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Lecture 4

ANTHROP 1AA3 Lecture 4: Food production

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Karen Mc Garry

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 Origins of Food Production What Happened to Neanderthals? - Some interbred with Homosapiens (Us) - By 30, 000 years ago, they became extinct as a hominin species - Humans then migrated and expanded further throughout the world, and into the New World (Americas) - Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens were foragers - Foraging is a SUBSISTENCE STRATEGY (way of life that focuses upon how food is procured) In the Upper Paleolithic (50 - 10,000 years ago): - Groups of foragers/ h and g roamed the earth: - small groups of up to 75 people - Nomadic - No long term, permanent villages or shelters - Fairly egalitarian/ little conflict as no distinctions in status Big Questions - Why agriculture and what are the consequences of it? - Where, when and how did it happen? - Agriculture revolution or slow, gradual change? - Positive/negative outcomes of agriculture? Beginning - Appx 17,000 - 10, 000 ya 1 Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - Extinction of many large-game species (megafauna) - Shift to collecting/gathering - Less nomadic populations The Natufians - Natufian sites show earliest evidence for slow transition to agriculture - 11, 000 years ago in area that is now Israel and Jordan - Site of EYNAN in Israel — evidence for increased sedentary behaviour Early evidence from Eynan, Mt. Carmel - ~11,500 ya - Tool kits for harvesting and grinding - Intensive use of WILD cereals - Sites — more permanent - Increased social complexity Origins of Agriculture NOT a singular event that spread around the globe 1) The Fertile Crescent — (Earliest evidence 11,000 - 10, 000 years ago). Domesticated wheat and barley - Wild vs. Domestic wheat (wild = skinny, domestic = bushy) - Domestic Wheat: Larger for Greater yield. Tough stem to prevent premature dispersal of seeds 2) Mesoamerica - Domestication of maize, beans and squad ~ 7000 years ago 2 Tuesday, November 22, 2016 3) Highland/ Coastal Andes - Llama, alpaca, guinea pig, potato and quinoa ~7500 -4500 BP 4) China (Yangzti / Yellow rivers) - Rice and millet ~ 8000 years ago Animal Domestication - 1st domesticated animals: dogs, goats, sheep, pigs, cattle - How are domesticated animals recognized - size - geographic distribution - population characteristics (few males, lots of females) Definition of Agriculture - Involves only some members in food production - Plow agriculture - Irrigation - Emergence of a class of producers whose surplus benefits a ruling class The Impact of Agriculture - Fundamental change in the way humans interact with their environment - from dependency on natural resources to control over domesticated resources - Major changes in diets - Changes in demography, economy, urbanization 3 Tuesday, November 22, 2016 
 Village Life - Domestication = sedentism - Investment in architecture - Decreased infant mortality = increased population - Larger social groups -> Potential for greater social complexity BUT… - Many populations did not adopt agriculture - Ecology more suited to foraging - example : Inuit, Ju’hoansi, populations in tropical rainforests of the Amazon - Other modes of subsistence ongoing today Why Agriculture? Lots of Theories… lots of problems! 1) V. Gordon Childe — “Neolithic Revolution” -developed in Middle East due to drought and climate change. But, archaeological excavation by Robert Braidwood in Iran — no evidence of major climate change 2) Population Pressure — growing h and g populations adopt agriculture when they hit the limit of that their food resources can support. But no evidence for high population densities in SW Asian or Mesoamerica 3) Social Theories — Barbara Bender argues that h and g societies became more socially complex and hierarchical. — Trade objects. But this theory ignores environmental factors - There is no singular theory/explana
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