9 January - 15 January
MODULE III. PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT
Jan 9/11: How has the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture
changed human settlement patterns, social organization, and nutritional status?
1) CA pp. 41-52
• P.41 - Chapter 2 The Meaning of Progress and Development
• Problem 2: how do we explain the transformation of human societies over the past 10,000
years from small scale, nomadic bands of foragers to large scale urban industrial states?
• The third world is undergoing rapid ands sometimes chaotic social change: populations
are growing and becoming more urbanized
• Public health measures are lowering death rates
• Modern technology has penetrated the third world and transformed production
• Education at all levels is spreading
• Today no human beings anywhere in the world live exclusively by foraging, although every
society in existence is descended from such people
• Foragers (hunters and gatherers) are the common ancestors of us all
• We have witnessed a nation divided into wealthy and poor
• Why approximately 100,000 years ago, after thousands of years of living a foragers, some
of these societies begin to abandon their way of life and begin to domesticate plants and
animals and exchanged their nomadic existence for sedentary dwelling in villages
• How did these villages get divided into rich and poor states
• Moral predicament involves our perceptions of the few remaining small scale, tribal
societies that exist in the world today
Many assume humans chose to abandon a nomadic , foreign life because they discovered
better ways of living • Do we assume that the few existing small scale tribal socities are remnants of an inferior
way of life and that given the opportunity their members will chose to adopt modern
farming, wage labour or urban life?
• Explain wealthy vs not as progressed vs not?
• Progress: the idea that whims of nature to a life of control and domination over natural
• Culture change
• Until approximately 10,000 years ago earths inhabitants were scatted in small scale
nomadic bands of 30 to 100 people who lived by gathering wild plants and hunting small
and large game (search needs mobility so moved every couple days)
• No formal leaders and little occupational specialization (if was, delt with medicine)
• Kinship served as the main organizing principle of these societies and social differences
among people were based largely on age and gender
• Because there was little occupational specialization and little difference in individual wealth
or possessions, relations among persons likely were of an egalitarian nature
Some point in history 200-2000 people began settling and planting crops and
domesticating wild animals
• They practiced slash-and-burn or swidden agriculture, they cleared forests by burning the
trees and brush and planted crops among the ashes of the cleared ground
• The land would be cultivated from 1-3 yrs then another plot of land would be burned and
• Villages consisted of textured family groups and people organized themselves in clans:
groups of 200-500 people who claimed descent from a common ancestor
• Settlements combined under common leaders to affirm states consisting of many
thousands of persons
• The development of agriculture intensified, and slash and burn techniques were replaced
by plow or irrigation agriculture
• Leaders organized labour for the purpose of constructing public works--roads, defensive
fortifications or religious structures, such as pyramid or churches.
• Competition between groups over available resources contributed to the development of
standing armies; hereditary leaders emerged; settlements grew into cities
• Technological complexity increased, people began to develop specific skills and to
specialize in occupational tasks and occupational specialization led to increased trade and
the evolution of a class of merchants • One simple explanation for the transformation of societies from nomadic bands to
industrial states is that human inventions created better ways of doing things, in other
words human culture progressed.
• Way of life of foragers is superior to that of group maintained by sedentary agriculture
• Slash and burn agriculture was more efficient and less wasteful that modern methods of
• Question 2.1 : Why did Foraging Societies Switch to Sedentary Agriculture?
• The simplest explanation of why foragers chose at some point to settle down and
domesticate plants and animals is that sedimentary agriculture was an easier, less
dangerous, and more productive way to get food ( progression --can make food instead of
searching for it)
• Change occurs bc of a desire to progress
• Morgan created a society which evolved through 3 stages the he labelled savagery,
barbarism and civilization (then divided savagery and barbarism into early, middle and late
stages & to go form one stage to another required major technological invention)
• The advance from early to middle savagery was marked by fire, from middle to late
savagery by the invention of the bow and arrow; from late savagery hough late barbarism
by the invention of pottery, agriculture and animal domestication until progression of
• Leslie White saw technology as the driving force of cultural evolution
• White saw human beings seeking to harness energy through technology and to transform
that energy into things that are required for survival, such as food , clothing, shelter----by
means of technology, energy is put to work and the amount of food, clothing or other
goods produced by the expenditure of energy will be proportional to the efficiency of the
• Foragers had limited muscle power so limited energy production by their work
• Technological advances such as the plow, the water wheel and the windmill enabled
people to grow more crop and domesticate animals, they became able to transform more
and more energy to their use
Later, the new forms of energy in the form of coal, oil, and gas were harnessed by means
of steam engines and internal combustion engines, the amount of energy human beings
could harness again leap forward
• Cultural development, from White’s perspective, varies directly with the efficiency of the
• more efficient technology allows humans societies to transform more energy to fill their
needs, and the societies then can produce more food and support larger populations • Efficiency and food production allowed a few people to produce enough food for everyone,
freezing others to develop other skills and thereby promoting occupational specialization
• Specialization produced widespread trade and load to the development of commerce
• Increasing population, with increase contact between groups, require the development of
it’s the state to coordinate group activities and organize armies to protect growing wealth
of its members from other groups.
• White’s view of technology as the driving force of cultural evolution was highly influential in
the 20th century.
His theories represent the colons to the point of view that is prevalent among many people
today: the opinion that technology is the true measure of progress, the more energy
human societies can harness the development of new power sources, more social,
economic, and political problems that will solve.
• Page 47
• Many people view application of technology for the solutions continuing world problems.
• When are the first supposition about life and forging societies to be challenged how to do
with the roles of males and females.
• Studies found that the gathering activities of woman produced by far the greater share of
food in the societies; men hunted, but, except in areas such as the Arctic and subarctic
regions, meat and fish consisted only about one quarter of the diet.
• The second supposition -the foragers often when hungry-prove to be unfounded.-Plenty of
food.-Did not have to work very hard to get it.
• Life Among Foragers: The Hadza and Ju/‘hoansi
• Studied by James Woodburn 1960s, Hadza were a small group of nomadic foragers in
• Barren land, desert. Living on the verge of starvation. Rich in food and resources. Many
wild animals elephants, giraffes, zebras, gazelle
• Plant foods they send roots, berries, and fruit-abundant for 80% of culture.
• Woman responsible for almost all plant food gathering, hunting exclusively a male activity.
( men hunted with spears and poisoned arrow-no guns, spears, or traps]
• Consider meat only as proper food.
• Plant food was plentiful but no attempt to preserve it.
• Hadza better off than agricultural neighbours in terms of health.
• Ju’/hosani people of the Kalahari desert, and Namibia Africa.
• Foraging society that has contributed extensively to what anthropologists learn about
small-scale societies. • Lorna marshall with children, also Richard lee researched this culture in 1950s
• Lived around waterholes, from which they would wander as far as 6 miles in search of
plants and animals.
• Their groups numbers from 30 to 40 people during rainy season when waterholes were
full and plentiful and increased to 100 to 200 during the dry season when only the larger
holes retained water.
• Lee found the food quest was constant in Ju/‘hoansi like Hadza
• Ju/‘hoansi Did little food processing, had to get food supplies every third or fourth day.
• Vegetables constituted 60 to 40% of diet, woman gathered most of it, previous in 2 to 3
times as much food as men.
• Never exhausted their food supply.
• Major food source was Mongonogo nuts, more nourishing then our own breakfast cereals,
contain five times the calories, 10 times the protein
Monogongo provide 50% ofJu/‘hoansi caloric intake
• Territory containing more than 80 other species of edible plants, most of which they didn’t
even use, though they did eat about 20 species of roots, melons, gums, bulbs, and dried
• Meat was provided by and occasional giraffe, antelope, or other large game -- meat intake
was between 175 and 200 pounds per person per year.
• Environment provided ample available food
If lacking anything, carbohydrates no bread pasta rice or sugar
• Individual average to 2.3 days at this work (gathering food), with a typical working day of
• Overall the average time spent getting food was 2.4 days, or less than 20 hours of work
• Other time was spent doing housework or fixing tools
• Page 49
• Lee concludes that, contrary to the stereotype that foragers my struggle with limited
technology to obtain the food they need for survival, they do not have to work very hard to
make a living.
• Foraging society struggle for existence is an ethnocentric notion that assumes that our
own technologically oriented society represents the pinnacle of development.
• The Transition to Agriculture • Perspective on cultural evolution that muse change from foraging to modern, industrial
society lessons development or progress I’m more of a necessary evil.
• Perspective emphasizes the influences of population growth in population density [the
number of people living in a given area].
• Examine the transition from foraging to agriculture, exploring reasons for the eventful
change from relatively simple-and-burn agriculture to more complex labor-intensive
• Mark cohen explain why individuals or groups abandoned foraging for agriculture why so
many did in a relatively short period of time
• First examined reported food gathering strategies of forging societies
• . Forger settle in given areas to collect food, food readers in the current one spot, enlarge
area within which they travel in search of them.
• Cohen suggests that when population density and given geographical area reached the
point where different groups began to bump into each other, or when groups found they
had to travel farther and farther to get enough food to feed a growing population , they
began to cultivate their own crops
Historical transition from foraging too simple agriculture was a necessary consequence of
population growth, rather than a consequence of the discovery or invention that was
adopted because it made life better.
• Cohen argued that agriculture didn’t make life better at all and made life worse.
• Most parts of the world societies abandoned foraging--began to utilize slash and burn
• Slash and burn agriculture can you practice by relatively small kinship-based groups.
Form of growing crops, highly efficient and productive.
• Kookier, ihabit tropical rainforest of Brazil produce about 2,000,000 cal per acre of land
farmed, feed two people for a year--work only about two hours today.
• Page 50
• Slash and burn --population and amount of land needed to feed both increase, plots must
be used more frequently [When land is cultivated more frequently, the yield per acre
Slash and burn agriculture is efficient only as long as the population in the amount of land
• Farmland becomes scars not only because of increasing population but because of
• The more food the group needs to produce, the more complex the technology needed to
produce it; and the more complex technologies, the greater the amount of work involved. • Page 51
Not enough land to support slash and burn agriculture
• History of humankind, in fact been marked by increasing population and increasing the
ratio of people to land
• Robert careener - increase in the number of people relative to the available land creates
• First, if there are more people than there is available land to feed them, conflict may arise
between people versus the available food resources.
• Second, a growing population decides to identify methods of growing crops, there is a
need for greater societal organization.
• Whether a society deals with an increasing ratio between land and people by intensifying
efforts to produce more food, or it addresses the problem by denying some people access
to the necessary resources, the groundwork is laid for the emergence of a stratified society
and then you push the organization.
• Page 52
• Views of cohen and Carnerio suggests that the historical changes societies from foraging
to gradually more labor-intensive methods of agriculture was not a matter of choice, slash
and burn agriculture wasn’t easier than foraging & plowing and irrigation agriculture was a
more efficient to slash and burn agriculture.
• Instead, the changes and food production techniques represented necessities brought
about by population increase my increase in population density, and he created the need
for more formal, more elaborate clinical social institution, both organize labor and to
maintain order among more and more people.
• United States only 1 cal of human energy is needed to produce 210 cal for human
consumption, well foragers produce fewer than 10 cal of food every calorie that he’s
• You vastly decreased the amount of human labor required to produce food and increase
the amount of nonhuman energy required for food production.
2) Goodman, Alan H. and George J. Armelagos. 2000. “Disease and Death at Dr.
Dickson’s Mounds.” In Nutritional Anthropology. Alan .H. Goodman, Darna L. Darfour
and Gretel H. Pelto, eds. Mountainview, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company: 58-62.
• P.58 - Disease and Death at Dr. Dickson’s Mounds
• West Illinois are 12-13 poorly defined earth mounds and were built to burry their dead
Late 1920s don dickson, a chiropractor undertook the first systematic excavation of the
mounds, located on farmland owned by his father
• Dickson became so involved in undertaking of unearthing skeletons and trying to
dinginess the maladies of long dead individuals • He then became concerned with the patterns of disease and death in this extinct group in
order to understand how these people lived and why they died at an early age
• A.D. 950 hunter gathers lived along the Illinois river valley area near Dickson, subsisting
on a wide range of local plants and animals, including grasses and seeds, fruits and
barries, roots and tubers, vines, herbs, large and small mammals, migratory waterfowl and
riverine birds and fins
• The population density as ow, perhaps on the order of two or three persons per square
• By 1200 the population density increased by a factor of ten, to about 25 persons per
• Largest settlement in the area, Larson, was a residential ceremonial centre where some
1000 inhabitants lived
Trade flourished,networking of mize growing, mound building societies that spread
throughout most of the east US
• Many of the goods came from Cahokia with more than 120 mounds within a six square
mile area (30,000 persons lived there)
• British archeologists believed that the development of agriculture promted et first
great revolution in human technology, ushering in fundamental changes in
economy, social organizations, and ideology
Some believe increased population pressure, leading to food shortages and
deckling health, spurred ths witch to agricultural food production
• Others believe population increase was one of the consequences of agricultural
• More important the effects of the agricultural revolution on the health of people who
lived at the time of such change
• Three circumstances have made it possible to test the effects agriculture has had
upon health at Dickson
First,hose working with him valued the potential information to be gained from
skeletons and therefore paid close attention to their extinction
• Second, the recovered reminds included both individuals who lived before the
development of maize agriculture--two groups of individuals could be
distinguished according to mounds they were buried and position
• Third, enabling condition was provided by janice cohen--her analysis of highly
heritable dental traits showed that although Dickson was in contact with persons from outside the central Illinois river valley area during the period of
cultural change, groups did not replace or significantly merge with the local
John lallo set out to test whether health at dickson improved, got worse, or
remained the same with the advent of agriculture and its accompanying changes
• Lallo argued that intensification of maize agriculture most likely resulted in a poorer
diet bc heavy reliance on only 1 crop
• Increased population density, a more sedentary life style and greater trade, all of
which are associated with agriculture, provide conditions for the spread and
maintenance of infectious diseases
• The skeletons of individuals who lived before and after the introduction of maize
agriculture were examined for a number of different health indicators in order to
provide a balanced picture of the patterns of stress, disease and death that
affected the Dickson population
• The indicators that proved most sensitive to health differences were: bone lesions
(scars) due to infection, nutritional def