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Natural Science
NATS 1775
Vera Pavri

2009Vera PavriLecture 2 Technology in Ancient CivilizationsI Early Civilizations Urban Revolution6000 years ago Where At least six different centers around the world Mesopotamia after 3500 BC Egypt after 3400 BC Indus River Valley after 2500 BC Yellow River in China after 1800 BC Mesoamerica 500 BC South America after 300 BC Characteristics high populations centralized political and economic authority regional states stratified societies complex architecture higher learningWhy did they develop Larger populations needed intensified agricultural production Simple agriculture replaced by field agriculture Large scale water management networks public works built and maintained by the corvee which were conscripted labor gangs Projects supervised by state employed engineers II Hydraulic Hypothesis Fact that all these early civilizations required largescale hydraulic engineering projects because of either too much or too little water for practicing intensified agriculture has led some scholars to explain this phenomena as hydraulic hypothesis Wittfogel and Steward HYDRAULIC HYPOTHESIS there is a link between the rise of early civilizations and the technology of large scale hydraulic systems Large scale irrigation necessitates centralized coordination and this leads to greater political integration in societyIrrigation on such a large scale thus causes the emergence of centralized and hierarchal political system Civilizations like Mesopotamia Egypt China etc are therefore types of irrigation civilizations which have common features and develop in a similar way because of this need to adapt to their environment via large scale irrigation For example these civilizations have very hot climates which makes it easier to produce large amounts of cropsCivilizations able to grow because they are in a environmental restricted spacewhen warfare occurs groups that are defeated cannot move anywhere like they could in earlier timesinstead become slaves and peasants who work to maintain intensified farming practices This allows more people to be fed but also requires society to be organized in a way that allows for maintaining system distributing goods settling water disputes controlling grain surpluses Therefore there is the development of an authoritarian state because water a scarce commodity must be controlled
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