I suppose the evidence that you want is in the very same wikipedia article about make, where it says precisely that shell scripts were used before make came along.
However, please remember I am here asking a question. I am not promoting any views about these matters which are secondary to the question. There is no onus on me to prove anything. If you are interested in my views and I doubt you are, you can email me privately. I will not indulge you in further public exchanges no matter how provocative you try to be. "Put up or shut up" indeed.