Unit 1: Ancient Africa - The Cradle of Civilation
(200,000 BC - 476 BC)

Unit 1: Class 3: The Beginnings of Civilization


Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, students 
will be able to:

  • Explain why European scholars of the 17th-19th centuries proclaimed that Africa had no history and that Africans where primitive, “child-like” people with no sense of culture.

  • Provide evidence of Africa’s many contributions to civilization.

  • Provide evidence of the African origins of Ancient Egypt.

  • Recognize the positive portrayals of Africans in Renaissance European art. 

Study Questions

From AFRICA, A Voyage of Discovery: Different but Equal - Episode 1
1. What was the stone structure that a German prospector stumbled upon?
2. Why would Europeans fabricate explanations for who built the stone structure?
3. What were some of the views of 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Hegel and English explorer Richard Burton regarding African and African history?
4. True or False? According to Davidson, racism is a modern invention. People of antiquity did not assess people’s worth and intelligence based on “race.”

5. How where black people represented in early European Renaissance art?
6. Who was considered to be a revered saint in Central Europe during the Renaissance?
7. In the 17th-19th centuries there was a dynamic shift in European attitude toward black people. What was it and why did it occur?
8. How long did ancient Egyptian civilization last before it was ultimately conquered?
9. What did the double crown represent?
10. According to Davidson, what color did ancient Egyptians portray themselves in ancient paintings and sculptures?
11. How did the early Greek historians view the various races of the known world? Including Africans? Why do you think this is the case?
12. Who was the Egyptian king of the south was so highly regarded, considered a master of the world Gods and was also mentioned in the Bible, in the Book of Kings?
13. What is the relationship between the ancient people of Meroe and the modern day Nubians?
14. What is Davidson’s theory of what the large complex of stone buildings, found in the Butana Desert, were used for? Why does he think this? What evidence is there?

From Slideshow: How the ancient Egyptians Depicted Themselves
1. Based on the images from the slideshow, what color do the ancient Egyptians paint themselves? Is is "almost always" reddish pink?

Learning Tools
User's Guide
Class Evaluation

Unit 1: Class 2: Unit 1: Class 2: Out of Africa – The Origins of Humanity Part 2

Suggested Vocabulary
Randomly ask students the definition of one of the following words. Then ask them to put the word in a sentence. This is a great exercise for the beginning or end of a class, or if you finish a class early.

migrate - (of a person) move from one area or country to settle in another, especially in search of work.

sustainable -  able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

hierarchy - a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority.

depict - show or represent by a drawing, painting, or other art form.

reiterate - say something again or a number of times, typically for emphasis or clarity.

Grading Scale

15 questions. Each question is worth
7 points

1 incorrect, grade 93 - A

2 incorrect, grade 86 - B

3 incorrect, grade 79 - C+

4 incorrect, grade 72 - C​

5 incorrect, grade 65 - D

6 incorrect, grade :(