Tagged with "Elementary grades"
Rubber People? MesoAmerican ballgame? What are those?
Category: History
Tags: Ancient history Charlotte Mason Elementary grades Bible civilizations


Olmec Civilization c. 1600 BC to c. 1000 BC

Another civilization appeared in southern Mexico around the same time as the Maya. This civilization is known as the Olmec and they settled on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico (in the current states of Veracruz and Tabasco) directly north of where the Maya lived. No one knows what the Olmec called themselves. The name Olmec comes the Aztec language and means "rubber people." They were given this name due to their mastery of the use of rubber.

The first real evidence that we have for the early stages of the Olmec culture comes from a bog called El Manatí in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. The Olmecs used this site from approximately 1600 B.C. until 1200 B.C. Archaeologists have discovered some interesting objects in this bog including wooden sculptures, ceremonial weapons, rubber balls, and babies' bones. No one knows how the babies died, but each set of bones has its own wooden sculpture. The wooden sculptures are busts (the torso, shoulders, and head of a human figure). Most of the the wooden busts were wrapped before being buried. Each one had an individual facial expression and each one was buried with different objects.

Also found in the bog were rubber balls buried together with axes, pottery, knives, beads, and more. These objects were carefully placed in specific patterns and not just thrown in a pile. The rubber balls were formed by taking natural rubber and changing its chemical makeup in a process called vulcanization. This process causes the rubber to be less sticky and hold its shape. The discovery of these rubber balls caused archaeologists to consider the Olmec as possible creators of the Mesoamerican ballgame. This ballgame was very popular among later cultures in that region. No one knows the exact rules, but the general idea seemed to be keeping a rubber ball in play by hitting it against a high wall with one's hip. This game was, of course, played for fun sometimes. However, given the elaborate ballcourts that were built, it is highly likely that the game had some ceremonial function as well.

A solid rubber ball used or similar to those used in the Mesoamerican ballgame, from Kaminaljuyu, 300 BC to 250 AD.With a manopla, or handstone, used to strike the ball, also from Kaminaljuyu, 900 BC to 250 AD.The ball is 3 inches (almost 8 cm) in diameter, a size that suggests it was used to play a hand ball. A mitten-shaped space has been carved out for the player's hand. The handstone was probably strapped in place. The far side of the stone is worn nearly smooth where it struck the ball, putting spin on it. Traces of rubber still adhere to the surface.
Photo by Madman2001


Category: History
Tags: Ancient history Charlotte Mason Elementary grades Bible civilizations

DO YOU KNOW WHAT DRAGON BONES ARE? If not, read this free excerpt below from Honour of Kings' Ancient and American History Book 1.


Ox scapula with a divination inscription from the Shang Dynasty, dating to the reign of King Wu Ding. Unearthed at Anyang, Henan Province. Held at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo by BabelStone 2011

The discovery of physical proof of the Shang dynasty happened because of an illness. Just before 1900, the director of the Imperial College in China (Wang Yirong) was sick with malaria. His doctor told him to take Long gu (Dragon Bones) as medicine. (Dragon bones are fossilized animal bones that are ground into a powder. They have high amounts of calcium, potassium, and sodium.)

Director Wang noticed that some of the bones at the pharmacy were carved with inscriptions. He believed that they might be early Chinese texts. He sent his assistant to find out where the bones came from and eventually, it was determined that the origin was a little village named Xiaotun. This site is now called Yinxu and it is located on the west side of Anyang city, China. Yinxu is located just north of the Yellow River and is believed to have been the last capital of the Shang dynasty of China.

In 1917, Wang Guowei was able to decipher the portion of some writing on the bones that contained the Shang kings. This allowed him to construct a genealogy which was very similar to list found in the history of China written by the Grand Historian Sima Qian. This caused archaeologists to become even more interested in these bones.

Historians soon called these bones "oracle bones" because they contained information about the Shang dynasty of China. The oracle bones were formed when a king or his magicians would use a hot poker to produce cracks in a turtle shell or cattle shoulder bone while they asked a question which they wanted answered. They would look at the cracks to see if they had gotten a favorable or unfavorable answer to the question. The engravers would then carve the question, the answer, and sometimes even the result into the bone or shell. From these oracle bones, archaeologists have learned that the Shang dynasty had a well-developed and organized written language.


Tower of Babel MYTHS? Yes, they exist, too!
Category: History
Tags: Ancient history Charlotte Mason Elementary grades Bible civilizations

Everyone knows that there are CREATION MYTHS and FLOOD MYTHS, but did you also know there are TOWER OF BABEL MYTHS? We are excited to see God's "fingerprints" all over world history! Aren't you?

Check out this excerpt from Honour of Kings - Homeschool Curriculum & More's Ancient and American History Book 1 (http://honourofkings.com/?page_id=23):

Sumer: In a Sumerian myth called Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, a man named Enmerkar built a very large tower to worship a false god. (The Sumerians called this type of tower a ziggurat. Zigurrats were Sumerian temples.) Enmerkar was building this ziggurat in Eridu and wanted Aratta, who apparently was a king in another land, to provide materials for its construction. Sometime during its construction, Enmerkar asked the god Enki to let the people speak in one language again so that they could all talk to Enlil in one language.

Central American Cultures: A myth from Mexico says that a giant named Xelhua was one of seven giants rescued from a great flood. After the flood, Xelhua built the Great Pyramid of Cholula to reach and attack heaven. The gods destroyed the pyramid with fire and also made the builders speak different languages so they could not understand each other. (Note: This account was told by a 100 year old priest at Cholula to a Dominican friar named Diego Duran who lived from 1537 - 1588 AD shortly after the conquest of Mexico by Spain.)

Another native tribe in Mexico called the Toltecs believed that men multiplied after a great flood. They soon built a tall "zacuali" (tower) in case another flood happened. However, something happened that caused their languages to be changed and each group moved to a different part of the earth. (Note: Recorded by the native historian Don Ferdinand d'Alva Ixtilxochitl who lived from c. 1565 - 1648 AD.)

The Tohono O'odham Indians who lived in the southern part of Arizona and northern part of Mexico taught that Montezuma escaped a large flood. After this flood, he became wicked and tried to build a house which could reach heaven. However, the Great Spirit destroyed it with lightning.

Africa: When David Livingstone met with some Africans who lived near Lake Ngami in 1849, he learned they had a story similar to the tower of Babel. However, in this story, the builders' heads got "cracked" when the building platforms fell.

The Lozi tribe in Africa had a myth which told the story of wicked men who built a tower of masts to get to the Creator-God Nyambe, who had fled to Heaven on a spider-web. However, the men died when the masts collapsed.

The Ashanti tribe who also lived in Africa had a similar story, except for the fact that in their story the tower was built of "porridge pestles" instead of masts. (A pestle is a heavy object shaped like a small baseball bat which is used to crush a substance to a powder.)

The Kongo people of Africa told a story about men who stacked poles or trees to reach the moon. These men failed in their attempt.

The Karen people of Burma have traditions of the story of creation, the flood, the tower of Babel and the confusion of languages. In their tower of Babel story, they say that their ancestors came to their current location after leaving a great pagoda (temple) in a different land. The languages were confused and so they separated themselves from the other tribes in the area.

South Pacific and India: In the Admiralty Islands in the South Pacific, one of the local tribes has a story about the languages of men being confused after they tried (and failed) to build houses which reached heaven. The Tharu tribe of Nepal near northern India has a similar story which was recorded in a census taken in Bengal in 1872 AD.


Sumerian ziggurat:

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