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Anthropology: Agriculture, Hunters & Gatherers

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Katy Seto

on 26 August 2013

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Transcript of Anthropology: Agriculture, Hunters & Gatherers

Anthropology: Agriculture, Hunters & Gatherers
Anthropology, Chapter 11, The first farmers
- Food production and domestication arose independently in at least seven different areas including
o Middle East
o Northern China
o Southern China
o Sub-Saharan Africa
o Mesoamerica/central Mexico
o Eastern United States
oAndean region/Central Andes

The Mesolithic
Mesolithic - referring to the middle part of the stone age.
During this period people were using tools such as a 'Microlith' - Greek for small stone.
These tools were used for animal hunting.
Time past and about 10,000 B.P Glaciers retreated so much that hunting, gathering and fishing populations had to move to the British Isles and Scandinavia.
This was the beginning of a new range of hunting
- Forest animals such as (Wild pigs, roe deer, wild ox).
The Middle East

- Plant cultivation and animal domestication had to begin in areas with reliable rainfall
- Places like Ali Kosh, on the border of Hilly Flanks was where food production emerged (look onto map)
- Climate change played a big role in the origin of food production.
- The end of the ice age provided better regional and local variation in climate conditions.
o People were able to live settled lives with good resources to food and water.
- Climate changed toward warmer, more humid conditions (12,500 – 10,000 B.P) expanding the altitude range of wild wheat and barley – Longer harvest season.
- Second climate change to even drier conditions.
o Wild cereal dried up
o Zone for foraging shrank.
- People needed to leave and go somewhere they could grow their wheat.
- Population pressure on more limited resources forced people in marginal zones to become the first food producers.

Genetic changes and domestication
- A few differences between wild and domesticated plants are –
o Seeds of domesticated cereals, often the entire plants are larger.
o In very dry weather, wild wheat and barley ripen – the axes totally disintegrating – in just three days.
o A problem with wild cereal is the edible portion is enclosed in a tough husk. People could only brake open this husk if they roasted the grain and waited until the husk was brittle enough to come off.
- Wild sheep were not woolly. Wool coats were products of domestication.
o Wool coats offer protection against extreme heat. And had the additional advantage for clothing.
- Plants got larger with domestication, animals got smaller – probably because smaller animals were easier to control.

Europe and Asia
- Around 8,000 B.P communities on Europe's Mediterranean shores in Greece, Italy and France started moving from foraging to farming using imported species.
- China was one of the first world areas to develop farming, based on Millet (Tall, coarse cereal grass grown in warm countries - Northern China) and rice.
- Millet farming paved the way for widespread village life and eventually for Shang Dynasty civilization between 3600 and 3100 B.P
- Northern China had also domesticated dogs, pigs, and possibly cattle, goats and sheep by 7000 B.P.
- Southern China was rice aquaculture in subtropical wetlands. The winters were mild and rain was reliable
- By 7500 B.P bother the Northern and Southern areas of China had enough food production to support stable villages.

The Neolithic
- The later part of the stone age.
- A new economy was beginning.
- substantial changes in humans lifestyles due to food production.
- 10,000 B.P domesticated plants were becoming part of a broad spectrum of resources.
- 148 large animal species that seemed domestic-able only 14 actually have been!
- The presence or absence of domesticated animals helped explain the divergent trajectories of Eastern and Western hemispheres

First American Farmers
- Most significant contrast between Old and New world food production involved animal domestication.
- The largest animal ever domesticated in the New World in Peru around 4500 B.P was the llama.
- As well as eating the llama they were also bread for their wool.
- Peruvians also added animal protein to their diet by eating guinea pigs and ducks.
- - Farming in the tropical lowlands of central and south America began about the same time as food production arose in the Middle East around 10000 years ago.
- The wild ancestor of maize (corn) is a species of teosinte – a Mexican grass, considered to be one of the parent plants of modern corn, grown for cattle and other livestock.
- Domestication of this took place in the lowlands of South Western Mexico.
- South Americans domesticated other animals such as a type of duck.
- Turkey was domesticated in Mesoamerica and in South Western United States.
- However there were no cattle, sheep or goats in the areas where food production arose. As a result = neither herding nor the kinds of relationships that developed between herders and farmers in many parts of the Middle East and so on emerged in the pre-colonial Americas.

- Nabta Playa, (located in Eastern Sahara in Egypt) was the location for domestication of Sorghum, pearl millet, African rice, cattle (which were used economically for their milk and blood rather than killed for their meat).
- To survive in the desert people dug deep wells and lived in well-organised villages with small huts.
- 8800 B.P the people were making their own pottery.
- 7500 B.P new settlers occupied Nabta
- This Brought more sophisticated social and ceremonial system .
- Built Egypt’s earliest astronomical measuring device used to mark the summer solstice (calender circle)
- When the sun reaches its highest or lowest point in the sky at noon.

Most animal species have not been domesticated.. why do we think this is...?

- Most large animal species have not been domesticated.. why?
o Some are particular about their habitats (koalas)
o Others refuse to breed in captivity (vicunas)
o Some animals are just to vicious to domesticate (bears)
- Maybe the key factor in domestication is animal social structure?
- Another factor of domestication is weather. Wild animals typically share its range with others.
o Eg. Rhinoceros, African antelope are harder to pen up with others than are animals that share their territories with other species.

Known as possibly the most ancient piece of literature existing today
Set in Uruk, a city of Sumeria in Ancient Mesopotamia
Recognised as the 'cradle of civilisation'
Greek for 'between the rivers'
Refers to the land between the Tigris & Euphrates rivers
Current day Iraq
What many consider the beginnings of Western Civilisation
- Four environmental zones
o High Plateau – Highest (5000 feet)
o Hilly Flanks
o Piedomont Steppe
o Alluvial Desert – Lowest (100-500 feet)

Andean region/
central Andes
Middle East
Southern China
central Mexico
Northern China
Sub-Saharan Africa
Eastern United Sates
Ali Kosh
Geography and the spread of food production
- Most crops in Eurasia were domesticated just once and spread rapidly in an East-West direction.
- The first domesticates spread from the Middle East to Egypt, Northern Africa, Europe, India and eventually china.
- However China did already have their own domesticates
- The geographic and climate barriers posed by high mountains and broad deserts have slowed the spread of domesticates.
- The first domesticates spread rapidly across Eurasia, facilitated by climate similarities across a broad territorial expanse
- In the Americas, food production spread less rapidly because of North-South contrasts.
o Also the lack of large animals suitable for domestication slowed the Neolithic transition in the Americas.

- Most animals are not easy to domesticate…
- Therefore of 148 large animal species that seemed domestic able only 14 actually have been!
- About a dozen among 200,000 known plant species account for 80 per cent of the worlds farm production.
- Anthropologists once thought that domestication would happen almost automatically once people gained knowledge of plants and animals and their reproductive habits to figure out how to make domestication work.
- Anthropologists know realize that foragers have an excellent knowledge of plants, animals and their reproductive characteristics but there is other triggers needed to start the process of domestication.
- The presence or absence of domesticated animals helped explain the divergent trajectories of Eastern and Western hemispheres

The Story
Gilgamesh distresses Enkidu's death
Quest for Immortality
Long and perilous journey to learn the secret of eternal life
'Life that you look for you will never find. For when the gods created man, they let death be his share, and his life witheld in their own hands.'
Gilgamesh's fame lived on after his death, because of his great building projects and his account of what his ancestor told him happened during the flood.
Introduction of Sedentary Life

human ancestors evolved away from living great abs 7million yrs ago
Humans up until 11,000yrs ago fed themselves by hunting and gathering.
11,000yrs ago food production was introduced accompanied by a sedentary life style.
sedentary life style effects
increase population
condenser population
increase birth rate
increase trade
increase food supply/storage
sedentary life permits humans to store food surpluses
Introduced non-food producing specialists. (eg. kings, bureaucrats, soldiers, priests, doctors.....)
these specialists would generally govern society and the rations of food throughout.
Food supply/storage
Domestication of Livestock and crops
live stock and crops evolved human society
providing fast means of travel, farming, food and clothing
Large Livestock could carry heavy loads, pull wagons and sleds.
crops could be used to fashion clothing, nets, blankets and where used as a good force of food.
Disease accompanied livestock
Disease such as Smallpox and measles
effecting 90% of farmers who came into contact with the disease.
Diamonds, Guns, Germs and Steel.
1. The Domestication of plants and Animals and there effects on human society.
2. societies evolution into sedentary life and how it was influenced by food production
3. food storage and its affects on human settlements.
4. ways by which food production arose

How did food production arise?
method 1: Independent Food Production

Method 2: neighboring area's or the "copycat approach"
Independent Food Production
In depended food production occurred by domesticating wild crops or animals and varying times in history.
Coming up with it on there own accord.
Copycat food Production
hunter-gatherer groups neighbouring a food production settlement would be shown how to produce by the current producers.
Main Points of food production
Relationship between food and increase in population growth/density.

introduction of sedentary life

Introduction of food storage and non-food producing specialists

The slow decline of hunter-gatherers ether due to war or by caving to food production and sedentary life.

Introduction of domesticated animals introduced and increased travel opportunities, revolutionized war and inventory creations.
Who/ Where?
Uruk, one of the great cities of Mesopotamia
Ruins rest today in Southern Iraq
Main character of epic is a man called Gilgamesh
One of the first kings of Uruk
Worshiped after death: warrior and builder
Celebrated for his wisdom
Story of a king who seeks to have power over all - his people, the gods and death itself.
Learns after many trials that immortality can only be found in legacy we leave after death.
The plight of this god-like man called Gilgamesh, who befriends Enkidu, a man who grew up alone in the wilderness and initially persuades Gilgamesh to be a less tyrannical ruler
Adventures together: slaying the ogre Humbaba, killing the Bull of Heaven
As punishment for killing the Bull, the gods sentence Enkidu to death

Why did some hunter gatherer groups reject food production to begin with?
About the Epic
Several versions, many of which were passed down through generations
Babylonian author created the start of the unified Gilgamesh we know today
Mesopotamia = birthplace of civilisation
This is the areas where both agricultural and urban communities were first extensively developed
Uruk, first to shelter of 50,000 inhabitants
probably closer to 80,000 during Gilgamesh's reign
Tigris & Euphrates rivers allowed development of water canals and agriculture & irrigation
Greater system of government - greater economic prosperity, the development of religion, stratification of society and specialised labour, organisation of military force
Earliest recorded story of siltation and desertification caused by extensive destruction of forest lands
form 90% forest to less than 7% over a 1500 year period
Millions of acres of land in Fertile Crescent area turned to desert or scrubland, and remain relatively barren today
Full transcript