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Evolution of Communication: Prehistory to the 15th Century

Graphic style image of a pigeon carrying a letter while flying over blue skys and clouds.
Category - General
by Ann Holtzapple on September 11th, 2017

Evolution of Communication is our latest ebook that explores the development of human communication methods from prehistoric times until today. This is the first of a three-part blog series that highlights the in-depth information available in that publication.

Ever wonder how our methods of communication got to where they are today? I don’t know many people who are comfortable without their trusty smartphone at their side at all times, but this, of course, was not always a possibility. It may be hard to believe that we could survive without the instantaneous communication of a quick text or phone call, but history shows that we have for centuries.

Prehistoric Times
Imagine needing to tell someone across town an important message. In 2015, you have many technological options to choose from to do this. In prehistoric times, your options would have been very limited.

In these times, the use of fire, smoke, and horns were effective ways for groups or individuals to communicate the need for assistance or to share information about important events. Smoke signals were especially useful as a tracking tool. In a time before maps existed, groups moving from one location to another could follow each other by following “directions” made from smoke.

5th Century
In the 5th century, people relied on pigeons to carry messages to nearby towns and communities. Using the pigeon’s homing skills, humans could send birds from their original nesting place to a second destination, from which they would safely return home. With this method, people could send personal letters or official documents in much the same way as modern airmail.

4th to 15th Centuries
Hydraulic and maritime Semaphores were a popular method of communication, especially at sea. First popularized by the Greeks, semaphores were used to relay coded messages through a series of containers filled with water, floating rods, and various symbols. Messages were sent by lowering and raising water heights to predetermined amounts.

So, are you ready to trade in your smartphone for a prehistoric horn? How about sending a “text” message via a carrier pigeon? It’s up to you (hey, they are wireless)! However, I think I will stick to my cell phone for now.

Blog series Evolution of Communication Part 2.  Text over blue background with green button reading Click to View Our Blog
Slideshare - Saving Time with Communication. Text over blue background with green button reading View Slideshare