ANTA01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Sedentism, Economic System, Passiflora Edulis

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ANTA01 – Lecture 11 – The Origins of Agriculture
Neolithic Revolution
oHow agriculture was first developed
Origins of Domestication and Agriculture
Archaeological Evidence for Domestication & Agriculture
Compare Old World & New World Farmers
Agriculture and the slow domestication of plants and cultivation of plants happened at
several different locations (South America, Middle East, East Asia) all around 10,000
years ago
Different crops came at different regions because of what was available
Neolithic Revolution
Refers to the change from hunting and gathering to agriculture
First used by V. Gordon Childe
Neolithic means new stone and is in contrast to Paleolithic (old stone)
V. Gordon Childe’s view was important because maintaining fields and herds demand a
long term commitment
oBecause it was a long term commitment, Neolithic people suddenly became
more sedentary
In Childe’s view, when you’re producing more food, there is a bigger chance that you will
stay at the same spot and then get the development of larger city states
In Childe’s view, fewer people needed to get involved in food production, which allowed
for craft specialization
If there was no development of agriculture, we would not have city states
However, it’s not quite so simple as Childe’s view
In some cultures, permanent settlements developed without agriculture (however this
was very rare)
In some cases, sedentism stimulated the development of agriculture rather than the
other way around (agriculture came later)
Childe’s view is not wrong, but it happened in several different cases
Craft Specialization
Economic systems in which some individuals don’t engage in food production by
trading, and devote their labour to the production of other goods and services
oExamples: potters, teachers, carpenters, oracles, etc.
There is an explosion of written language here
They would exchange their services or products for food and other necessities
Evolution of these behaviours amongst humans were so amazing that they diffused
all across into other human cultures
Cultural traits, like agriculture or ceramic technology, originated in a single centre and
were spread from one group to another by contact or exchange
Settlement in villages diffused
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There was craft specialization diffusing around the world
Occurred in 2 different ways: people migrated one place to another and brought their
skill sets and because we are humans, people didn’t need to migrate for ideas to
Domestication Vs. Agriculture
oAn evolutionary process that we dictate
oA wild specie is genetically transformed so it depends on human intervention
in some part of the life cycle
oA cultural activity
oInvolves propagation and exploitation of plants and animals
oIncludes all activities associated with both farming and animal herding
We are in a symbiotic relationship with our animals
oAnimals wouldn’t even be around if we didn’t create them
Mutually advantageous association of 2 different species
Known as mutualism
Origins of Agriculture
There are 2 approaches which explain why we developed agriculture but we still have
both of them
Environmental Approaches
Events occurred in the natural environment which forced people into agriculture
The main factors are basic natural mechanisms like climate change (climate being so
variable) or human population growth
It can seem environmentally deterministic if there ignore human cultural factors
oEnvironmentally determinism implies that cultural changes can be determined
purely by environmental causes and this is relatively simple because it doesn’t
take into consideration factors like history or culture that are relevant to the case
Environmental Factors in the Development of Agriculture
3 scholars and 3 approaches
oChilde: Humans and domesticable plants and animals concentrate around oases
oBinford: Regional packing of population leads to broadened staple diet especially
in marginal environments (PACKING MODEL)
oFlannery: Differed with Binford over specific causes, but agreed that staple lied
choices broadened in marginal environments (BROAD-SPECTRUM FORAGING)
Cultural Approaches
Are more social and ideological
Human agency and culture may explain the rise of domestication and agriculture
The urge to produce our own food might come strictly from cultural developments
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