"Who am I?" Current evidence in archeology suggests that the human race has been struggling with this question since its beginning. The answer is not a simple matter of nature vs. nurture, but rather a complicated relationship between many different causes. Human history is one of those causes, and is an extremely important tool in helping us discover who we are.
As a young female beginning adulthood, I find my history increasingly important and interesting. Why am I here? I wonder. Why do I have certain behaviors as opposed to other peoples? Where do I come from, and why do live in this area of the world? For those of us in the Western heritage, the time of modern man begins approximately 1 million years ago, a time where people lived in small bands of hunter/gatherer societies. .
The time period from about 1 million years ago until 10,000 B.C. is referred to the Paleolithic era. Paleolithic means "old stone", referring to the stone tools that the people used. Labor was divided according to gender. Men hunted and fought battles; women gathered food, wove baskets, and made clothing. People were constantly on the move, as they had to follow the animal herds. They had extremely short life spans, and lived in tribes with only a small number of people.
Religion has always played in an important part in the shaping of societies. There is evidence that these ancient Paleolithic peoples had religious practices to help them cope with what the unknown. Artifacts that indicate a belief in magic (possibly to help with fertility), have been found. People buried their dead, and some of the cave paintings were perhaps made for religious purposes.
Approximately 10,000 B.C. mankind discovered how to domesticate plants and animals. While some groups retained a nomadic lifestyle by riding and living off herds of animals, the majority began to settle in permanent dwellings. People began to live longer and communities had a population explosion.