero, but Nero wanted it all. Boudicca was appointed leader by the Celts and led an army of 100,000 warriors, and burned Colchester, St.Albans and London to the ground with no survivors. Her army met the Romans in battle, and the Celts were defeated… with their leader dead, the Celts were forced into accepting Roman Rule.
The Roman invaders of this land of our, gave us the first written history, an insight into our country, with its ancient monuments and archaeological finds.
Early inhabitants of this land, are known to have resided here, long before the ice had melted at the end of the Ice Age.
A pre-historic human upper jawbone was unearthed at Kent’s Cavern, and carbon dating, dated it to be between 44,200 and 41,500 years old, making it the earliest human fossil discovered in Britain.
Prior to the Ice Age, Britain was connected to Europe by a land mass. By the end of the Ice age, many changes had taken place, new rivers, streams and lakes had formed, along with changes to coastlines. One significant change was that Britain was no longer part of Europe, for it had become separated by the English Channel.
England – our present day England as we have come to know it, is riddled with much history to tell. Our country has a long and varied past, not all recorded by early invaders of our land, but etched on cave walls, and into our landscape.
Strange bumps, mounds, sloping hills, hiding ancient hill forts, burials or strange carved designs on hillsides: The “Uffington White Horse” dates back to 1000 BC. It is a Geoglyph, which has been cut into the landscape, revealing the white chalk, beneath a layer of grass.
The Bronze Age, gave us bronze, copper and tin which was fashioned into rings and bracelets, along with adorning axes, clubs and daggers.
The Iron Age, gave us iron, a much stronger and harder material, with which to produce fine examples of metalwork. They went on to produce daggers, clubs, swords – similar in design to a cavalry cutlass and farming tools. It didn’t stop there; they produced necklaces, rings, often inlaid with gold and enamel.
Early settlers built and farmed this land; century’s later archaeologists came along and dug up this land, looking for answers about our past. They were rewarded with finely knapped tools made of stone; axes, clubs and bones of wild animals.
Neolithic houses built around 4500 BC, were rectangular in shape, made from timber, with wattle walls covered in daub with a thatched roof. Bronze Age house designs consisted of a conical roof with a single entrance. Iron Age houses would be roundhouse in design, built out of timber and stone, covered in a thatch or turf.
Some houses found on marsh edges and lakes, involved the creation of man-made islands, and built from stone and timber, thought to be a form of defence.
Iron Age burials saw bodies interred in stone coffins known as cists… another form involved the burial of horse and cart as discovered in East Yorkshire.
Bog bodies, show one died a violent death, which could be some form of sacrificial or ritual killing.
Pre-historic Britain has left us many monuments: Stonehenge was built during the Bronze Age period, about 3100 BC and Avebury Henge around 2600 BC.
It told us a thriving culture existed on our land … our home.
Intro: On the 24th August in the year AD79, the Roman city of Pompeii in Italy became the victim to one of the world’s natural disaster. The Volcano Vesuvius erupted, showering ash upon Herculaneum. Pompeii was buried under five feet of ash, and some 20,000 people lost their lives that day. Pompeii would be remembered…
The eruption of Vesuvius commenced on the morning of the 24th August AD79, catching its population utterly unprepared. The tell tale signs were there to warn them; a column of smoke, triggering a response, one of curiosity.
A disaster of epic proportions, the obliteration of lives and property, sending shockwaves across the ancient world. Penned eyewitness reports and poets, lamented the tragedy and its victims. Pliny the Younger’s harrowing account described the eruption, one of confusion and terror.
By midnight on the 24th August, Pompeii was covered in a layer of ash, some five feet in depth. The eruption had sent large amounts of ash into the sky. The region suffered from earthquakes and storms lighting up the sky.
The fallout from the Vesuvius eruption covered an area of some 25 miles. According to the writings of Pliny; as darkness fell upon the land, panic and chaos spread.
Volcanic cloud thinned out, as daylight burst forth, revealing a changed world, one buried in ash.