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Lecture Jan 19.docx

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Christianne Stephens

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Lecture Jan 19 Mesolithic - Culture period between Paleolithic and Neolithic (approx. 17-12,000 ya) - Extinction of many large-game species - Broad spectrum revolution: exploration of smaller animals (including fish) - Became somewhat less nomadic (settle in certain places where people can congregate) Neolithic (from 12,000 ya) - The origins of agriculture - Happened at different times worldwide - Origins were independent - Lecantine coast of Mediterranean sea - Fertile Crescent “cradle of civilization” Southwest Asia and Middle East - Plant domestication began in Jordan River Valley; animal domestication began in Zagros Mtns and hills in Iraq - Wheat- a cereal grain; originated in the Levant region of the Near East and Ethiopian Highlands - Origin: Levant region of Near East and Ethiopian Highlands - Could easily cultivated on large scale - Yields harvests that provide long term storage of food - Contributed to emergence of city states in the Fertile Crescent (e.g. Babylonian and Assyrian empires) - A staple food (flour, fermented to make beer) - Domesticated wheat grains are larger - Seeds (spikelets remain attached to the ear by a toughed rachis during harvesting Maize - The term “maize” derives from the Spanish form of the indigenous Taino word maize for the plant - Maize is the domesticated variant of teosinte - Maize=a single tall stalk with multiple leaves - Teosinte=short , bushy plant - Several theories proposed about the origin of maize in Mesoamerica - Direct domestication of a Mexican annual teosinte - Hybridization between a small domesticated maize and a teosinte of section - Undergone two or more domestications either of a wild maize or of a teosinte - Research from the 50s and 70s: hypothesis that maize domestication occurred in the highlands between Oaxaca and Jalisco - Archaeobotanical studies published in 2009 now point to the lowlands of the Balsas River vallay - Staple food (along with squash, Andean region potato and beans) - Pre-Columbian North American, Mesoamerican, South American, and Caribbean cultures Domestication of plants appearing 12000 ya - The Middle East- barley, wheat, peas, lentils - China- millet, rice - Mesoamerica- peppers, squash, beans, corn, potatoes in the Andes - Pacific Islands- sugar cane Domestication of animals - Domestication -a population of animals or plants, that (through a process of artificial selection) is changed at the genetic level, accentuating traits desired by humans. - Differs from taming (simply the process by which animals become acclimatized to human presence) - Middleast- first home to domesticated animals (dogs, sheep, goats, cattle) Agriculture not necessarily the next step in evolution - Many people all over the world did not adopt agriculture, as their ecologies were more suited to hunting and gathering - E.g. Inuit, !Kung San in Kalahari desert, certain groups in tropical rainforest of Amazon - Also other modes of subsistence ongoing today: e.g. horticulture (or gardening), pastoralism (nomadic and smei nomadic Definition of Agriculture (pp. 5-6) - May involve only some members in food production - Development of plow agriculture o Turn over soil to bring new nutrients to surface and bury weeds - Irrigation e.g. perennial (Mesopotamai); basin (Ancient Egypt) - Emergence of a class of producers whose surplus benefits a ruling class Why Adopt Agriculture? - Oasis hypothesis – adapting to environmental change - „Hilly Flanks‟ (a.k.a Readiness) hypothesis, ecological aspect - Population pressure hypothesis Oasis Theory - Popularized by Vere Gordon Childe in 1928 - As climate got drier (due to the Atlantic depressions shifting northward) communities contracted to oases - Forced into close association with animals, which were then domesticated together with the planting of seeds - Theory has little support (evidence that the climate of the region was getting Hilly Flank Theory - Proposed by Robert Braidwood in 1948 - Theory that agriculture began in the hilly flanks of the Taurus (southern Turkey and the Zagros mountains (Iran and Iraq) where fertile land supported a variety of plants and animals amenable to domestication Population Pressure Hypothesis - Proposed by Carl Sauer and adapted by Lewis Binford and Kent Flannery - Increasing sedentary population that expanded up to the carrying capacity of the local environment and required more food than could be gathered - Various social and economic factors helped drive the need for food Impact of Agriculture - Fundamental change in the way humans interact with their environment - Fundamental change in diet - Allowed for changes in demography, political-economy, urbanization Sum
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