Chapter 1 - Early Humans and the Nomadic Lifestyle


If there is one thing that we ALL take for granted, its the concept that we have a home. For some of us, that home is a house that we own. For others, its an apartment that they rent. For others its the house of a relative. The point is, almost all of us know where we will be going tonight. We know that we will have a spot where our stuff is and where we can rest safely.

For the first humans (or the creatures we today call human), this was not the case. Their "home" was often a tent, made of animal hides, that they would move throughout the year.

Why would they do this? Simple. Food.

Try to consider how lucky you are that in our time (and our country), food comes to us! Yup. Sounds simple, I know, but its actually quite amazing. For example, lets order a pizza....

A plain pizza has several key ingredients.
1) Dough - made from wheat and yeast.
2) Sauce - made from tomatoes, onions, garlic and assorted spices.
3) Cheese - made from the milk of a water buffalo.

So, it has ingredients that come from all over the world, brought by hundreds of people to your local area. There, your favorite local pizzeria takes these ingredients, assembles them, cooks them and then hires some teenager to deliver it to your house!

Pretty sweet deal, no?

Think about just how much work went into that pizza. That type of work wouldn't have been possible for early humans. It's not because they were stupid (they were just as smart as we are). It's because they couldn't stay in one place!

Early humans were nomads. This means they lived by following food sources. They didn't farm, they didn't fish. Instead, they hunted and gathered. So....nomads are hunter-gatherers who move their homes from area to area in search of food.

Hunting required following herds of animals. The males would hunt to bring home large protein-based meals and to compete for status within the tribe.

Women of the tribe would do the gathering. This actually brought home more food than hunting did. They would gather nuts, fruits and berries as they could for the tribe to eat. Women were also responsible for raising the children and taking care of the community while the men hunted.


1. Today, hunting is usually (though not always) a male activity. Do you think this has anything to do with the way the earliest humans lived a hundred thousand years ago? Expand upon your answer.

2. Do you think these nomadic groups of humans were fairly large or fairly small? Why?