Lecture Notes October 22
- we find a steady growth from cultivation to domestication
- the great thing about people becoming sedentary is that they begin to bury their dead. this is
very helpful for archaeologists
- first date for evidence of cultivation, not domestication. 9500 Years Before Present
- when we look at the skeletons of the abu hureyra residents, we see wear patterns on their bones
from grinding flour, labour intensive.
- evidence of arthritus in the toes, the lower back, the knees. for those that pound instead of grind
there are pathologies in the elbows and shoulders.
- the change from hunting gathering to cultivation and shepherding creates divisions of
- lots of evidence that they are lacking full nutritional value from their new diet. they use to have
much more variety
- this cultural revolution came at the relative health of these populations
- when they brought food back to their camps and threw away the seeds they don't eat, they must
have seen the plants beginning to grow in the garbage and realize that they can plant their own
ADVANTAGES OF DOMESTICATION?
- you have consistency (mostly)
- you have a surplus
- less of a chance of being preyed on
- allows more task specialization - you become sedentary:
***Being sedentary can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. The people who produced
crops were already sedentary before they started domesticating. You could eventually
overproduce a crop (eventually we learn to cycle crops, use manure, etc). Sanitation is another
problem. Disease. You attract predators since they know where you are. We have to start building
fences. This is likely why we started domesticating dogs, to act as sentinals. If you start growing
crops, you have to stay in one place.
- you can support a larger population:
***Supporting larger populations can be both an advantage and a disadvantage as well. More
conflict. More resources are needed, creating conflict within and between populations. Warfare
only became a problem after we began to grow crops. More waste, more disease.
DISADVANTAGES OF DOMESTICATION?
- more vulnerable to famine (natural disaster)
- spread of contagious diseases
- most of our diseases come from contact with animals. close proximity with animals spreads
- less varied diet (in the beginning)
- demands more work than just hunting and gathering, a lot more. on average, food producers
work 50-60 hours a week whereas foragers work 25 hours a week.
- conflicts over land and crops (you can't just grow crops anywhere)
- once you start producing, you can't go back. once you have all these children, you can't just
go back to hunting and gathering without consigning some of your children to starvation.
- BEGINNINGS OF SOCIAL INEQUALITY
WHY DID PEOPLE BEGIN TO DOMESTICATE IN THE FIRST PLACE?
MODELS FOR THE ORIGINS OF DOMESTICATION
- what we look for today is regional evidence for WHY people began producing food
1. population growth came first, production of food becomes necessary. problems with this argument:
● hunter/gatherers keep their populations small. very conscious of that.
● if people are not sedentary and moving