Story Telling Time

Its hard to imagine that just a few decades ago, it was difficult for families to pass on information to one another in a manner that is elegant and concise. Human beings have come a long way since the time they learn words to speak to one another. Even though our stone age cultures are regarded as primitive, they had developed complex languages they had used to communicate with one another. Honestly speaking stone age cultures were not that primitive, they had developed very advanced and complex societies with different members of the community partaking different roles to support the community, this is called division of labor and specialization, an environment where everyone performs different roles in the society based on their skills and physical or intellectual capacity. There were potters, farmers, blacksmiths, fishermen, herbalists, soldiers and many more categories, each one playing their own unique role based on their ability in order to support the community, there are many more things the prehistoric peoples did that have not been put into records nor ever taking credit for. There are several stages through which communication evolved from the ancients to our modern-day societies. We shall discuss each one of them here below.

1. Beating of Drums

The ancient folks used the skins of killed animals, usually the domesticated ones to make drums, sometimes the skin of wild animals can be used to make drums but the best skins were those of domestic animals especially the cows, goats and ship. Drum making was a very hectic process and it required several weeks if not months of preparation. After an animal is killed, let’s say a cow. The skin is soaked in water for several days then removed, after being allowed to dry for a few minutes, the hairy hairs are scraped off so that only a smooth skin is left behind, the skin is then soaked in water for a few more days before it is removed again to dry, in the meantime, a huge tree trunk is chopped off from a tree then hollowed out to look like a barrel, once done, skilled artisans then carefully sow the skin of the cow onto the hollowed out tree trunk the put out in the sun to dry, it can be  smeared with animal oils or whatever the oils that the artisans see fit. This is such that there are not cracks anywhere on the trunk, once done the drum is ready to entertain the community.

 

Different communities have different rhythms to which they beat their drums. So, it’s this difference in the style, size and pattern of drum beatings that different kinds of communication is passed on to the other members of the community. There are different shapes and sizes of drums that are made, short & wide drums make loud base sounds while long and narrow ones make high pitch sounds. Different styles of drum beatings are used for different occasions, like the

 

  1. Planting Seasons
  2. Harvest Seasons
  3. welcoming newborns
  4. wedding ceremony,
  5. Death and Funeral Ceremonies,
  6. Warning to your neighbors
  7. War and strife.

Apart from just the usual roles of providing entertainment to the communities, drums have ended up serving a more useful and wider ranges of purposes in the everyday life of the ancients. And whenever you heard a drumbeat, there was always some kind of news around the corner, be it good or bad, people appreciated the importance of Drums.

2. Smoke and Fire Signals

Another way the ancients used to communicate to one another was the use of smoke and fire signals. However, this method of communication was only useful during the daytime when the sky Is clear and the wind is calm. The weather conditions have to be perfect for this kind of communication method to work. For example, when it’s raining, the fires won’t be able to burn properly to produce enough smoke to reach the skies. Communities living several miles away may not be able to see the smoke, and also, when the wind is blowing wildly, the smoke may not be able to rise properly into the skies to be seen from afar. Or when its partially cloudy, people won’t be able to distinguish the smoke signal from the atmospheric clouds.

3. Horn Blowing

Another communication tool for the ancients was the use of horns for blowing. Horns which are hollowed out animal horns such as cows performed very important roles in the communications of the Past. Sometimes they were part and parcel of everyday celebrations, they were used alongside other forms of communication such as drumbeating. Drums and horns always went along with one another in the ancient past ceremonies. Big loud horns can he heard from many miles way and therefore proved to be an effective way of communication since messages could be passed immediately. Blowing a horn can be quite difficult at first but once you get the hang of it becomes a simple breeze. You need to have perfectly working lungs before you can think of blowing a horn, otherwise if you don’t, you may start having breathing Problems, because it takes a lot of air out of your lungs.

4. Messengers

Messengers in the past were people who travelled long distances to deliver message directly to the recipient through the word of mouth. So, the sender had to wait for days, weeks or even months before the message could reach the recipient and then back. Messengers chose different modes of transport depending on the urgency of the message, an urgent message especially one concerning danger may require a fast runner to take the message there as soon as possible. The messengers especially ones that travel long distances often used pack animals to deliver their messages, donkeys, camels and horses were the favorite choices. Horses were the fastest form of transport in the ancient world and therefore were used to relay the most urgent of messages. A horse can cover a distance that takes months to cover on foot in just a few days. Horses were however were quite expensive and therefore remained the reserve of the rich, the poor man always had to use a donkey or send a runner.

5. Letter Writing

Writing evolved differently in different places across the world. The Egyptians invented hieroglyphics, a use of pictures to represent words, the Chinese had their own writing while the Sumerians had cuneiform, use of shapes in different formats to represent words.  Even though writing was invented a very long time ago, it faced a lot of hurdles because the written word had to be delivered to the recipient through the help of a messenger or some kind of courier, so despite their early invention, technology was still very slow, it took days, weeks and even months for written Papyrus scrolls to travel from one destination to another. The industrial Revolution improved the delivery time of letters, the invention of cars, trains and plains means that letters can be now delivered to their destination on the same day. Yes, you just have to wait for a few hours and not days before your message could reach the required destination. Postal Services sprung up on almost every corner of the planet in the last two centuries as a result of the modern technologies.

 

6. E-Mail and Cell Phone

Perhaps the most revolutionary technology in communication is the invention of modern instant messaging services, when computers were being invented in the nineties. The world wide web emerged as a new communication tool. People from different parts of the world can communicate with one another instantly as if they are in the same room. There are a lot of instant messaging apps put there on the web these days, all you need to do is to log in to your account and start chatting right away.

7. Telephone

No one could have fathomed that just a few generations ago people will be communicating with one another instantly, for the most part of human history message communication was predefined to very slow means which we never realized it was a problem until when we invented much faster ways of doing the same. It’s the invention of the telegraph and the telephone that paved way for the invention of the internet and the creation of the world wide web. These technologies were unthinkable just a short while ago, yet we are here living through it. The current generation is growing up in a world where they are surrounded by technology which they often take for granted. Having a face-to-face live chat with your friends across the country is something that the new generation is living through.

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