Earth’s beginnings can be traced back 4.5 billion years, but human evolution only counts for a tiny speck of its history. The Prehistoric Period—or when there was human life before records documented human activity—roughly dates from 2.5 million years ago to 1,200 B.C. It is generally categorized in three archaeological periods: the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age.
From the invention of tools made for hunting to advances in food production and agriculture to early examples of art and religion, this enormous time span—ending roughly 3,200 years ago (dates vary upon region)—was a period of great transformation. Here’s a closer look:
The Stone Age
Divided into three periods: Paleolithic (or Old Stone Age), Mesolithic (or Middle Stone Age), and Neolithic (or New Stone Age), this era is marked by the use of tools by our early human ancestors (who evolved around 300,000 B.C.) and the eventual transformation from a culture of hunting and gathering to farming and food production. During this era, early humans shared the planet with a number of now-extinct hominin relatives, including Neanderthals and Denisovans.
In the Paleolithic period (roughly 2.5 million years ago to 10,000 B.C.), early humans lived in caves or simple huts or tepees and were hunters and gatherers. They used basic stone and bone tools, as well as crude stone axes, for hunting birds and wild animals. They cooked their prey, including woolly mammoths, deer and bison, using controlled fire. They also fished and collected berries, fruit and nuts.
Ancient humans in the Paleolithic period were also the first to leave behind art. They used combinations of minerals, ochres, burnt bone meal and charcoal mixed into water, blood, animal fats and tree saps to etch humans, animals and signs. They also carved small figurines from stones, clay, bones and antlers.
The end of this period marked the end of the last Ice Age, which resulted in the extinction of many large mammals and rising sea levels and climate change that eventually caused man to migrate.
During the Mesolithic period (about 10,000 B.C. to 8,000 B.C.), humans used small stone tools, now also polished and sometimes crafted with points and attached to antlers, bone or wood to serve as spears and arrows. They often lived nomadically in camps near rivers and other bodies of water. Agriculture was introduced during this time, which led to more permanent settlements in villages.
Finally, during the Neolithic period (roughly 8,000 B.C. to 3,000 B.C.), ancient humans switched from hunter/gatherer mode to agriculture and food production. They domesticated animals and cultivated cereal grains. They used polished hand axes, adzes for ploughing and tilling the land and started to settle in the plains. Advancements were made not only in tools but also in farming, home construction and art, including pottery, sewing and weaving.
READ MORE: 9 Ways Stone Age Human Ancestors Were Like Us
The Bronze Age
During the Bronze Age (about 3,000 B.C. to 1,300 B.C.), metalworking advances were made, as bronze, a copper and tin alloy, was discovered. Now used for weapons and tools, the harder metal replaced its stone predecessors, and helped spark innovations including the ox-drawn plow and the wheel.
This time period also brought advances in architecture and art, including the invention of the potter’s wheel, and textiles—clothing consisted of mostly wool items such as skirts, kilts, tunics and cloaks. Home dwellings morphed to so-called roundhouses, consisting of a circular stone wall with a thatched or turf roof, complete with a fireplace or hearth, and more villages and cities began to form.
Organized government, law and warfare, as well as beginnings of religion, also came into play during the Bronze Age, perhaps most notably relating to the ancient Egyptians who built the pyramids during this time. The earliest written accounts, including Egyptian hieroglyphs and petroglyphs (rock engravings), are also dated to this era.
READ MORE: What Is the Rosetta Stone?
The Iron Age
The discovery of ways to heat and forge iron kicked off the Iron Age (roughly 1,300 B.C. to 900 B.C.). At the time, the metal was seen as more precious than gold, and wrought iron (which would be replaced by steel with the advent of smelting iron) was easier to manufacture than bronze.
Along with mass production of steel tools and weapons, the age saw even further advances in architecture, with four-room homes, some complete with stables for animals, joining more rudimentary hill forts, as well as royal palaces, temples and other religious structures. Early city planning also took place, with blocks of homes being erected along paved or cobblestone streets and water systems put into place.
Agriculture, art and religion all became more sophisticated, and writing systems and written documentation, including alphabets, began to emerge, ushering in the Early Historical Period.
READ MORE: Massive Bronze Age City Discovered Underwater in Greece
Antediluvian Maps: Impossible charts according to mainstream scholars
Maps like the one by Piri Reis have been validated by scholars who remain baffled and cannot explain their precision and level of detail. Some of them were created as if somehow, someone was able to see the land from the air before drawing the charts…
It is noteworthy to mention that the Piri Reis map was in fact created by other much older maps from different regions around the globe. But what do maps like the one from Piri Reis tell us? Well, they offer conclusive evidence that in the distant past, civilizations with incredible cartographical knowledge existed on Earth. It seems that these ancient civilizations had seen parts of the world which today are covered in Ice: Antarctica for example, meaning that whoever created these charts must have seen these parts of the world when Earth’s climate was very different, a period in the history of our planet predating the last ice age.
The Piri Reis map was composed around 1520 and in addition to displaying Antarctica without ice, it accurately depicts the geography of the American Continent with such a precision that it looks as if it was put together with the aid of aerial photography. Interestingly, this map was examined by the US Hydrographic Office of the Navy, where its authenticity was confirmed. The map was proven genuine and is so accurate that it was purportedly used to correct errors in some modern maps.
But… Who mapped the Queen Maud Land of Antarctic 6000 years ago? Which unknown civilization had the technology or the need to do that?
The geographical information contained in the map indicates that some of its source material date back more than 5,000 years. While the Piri Reis map is not a map that is believed to predate the Great Deluge, the map was created using maps that are over 5000 years old.
An interesting letter issued by the USAF speaks about the Piri Resi map where LORENZO W. BURROUGHS Captain, USAF Chief, Cartographic Section 8th reconnaissance Technical Sqdn (SAC) Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts writes: The agreement of the Piri Reis Map with the seismic profile of this area made by the Norwegian-British-Swedish Expedition of 1949, supported by your solution of the grid, places beyond a reasonable doubt the conclusion that the original source maps must have been made before the present Antarctic ice cap covered the Queen Maud Land coasts.
However, other maps like the Zeno Map draws our attention since it predates the Piri Reis map, outlining the coast of modern-day Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Scotland, and Germany. In addition to that, the Zeno maps just happen to include the exact longitude and latitude of a number of islands. Why is this important? Well, it is because in order to determine longitude you would need to use a chronometer, a device that was invented in 1765. Even more incredibly, the Zeno Map appear to depict the topography of modern-day Greenland free of glaciers which means that someone had to have seen Greenland prior to the ice age.
“It appears that accurate information has been passed down from people to people. It appears that the charts must have originated with a people unknown and they were passed on, perhaps by the Minoans and the Phoenicians, who were, for a thousand years and more, the greatest sailors of the ancient world. We have evidence that they were collected and studied in the great library of Alexandria (Egypt) and the compilations of them were made by the geographers who worked there. Piri Reis had probably come into possession of charts once located in the Library of Alexandria, the well-known most important library of the ancient times,” — Dr. Charles Hapgood –Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (Turnstone books, London 1979, preface.
Even more interesting are the cartographical charts created by Iehudi Ibn ben Zara. His Map drawn around 1487 depicts certain regions of Britain covered in Glaciers. The map also displays islands in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. These islands exist still today, the only underwater, suggesting that whatever maps were used to create the cartographical chart of 1487, were from a time when our planet’s geology was much different, a time that perhaps could be traced back to the antediluvian period.
These ancient maps offer too many enigmas and questions and provide little to no answers at all, suggesting that in the distant past, going back at least 10,000 – 12,000 years advanced ancient civilizations existed on Earth, erecting incredible cities, accomplishing incredible feats, and exploring the planet with incredible precision.
Civilizations before history: Ancient Sumer and the Sumerian King list
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There have been numerous discoveries that seem to disagree with history as we know it. Ancient civilizations that predate our times are known to have existed across the globe, but who were they and were they that different from us? What were their beliefs? Their purpose and origin? That is something that has “bothered” archaeologists who are not convinced with their existence.
Ancient Egypt is one of the most incredible ancient civilizations to have inhabited our planet. According to history, Ancient Egypt came to be around 3000 BC. The earliest texts speak of ancient Mesopotamia around 4000 BC, but from these periods, if we travel further back in time, we will see that other civilizations inhabited our planet, and we are seeing evidence of their existence today.
Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock, authors of the book “The Orion Mystery”, were able to find out, using a computer program that recreated the astronomical landscape in the past, that the Giza plateau was positioned above the constellation of Orion at around 10500 BC. This is one of the pieces of evidence that has led researchers to believe that history as we know it is quite wrong.
Ancient texts speak of the great flood, a story that is repeated in numerous civilizations across the globe, the great flood has also been confirmed by the bible. On the other hand, mainstream history and archaeology seem to tell their own story and suggest that these ancient texts are misinterpreted and are only myths created by our ancestors. Researchers have done a fine job denying recorded history written and depicted on tablets, walls, sculptures and monuments.
In Ancient Mesopotamia we have very interesting pieces of ancient history. Mesopotamia is a Greek name meaning “between the rivers” this region spreads between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This vast area of land was composed of several regions such as Southern Sumer, Akkad, and Assyria to the North. In these regions, researchers have found evidence that speaks of a past that seems to disagree with our conventional way of looking at history.
Akkad for example, is a city located 50 km northwest of Babylon. It is commonly referred to as Akkad, Agade, Abu Habba, and Sippar, which means “city of books.” This ancient city was very popular because of their libraries. According to research, it was the capital of the eighth antediluvian monarch, Emenduranna, who reigned for 21,000 years. If we move 80km southeast of Babylon we will find the city of Nimrod and the tablets of Nimrod. Between 1880 and 1900 archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania excavated 50,000 tablets believed to have been written during the third millennium BC. Among their findings, archaeologists discovered a library of 20,000 volumes, dictionaries and complete works on religion, literature, law and science. Researchers also discovered a list of rulers that lived for thousands of years.
The Sumerian King list is perhaps, one of the most important archaeological discoveries. There are more than a dozen of copies of Sumerian King Lists, found in Babylon, Susa, and Assyria, and the Royal Library of Nineveh from the VII century BC. All of these are believed to originate from one original list believed to have been written during the Third Dynasty of Ur or even earlier. The best preserved specimen of the Sumerian King List is called the Weld-Blundell Prism, which is a clay, cuneiform inscribed vertical prism housed in the Ashmolean Museum. The Weld-Blundell Prism was written in cuneiform around 2170 BC by a scribe who signed as Nur-Ninsubur from the end of the Isin Dynasty. This incredible document provides a comprehensive list of the Sumerian Kings from the beginning, before the great flood, and the 10 kings who lived before the Flood who lived for thousands of years. The clay prism was found in Larsa, home of the fourth antediluvian king Kichunna, a few kilometers north of Ur.
The first part of the Sumerian King List:
-39 After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridug. In Eridug, Alulim became king he ruled for 28800 years. Alaljar ruled for 36000 years. 2 kings they ruled for 64800 years. Then Eridug fell and the kingship was taken to Bad-tibira. In Bad-tibira, En-men-lu-ana ruled for 43200 years. En-men-gal-ana ruled for 28800 years. Dumuzid, the shepherd, ruled for 36000 years. 3 kings they ruled for 108000 years. Then Bad-tibira fell (?) and the kingship was taken to Larag. In Larag, En-sipad-zid-ana ruled for 28800 years. 1 king he ruled for 28800 years. Then Larag fell (?) and the kingship was taken to Zimbir. In Zimbir, En-men-dur-ana became king he ruled for 21000 years. 1 king he ruled for 21000 years. Then Zimbir fell (?) and the kingship was taken to Curuppag. In Curuppag, Ubara-Tutu became king he ruled for 18600 years. 1 king he ruled for 18600 years. In 5 cities 8 kings they ruled for 241200 years. Then the flood swept over.”
The real meaning of the Sumerian King list is to demonstrate that the “royalty” came down from the heaven and a specific city was chosen to dominate over all others.
According to the Sumerian King List, after the flood this is how history continued:
After the flood had swept over, and the kingship had descended from heaven, the kingship was in Kic . In Kic , Jucur became king he ruled for 1200 years. Kullassina-bel ruled for 960 (ms. P2+L2 has instead: 900) years. Nanjiclicma ruled for (ms. P2+L2 has:) 670 (?) years. En-tarah-ana ruled for (ms. P2+L2 has:) 420 years ……, 3 months, and 3 1/2 days. Babum …… ruled for (ms. P2+L2 has:) 300 years. Puannum ruled for 840 (ms. P2+L2 has instead: 240) years. Kalibum ruled for 960 (ms. P2+L2 has instead: 900) years. Kalumum ruled for 840 (mss. P3+BT14, Su1 have instead: 900) years. Zuqaqip ruled for 900 (ms. Su1 has instead: 600) years. (In mss. P2+L2, P3+BT14, P5, the 10th and 11th rulers of the dynasty precede the 8th and 9th.) Atab (mss. P2+L2, P3+BT14, P5 have instead: Aba ) ruled for 600 years. Macda , the son of Atab , ruled for 840 (ms. Su1 has instead: 720) years. Arwium , the son of Macda , ruled for 720 years. Etana , the shepherd, who ascended to heaven and consolidated all the foreign countries, became king he ruled for 1500 (ms. P2+L2 has instead: 635) years. Balih , the son of Etana , ruled for 400 (mss. P2+L2, Su1 have instead: 410) years. En-me-nuna ruled for 660 (ms. P2+L2 has instead: 621) years. Melem-Kic , the son of En-me-nuna , ruled for 900 years. (ms. P3+BT14 adds:) 1560 are the years of the dynasty of En-me-nuna . Barsal-nuna , the son of En-me-nuna , (mss. P5, P3+BT14 have instead: Barsal-nuna ) ruled for 1200 years. Zamug , the son of Barsal-nuna , ruled for 140 years. Tizqar , the son of Zamug , ruled for 305 years. (ms. P3+BT14 adds:) 1620 + X ……. Ilku ruled for 900 years. Iltasadum ruled for 1200 years. En-men-barage-si , who made the land of Elam submit, became king he ruled for 900 years. Aga , the son of En-men-barage-si , ruled for 625 years. (ms. P3+BT14 adds:) 1525 are the years of the dynasty of En-men-barage-si . 23 kings they ruled for 24510 years, 3 months, and 3 1/2 days. Then Kic was defeated and the kingship was taken to E-ana .
What we have described in the Sumerian King list is something amazing since it tells us what exactly happened, who ruled and for how long. The only question that remains is… How did certain kings rule for thousands of years? Were they ordinary human beings? Or did they in fact come from the “heaven”?
4. Reading medieval records
Medieval records are generally much more difficult to use than those from the 16th century and later.
- they are usually in a highly abbreviated form of Latin
- the use of English starts to become more common in informal documents in the late 15th century, but Latin was used in formal records until 1733 (except during the Interregnum)
- the handwriting and letter forms are very different from those of the present day alphabet
- the terminology and contemporary meanings of words may be difficult to understand
Use our tutorials on Reading old documents to help you decipher the records. Alternatively you may wish to consult published sources for further guidance. We will not translate or read documents on your behalf.
Activity 4. How Did the Flintstones Really Live?
To give your students a broader understanding of cave paintings and Paleolithic humans, students can explore other caves in France and compare their findings from several caves. They can then describe what is common to all the cave art they saw, and note some of the unique aspects of art in different caves.
The Cosquer Cave—This website describes the Cosquer Cave located at Cape Morgiou, near Marseilles on the Mediterranean Sea. The unique feature of this cave is that it contains several dozen works painted and engraved between 27,000 and 19,000 years ago. It is decorated with a variety of land animals, but also with seals and auks, fifty-five hand stencils, and numerous digital markings, dozens of geometric symbols, as well as the extraordinary representation of a "slain man." Like the Cave at Lascaux, the Cosquer Cave is closed to the general public in order to keep it protected, but a virtual tour of the cave is available at the above website.
For a general overview, you can check out the following features:
The Cosquer Cave tells us a bit more about human activities during the Paleolithic period. Students should be delighted to see stencils and positive and negative impressions of human hands similar to ones they have made as art projects for parents. Point out that some fingers are shortened or missing. Ask students what they think the significance of this evidence is. [Scholars speculate that it could indicate deliberate (ritual) or accidental mutilation or perhaps a form of coded communication, similar to sign language for hunting rituals or instructions, according to information on the website.]
The Cave of Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc—This cave website has general background information on the evidence for Aurignacian peoples found in Germany, Austria, France, Spain, and Slovakia. Click on "Time and Space," "Archaeological Context," and, for climate and environmental conditions, clickon "Geographic Context." According to the information found on the website, this archaeological site is a particularly important find for the Upper Paleolithic period because the cave was found in the Ard è che region of France, not the area generally associated with a proliferation of cave art sites. Not only are there animals here rarely depicted in cave art(for example, lions) but also the dynamic and sophisticated quality of their representation is extraordinary.
Student Activity K-2—The questions tailored for Lascaux in Parts 1 through 3 can be applied to the other caves mentioned in Part 4. Customize the LaunchPad by adding links to cave images that you've discovered in the cave websites above. You can also assign groups to explore each cave and report on their findings. [Note: For Part 1 of the LaunchPad, you may want to direct students to several specific areas of the cave to explore to make it easier for them to find the Chinese Horse, the Back-to-Back Bison, the human figure with the bird-like head, etc.]
You may want to use questions like these to get students involved and start the discussion:
9.8 THE SPREAD OF AGRICULTURE AND GREAT ZIMBABWE
Most of the languages indigenous to Africa belong to one of the major language groups shown in Map 9.9. Over the past several decades, historians of Africa have started to pay more attention to these language groups. They use comparisons of core vocabulary words in related languages to examine the spread of ancient technologies and the interaction between peoples. Using linguis-tics (the study of languages), historians corroborate information found in other sources, like oral traditions of dynastic origins and archaeological findings.
Today’s scholars are not the first ones to notice linguistic similarities on the continent. During European colonization one hundred and fifty years ago, anthropologists grouped Africans into “tribes” based on presumed physical, cultural, and linguistic similarites. Involved in this classification, anthropologists and others noticed striking similarities amongst the languages spoken by about 400 different ethnic groups in the southern and eastern third of the continent. They found that people in most of Sub-Saharan Africa spoke languages that used the root –ntu to refer to person, with the prefix ba- added in the plural. Combining the root and the plural prefix, nineteenth-century colonial anthropologists referred to people in these communities as Bantu and later traced Bantu languages back to a root, a mother language spoken in parts of Cameroon and Nigeria. To explain the similarities in the languages, European scholars hypothesized that about 2,000 years ago there was a Bantu Migration, a massive departure of thousands of Bantu speakers from the Bantu homeland. As they described, Bantu-speakers imposed iron technology and traditions of agriculture on the peoples they encountered in eastern and southern Africa. Influenced by their own conceptions of colonization, nineteenth century anthropologists portayed the Bantu Migration as a rapid conquest of Sub-Saharan hunter-gatherer societies by the technologically advanced, Iron Age Bantu speakers.
Since the 1990s, historians of Africa have used linguistics to reject some pieces of the nineteenth-century description of the Bantu Migration. Referring instead to Bantu expansions, they generally agree that the movement of Bantu speakers was more of a slow diffusion of languages and technologies that lasted about 4500 years, from roughly 3000 BCE to 1500 CE. Bantu speakers took multiple routes, and sometimes their movement occurred on the scale of a single family, as opposed to a mass of thousands. From the linguistic evidence, historians also suspect that both Bantu speakers and those they settled amongst contributed ideas and technologies there was mutual “teaching and learning from one another.”  The current view of the Bantu expansions is much more complex as it recognizes give and take between Bantu newcomers and indigenous populations. For example, some indigenous populations rejected Bantu languages, while others repackaged Bantu technologies incorporat-ing their own innovations. There was no Bantu migratory conquest of indigenous communities. Instead, the study of linguistics seems to confirm that Bantu languages, iron-working, and agriculture slowly spread through eastern and southern Africa in the early centuries CE.
These corrections are important because they allow scholars to much more accurately discuss state formation in southern Africa. In the colonial era, European scholars sometimes jumped to misleading conclusions when they encountered evidence of early African states. For example, in 1871 when the German geographer Carl Maunch saw the ruins of an impressive civilization, Great Zimbabwe, he concluded that people from Yemen must have built the grand structures. Biased by nineteenth-century racism, Maunch assumed that Africans were incapable of statehood and the skilled masonry techniques evident at Great Zimbabwe. Subsequent Europeans reached similar conclusions upon viewing the site, attributing the civilization to Phoenecians and Arabs. Some white supremicists in southern Africa clung onto this fabricated history of Great Zimbabwe’s foreign origins until the early 1990s.
In the meantime, a number of scholars had confirmed the African origins of Great Zimbabwe. Archaeologists showed that Great Zimbabwe had features, like stone masonry and rituals involving cattle, found in nearby African kingdoms. Historians used oral tradition and linguistics to track African state formation in the region and show that Great Zimbabwe was a Bantu civilization. Archaeologists and historians concluded that from approximately 1200 to 1450 CE, Great Zimbabwe was the thriving commercial and political center of a rich southern African state.
During the Middle Ages, a prosperous elite based in Great Zimbabwe ruled over about 300 settlements on the Zimbabwe Plateau. Great Zimbabwe and the linked settlements had similarly constructed walled enclosures, practiced mixed farming (they grew crops and kept livestock), and used iron, copper, and bronze. The 300 settlements paid tribute in the form of ivory, gold, cattle, and crops to the rulers in Great Zimbabwe. The wealth generated through the collection of tribute helped Great Zimbabwe become a center of trade and artistry. Great Zimbabwe exported gold and ivory to cities like Sofala and Kilwa Kisanwani, on the East African coast. From the coast, these goods were carried to the Persian Gulf, India, and China. In exchange, Great Zimbabwe’s elite imported luxury items like stoneware, colored glass beads, and cotton. Out of these imports, artisans based in Great Zimbabwe made jewelry, ornaments, and cloth for elite consumption.
The architectural evidence of Great Zimbabwe’s social hierachies is one of the most dramatic elements of the site’s ruins. Covering three square miles, the ruins of Great Zimbabwe consists of many clusters of stone buildings. The most famous structures are the Hill Complex (Figure 9.13) and the Great Enclosure (Figure 9.12). The stone buildings were constructed with local granite, and the stones were stacked without mortar. Scholars hypothesize that the ruling elite resided and performed ceremonies on the Hill Complex, symbolically demonstrating their authority with the height and separation of the complex. From about 1300 CE, more than 15,000 people lived in the valley below them in small, circular homes with thatched roofs and walls made of clay and gravel. The Hill Complex overlooked a number of other structures, including the famous Great Enclosure. With its stone walls up to thirty-five feet tall, the Great Enclosure was the largest structure in precolonial sub -Saharan Africa. The Great Enclosure was a ceremonial site, perhaps used by religious leaders or as a site for the initation of youth. Scholars disagree about its exact function, but suggest that the Great Enclosure further demonstrated the status and wealth of the capital city and the ruling classes.
Great Zimbabwe declined in the fifteenth century and was abandoned by 1450 CE. Some scholars suggest that the site deteriorated because it was supporting up to 30,000 people and thus became too crowded, deforested, and stripped bare of resources through overuse. Surrounding gold mines may have also been depleted. In any case, trade shifted to support the rise of two new kingdoms, Batua to the west and Mutapa to the east. Both kingdoms built stone walls like those seen in Great Zimbabwe and practiced mixed agriculture, using cattle for ceremonies and as symbols of the ruling elite’s power. From the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries, the kingdoms also faced the Portuguese and the influx of other African populations. The Mutapa Kingdom lasted the longest, enduring until 1760. Overall, this rewritten history of southern African statehood acknowledges the significance of the Bantu expansions that brought agriculture and iron to many regions. It also celebrates the African origins of great civilizations and demonstrates how Africans shared technologies and cultural practices across the Zimbabwean plateau.
Vikings History — Norse Mythology
In the world of Norse mythology, we find gods and goddesses, giants, strange and powerful creatures, elves, dwarves and land spirits. It is difficult for a 21st century person to conceive of the worldview of the Vikings, brimming as it was with such a variety of spiritual beings.
Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds
The center of the Vikings’ cosmos is the ash tree Yggdrasil, growing out of the Well of Urd. Yggdrasil holds the Nine Worlds, home of gods, man and all spiritual beings. The gods live in Asgard and Vanaheim and humans inhabit Midgard. Giants live in Jotunheim, elves in Alfheim and dwarves in Svartalfheim. Another is the primordial world of ice, Niflheim, while Muspelheim is the world of fire. The last world comprises Hel, the land of the dead, ruled by the goddess Hel.
Gods and Goddesses
The gods and goddesses venerated by the Vikings are Odin, Thor, Loki, Baldur, Frigg, Freya, Freyr and Njoror. There are many other gods and goddesses in the Norse pantheon but these received the primary attention in the sagas and eddas.
- Odin, the allfather, the one-eyed seeker of wisdom, god of magic, war and runes, hung himself on Yggdrasil for nine days and nights to find wisdom, brought the runes to mankind
- Thor, with his magic hammer Mjolnir, protects mankind and his realm of Midgard, god of warriors
- Loki, a dangerous half-god, half-giant trickster always wreaking havoc among the gods
- Baldur, son of Odin and Frigg, a beautiful and gracious god, beloved of all, killed by Loki’s trickery
- Frigg, wife of Odin, practitioner of magic, goddess of the home, mother of Baldur
- Freya, feather-cloaked goddess of love and fertility but also of war and death
- Freyr, her brother, god of farming, agriculture, fertility and prosperity
- Njoror, powerful god of the sea
Giants, Elves, Dwarves and Land Spirits
Giant is not a good name for these spiritual beings think of them as devourers, out to destroy order and return the world to primeval chaos. They are the enemies of gods, but also their relatives. Giants are dangerous to mankind, which is why Thor often hunts them. Elves and dwarves appear in the sagas, but are different from what we might picture them to be. Dwarves are miners and smiths and live underground. They are invisible, powerful spiritual beings, not short humans. Elves are also spiritual beings, demi-gods who can mate with mankind and have children with them.
Land spirits inhabit everything on the land—trees, herbs, stones and bodies of water. The land spirits (landvaettir in Old Norse) hold considerable power over the well being of the land and those who live on it. People took care to honor and placate the landvaettir. In the first law of Iceland, Vikings were told to remove the dragon heads from their ships when approaching land so they wouldn’t frighten the land spirits.
Norse mythology is intricate and complex and we’ve presented just the barest bones here. See the resources page for further information on this fascinating aspect of the Vikings’ belief system.
A British tribe of Scotland, the name is thought to mean 'hunters'.
The Roman geographer Ptolemy places them in the Southern uplands of Scotland, although it is not clear from the little evidence we have as to exactly where this people lived. Some scholars place their location as the upper Tweed Basin, and it is unclear if they were part of the Votadini.
The Selgovae might have used Eildon Seat as their principal settlement, but this might have been a Votadinian site.
Like the Votandini, they were conquered in AD 79-80 by the Roman army.
What does the Bible say about cavemen, prehistoric men, neanderthals?
The Bible does not use the term caveman or Neanderthals. So, according to the Bible there is no such thing as “prehistoric” man, in that sense. The Bible gives no indication that Adam and Eve accidentally evolved from lower life forms. Nor does it give any explicit indication that there were human-like beings prior to man.
With that said, the Bible does describe a period of traumatic upheaval upon the earth&mdashthe flood (Genesis 6&ndash9), during which time civilization was utterly destroyed except for eight people. Humanity was forced to start over. It is in this historical context that some scholars believe men lived in caves and made use of stone tools. These men were not primitive they were simply destitute. And they certainly were not half ape. The fossil evidence is quite clear: cavemen were human men who lived in caves.
Fossilized ape remains have occasionally been interpreted as a transition between ape and men. Most people think of these interpretations when they imagine cavemen. They picture furry half-men, half-ape creatures crouched in a cave next to a fire, drawing on the walls with their newly developed stone tools. This is a common misconception. And, as far as Darwinian paleo-anthropology goes, we should keep in mind that these interpretations reflect a peculiar worldview and are not the result of the evidence. In fact, not only is there major opposition to these interpretations within the academic community, but the Darwinists themselves do not entirely agree among themselves on the details.
Unfortunately, the popular mainstream view promotes this idea that man and ape both evolved from the same ancestor, but this is certainly not the only plausible interpretation of the available evidence. In fact, there is no evidence in favor of this particular interpretation.
When God created Adam and Eve, they were fully developed human beings, capable of communication, society, and development (Genesis 2:19&ndash25 3:1&ndash20 4:1&ndash12). It is almost entertaining to consider the lengths evolutionary scientists go to “prove” the existence of prehistoric cavemen. They find a misshapen tooth in a cave and from that create a misshapen human being who lived in a cave, hunched over like an ape. There is no way that science can prove the existence of cavemen by a fossil. Evolutionary scientists simply have a theory, and then they force the evidence to fit the theory. Adam and Eve were the first human beings ever created and were fully formed, intelligent, and upright.