Chapter 2 First Farmers The Revolutions of Agriculture, 10,000 b. c. e. –3000 b. c. e. Chapter Overview CHAPTER LEARNING OBJECTIVES •TO MAKE STUDENTS AWARE THAT AGRICULTURE EVOLVED INDEPENDENTLY IN SEVERAL REGIONS OF THE WORLD •To trace the development of agriculture and its local variations •To consider the social implications of the Agricultural Revolution Chapter Outline I. OPENING VIGNETTE A. In the past two centuries, there has been a dramatic decline in the number of farmers worldwide. 1. United States an extreme case: only around 5 percent of Americans, many of them over 65 years old, were still on farms in 2000 2. reat increase in the productivity of modern agriculture B. The modern retreat from the farm is a reversal of humanity’s first turn to agriculture. II. The Agricultural Revolution in World History A. Agriculture is the second great human process after settlement of the globe. 1. started about 12,000 years ago 2. often called the Neolithic (New Stone Age) or Agricultural Revolution 3. deliberate cultivation of plants and domestication of animals 4. transformed human life across the planet B. Agriculture is the basis for almost all human developments since. C.
Agriculture brought about a new relationship between humans and other living things. 1. actively changing what they found in nature rather than just using it 2. shaping the landscape 3. selectively breeding animals D. “Domestication” of nature created new mutual dependence. 1. many domesticated plants and animals came to rely on humans 2. humans lost gathering and hunting skills E. There was an “intensification” of living: getting more food and resources from much less land. 1. more food led to more people 2. more people led to greater need for intensive exploitation III. Comparing Agricultural Beginnings
A. The Agricultural Revolution happened independently in several world regions. 1. Fertile Crescent of Southwest Asia 2. several areas in sub-Saharan Africa 3. China 4. New Guinea 5. Mesoamerica 6. the Andes 7. eastern North America 8. all happened at about the same time, 12,000–4000 years ago 9. scholars have struggled with the question of why agriculture developed so late in human history B. Common Patterns 1. Agricultural Revolution coincided with the end of the last Ice Age a. global warming cycle started around 16,000 years ago b. Ice Age was over by about 11,000 years ago . end of Ice Age coincided with human migration across earth d. extinction of some large mammals: climate change and hunting e. warmer, wetter weather allowed more wild plants to flourish 2. gathering and hunting peoples had already learned some ways to manage the natural world a. “broad spectrum diet” b. development of sickles, baskets, and other tools to make use of wild grain in the Middle East c. Amazon: peoples had learned to cut back some plants to encourage growth of the ones they wanted d. Australians had elaborate eel traps 3. omen were probably the agricultural innovators 4. gathering and hunting peoples started to establish more permanent villages a. especially in resource-rich areas b. population growth perhaps led to a “food crisis” 5. agriculture developed in a number of regions, but with variation a. depended on the plants and animals that were available b. only a few hundred plant species have been domesticated c. only fourteen large mammal species were domesticated C. Variations 1. the Fertile Crescent was the first to have a full Agricultural Revolution a. resence of large variety of plants and animals to be domesticated b. transition to agriculture triggered by a cold and dry spell between 11,000 and 9500 b. c. e. c. transition apparently only took about 500 years d. much more societal sophistication (mud bricks, monuments and shrines, more elaborate burials, more sophisticated tools) 2. at about the same time, domestication started in the eastern Sahara (present-day Sudan) a. the region was much more hospitable 10,000–5,000 years ago b. domestication of cattle there about 1,000 years before Middle East and India c. n Africa, animals were domesticated first; elsewhere, plants were domesticated first d. emergence of several widely scattered farming practices e. African agriculture was less productive than agriculture in the Fertile Crescent 3. separate development of agriculture at several places in the Americas a. absence of animals available for domestication b. only cereal grain available was maize or corn c. result: replacement of gathering and hunting with agriculture took 3,500 years in Mesoamerica d. Americas are oriented orth/south, so agricultural practices had to adapt to distinct climate zones to spread IV. The Globalization of Agriculture A. Agriculture spread in two ways: 1. diffusion: gradual spread of techniques and perhaps plants and animals, but without much movement of human population 2. colonization or migration of agricultural peoples 3. often both processes were involved B. Triumph and Resistance 1. language and culture spread with agriculture a. Indo-European languages probably started in Turkey, are spoken today from Europe to India b. similar process with Chinese farming . spread of Bantu language in southern Africa d. similar spread of Austronesian-speaking peoples to Philippines and Indonesian islands, then to Pacific islands 2. the globalization of agriculture took about 10,000 years a. did not spread beyond its core region in New Guinea b. did not spread in a number of other regions c. was resisted where the land was unsuitable for farming or where there was great natural abundance 3. by the beginning of the Common Era, gathering and hunting peoples were a small minority of humankind C. The Culture of Agriculture 1. griculture led to much greater populations 2. changes in world population a. 10,000 years ago: around 6 million people b. 5,000 years ago: around 50 million people c. beginning of Common Era: around 250 million people 3. farming did not necessarily improve life for ordinary people a. meant much more hard work b. health deteriorated in early agricultural societies c. new diseases from interaction with animals d. the first epidemics appeared due to larger communities e. new vulnerability to famine, because of dependence on a small number of plants or animals 4. ew constraints on human communities a. all agricultural people settled in permanent villages b. the case of Banpo in China (settled ca. 7,000 years ago) 5. explosion of technological innovation a. pots b. textiles c. metallurgy 6. “secondary products revolution” started ca. 4000 b. c. e. : a new set of technological changes a. new uses for domesticated animals, including milking, riding, hitching to plows and carts b. only available in the Eastern Hemisphere 7. deliberate alteration of the natural ecosystem a. removal of ground cover, irrigation, grazing b. vidence of soil erosion and deforestation in the Middle East within 1,000 years after beginning of agriculture V. Social Variation in the Age of Agriculture A. Pastoral Societies 1. some regions relied much more heavily on animals, because farming was difficult or impossible there 2. pastoral nomads emerged in central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Sahara desert, parts of eastern and southern Africa 3. relied on different animals in different regions a. horses were domesticated by 4000 b. c. e. ; encouraged the spread of pastoral peoples on Central Asian steppes b. omesticated camels allowed human life in the inner Asian, Arabian, and Saharan deserts 4. no pastoral societies emerged in the Americas B. Agricultural Village Societies 1. most characteristic form of early agricultural societies, like Banpo or Jericho 2. maintenance of equality and freedom (no kings, chiefs, bureaucrats, aristocrats) 3. Catalhuyuk, in southern Turkey a. population: several thousand b. dead buried under their houses c. no streets; people moved around on rooftops d. many specialized crafts, but little sign of inherited social inequality e. o indication of male or female dominance 4. village-based agricultural societies were usually organized by kinship, group, or lineage a. performed the functions of government b. the Tiv of central Nigeria organized nearly a million people this way in the late nineteenth century 5. sometimes modest social/economic inequality developed a. elders could win privileges b. control of female reproductive powers C. Chiefdoms 1. chiefs, unlike kings, usually rely on generosity, ritual status, or charisma to govern, not force 2. hiefdoms emerged in Mesopotamia sometime after 6000 b. c. e. 3. anthropologists have studied recent chiefdoms in the Pacific islands 4. chiefdoms such as Cahokia emerged in North America 5. distinction between elite and commoner was first established VI. Reflections: The Legacies of Agriculture A. Agriculture is a recent development in world history. 1. was an adaptation to the unique conditions of the latest interglacial period 2. has radically transformed human life and life on the planet more generally B.
One species, Homo sapiens, was given growing power over other animals and plants. C. Agriculture also gave some people the power to dominate others. Key Terms AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION: ALSO KNOWN AS THE NEOLITHIC REVOLUTION, THIS IS THE TRANSFORMATION OF HUMAN (AND WORLD) EXISTENCE CAUSED BY THE DELIBERATE CULTIVATION OF PARTICULAR PLANTS AND THE DELIBERATE TAMING AND BREEDING OF PARTICULAR ANIMALS. Austronesian: An Asian-language family whose speakers gradually became the dominant culture of the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Pacific islands, thanks to their mastery of agriculture.
Banpo: A Chinese archeological site, where the remains of a significant Neolithic village have been found. (pron. bahn-poe) Bantu: An African-language family whose speakers gradually became the dominant culture of eastern and southern Africa, thanks to their agricultural techniques and, later, their ironworking skills. (pron. BAHN-too) Bantu migration: The spread of Bantu-speaking peoples from their homeland in what is now southern Nigeria or Cameroon to most of Africa, in a process that started ca. 3000 b. c. e. nd continued for several millennia. broad spectrum diet: Archeologists’ term for the diet of gathering and hunting societies, which included a wide array of plants and animals. Cahokia: An important agricultural chiefdom of North America that flourished around 1100 C. E. (pron. cah-HOKE-ee-ah) Catalhuyuk: An important Neolithic site in what is now Turkey. (pron. cha-TAHL-hoo-YOOK) chiefdom: A societal grouping governed by a chief who typically relies on generosity, ritual status, or charisma rather than force to win obedience from the people. iffusion: The gradual spread of agricultural techniques without extensive population movement. domestication: The taming and changing of nature for the benefit of humankind. end of the last Ice Age: A process of global warming that began around 16,000 years ago and ended about 5,000 years later, with the earth enjoying a climate similar to that of our own time; the end of the Ice Age changed conditions for human beings, leading to increased population and helping to pave the way for agriculture.
Fertile Crescent: Region sometimes known as Southwest Asia that includes the modern states of Iraq, Syria, Israel/Palestine, and southern Turkey; the earliest home of agriculture. horticulture: Hoe-based agriculture, typical of early agrarian societies. intensification: The process of getting more in return for less; for example, growing more food on a smaller plot of land. Jericho: Site of an important early agricultural settlement of perhaps 2,000 people in present-day Israel.
Mesopotamia: The valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in present-day Iraq. native Australians: Often called “Aboriginals” (from the Latin ab origine, the people who had been there “from the beginning”), the natives of Australia continued (and to some extent still continue) to live by gathering and hunting, despite the transition to agriculture in nearby lands. pastoral society: A human society that relies on domesticated animals rather than plants as the main source of food; pastoral nomads lead their animals to seasonal grazing grounds rather han settling permanently in a single location. “secondary products revolution”: A term used to describe the series of technological changes that began ca. 4000 b. c. e. , as people began to develop new uses for their domesticated animals, exploiting a revolutionary new source of power. stateless societies: Village-based agricultural societies, usually organized by kinship groups, that functioned without a formal government apparatus. teosinte: The wild ancestor of maize. (pron. tay-oh- SIN-tay)
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