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Archaeology 100-D200 Ancient Peoples and Places Archaeology and the Study of Prehistory… Week 6: THE NEOLITHIC: NEAR EAST, THE AMERICAS AND THE WORLD.

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Presentation on theme: "Archaeology 100-D200 Ancient Peoples and Places Archaeology and the Study of Prehistory… Week 6: THE NEOLITHIC: NEAR EAST, THE AMERICAS AND THE WORLD."— Presentation transcript:

1 Archaeology 100-D200 Ancient Peoples and Places Archaeology and the Study of Prehistory… Week 6: THE NEOLITHIC: NEAR EAST, THE AMERICAS AND THE WORLD. INCREASING SOCIAL COMPLEXITY WITH DOMESTICATION February 20 th & 22 nd 2012 Dr. Alvaro Higueras Simon Fraser University, Spring 2012

2 Agenda of Week 6 The Middle East and the Neolithic Early agriculture in other parts of the world Political structures and increasing complexity in human organization.

3 Those 15 points for Session 4 & 5 A. Population of the Americas. B. The Magdalenian on the way to the Mesolithic. C. "Sampling and sampling. D. The sequence of political evolution. E. Differences between Chiefdom and State? F. "Qualitative" aspects of the political forms. G. What are empires for? H. The most variable stage in the evolution…?

4 I. Redistribution and its evolution. J. Decline, small vs. large scale societies. K. The Mesolithic and the environment. L. What is there to love about the Magdalenian? M. Megafauna and the evidence. N. Symbiosis of humans and animals towards domestication. O. The most important factor in the formation and consolidation of state-level societies?

5 Chiefdoms Redistribution… in simple chiefdoms Other mechanisms in more complex ones… without R > Accumulation (then gifts) Concentration of power and goods, used of them in strategic ways Chiefdom as a non-existent or short stage in some areas… Or archaeologists have not been able to document it in the archaeological record of some regions

6 State > Cooperation and good teamwork, as a cluster of chiefdoms… > Sustainable resources, dense population, and (further) evolution of a hierarchy > Physical environment where it controls the activities aspect of social organization such as farming, irrigation, buildings… > Resolution of Conflict/competition in densely populated societies is the factor, as the state is thereon needed for conflict resolution and management of the land.

7 The center of it all: The Fertile Crescent It is an area of Mediterranean climate characterized by dry summers and winter rains with enough precipitation to support vegetation ranging from woodlands to open park woodland South and east of the Fertile Crescent, the open park woodlands give way to steppes and true deserts It environment today is much drier that at the onset of the domestication process

8 Historical context for the development of agriculture > Spatial continuity & formation of mounds Çatalhöyük Jericho

9 Kebaran and Geometric Kebaran These sites identified by characteristic stone tools bladelets Most sites are remains of small camps made by highly mobile hunter-gatherers Burials at these sites are rare No evidence of plant or animal domestication during this period Plant remains recovered include wild grasses, fruits, nuts, and animals

10 The Natufian Sedentary hunter-gatherers foraging for food such as emmer wheat, barley and almonds, and hunting gazelle, deer, cattle, horse, and wild boar. For at least part of the year, Natufian people lived in communities, some quite large, of semi- subterranean houses. These semi-circular one room structures were excavated partly into the soil and built of stone, wood and perhaps brush roofs.

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12 They located their settlements at the boundaries between coastal plains and hill country, to maximize their access to a wide variety of food. They buried their dead in cemeteries, with grave goods including stone bowls and dentalium shell. The largest Natufian communities (called base camps) found to date include Jericho, Ain Mallaha, and Wadi Hammeh 27. Smaller, short-range dry season foraging camps may have been part of the settlement pattern, although evidence for them is scarce.

13 The Natufian tools Characteristic stone tool is the lunate, a crescent-shaped bladelet served as hunting tools or as parts of tools made of multiple small pieces Michael Chazan

14 Natufian settlements People began the transition to village life during this period Structures are ovals or open semicircles Structures consist of undressed stones piled to form walls up to 1 metre high Structure floors covered with refuseincluding stone tools and animal bones The stone walls are thought to have supported superstructures made of wood and brush Not clear what function structures served

15 Natufian burials Burials are commonly found on Natufian sites In some cases, the skull has been removed prior to burial Some Natufian burials include shell necklaces and head coverings

16 Natufian subsistence Natufians practised a broad-spectrum subsistence strategy They exploited a wide range of wild plants Most plant species do not show any evidence of having been domesticated Hunting focused on a single species, gazelle No herd animals were domesticated Burials indicate that dogs were part of human society and being domesticated

17 The Early Neolithic Early Neolithic is divided into two major periods: Pre-Pottery Neolithic A –Dates between 12,000-10,800 years ago –Corresponds to end of the Younger Dryas The Big Freeze, was a geologically brief (1300 ± 70 years) cold climate period between approximately Pre-Pottery Neolithic B –Dates between 10,800-8,500 years ago –Corresponds to a period of improved climate

18 The Early Neolithic technology A shift away from tools made on bladelets This periods toolkit is made on blades with an emphasis on arrowheads Toolkit includes sickles, ground stone axes, and adzes Grinding stones for processing grains found in extremely large quantities Pre-Pottery B sites exhibit highly developed use of plaster

19 Pre-pottery A Neolithic Settlement size increased during this period First evidence of communal structures appears Most impressive of these structures is Jericho tower9 m high, made of undressed stone and mud brick, attached to the inside of a massive wall Houses continue to be circular, but settlements larger than Natufian ones

20 Pre-pottery B Neolithic Round houses give way to rectangular ones Settlement size increases significantly Rectangular houses allow sites to be more densely packed than previously Villages often show high degree of planning No sense that the regular layout of the sites reflects presence of centralized authority

21 Early Neolithic Ritual Many ritual objects were hiddenin pits, under floors, in cavestheir functions are unknown Most striking hidden objects are plastered skulls Human skulls on which plaster faces have been molded Plaster figures have been found in pits A cache of ritual objects were found in a cave includes a cap, a bag, beads, bone tools, arrowheads, a painted stone mask, and a human skull with a net pattern on the cranium

22 Chinchorro burial, Northern Chile Plastered Skull, Jericho

23 Early Neolithic Domestication Earliest evidence of plant domestication is seen in contexts from the Pre-Pottery A Farming developed during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period A wide range of domesticated crops is found including –Cerealsemmer wheat, einkorn wheat, barley –Pulseslentils, peas –Legumesbitter vetch, chick peas

24 The Late Neolithic Characterized by the development of pottery manufacture Stone tools, expedient tools, made on local materials with minimal energy investment Characterized by a limited number of large sites and small dispersed hamlets Large sites are not densely packed Symbolic artifacts tend to be stylized animal figurines

25 Late Neolithic subsistence Importance of hunting continuously declines throughout period Evidence for animal domestication includes changes in the shape of goat horns Despite symbolic emphasis on bulls, main source of meat was domestic goat People still relied on the full range of plants domesticated in the Early Neolithic

26 Tabaqat el-Buma Directed by University of Toronto archaeology professor Ted Banning Part of the Wadi Ziqlab Project; survey of this area of Northern Jordan Late Neolithic site Characterized by a number of dwellings that make up a small community Banning suggests that these small, dispersed communities may have replaced the larger nucleated villages of the Early Neolithic

27 The cereals used at the Natufian site of Mureybet... may not have been growing locally [but]... may have been imported or introduced from farther north... Transport of raw materials across considerable distances is well known in the Near East, adding weight to the argument that cereals were also transported (Willcox 2005, 539). We need not imagine this to be the result of an institutionalized market in cereal futures (Bernstein 1996) in order to ask whether microeconomic tools will help us to understand how differential valuation in zones of production and consumption, balanced against the transaction costs associated with such movements of goods, rights, and/or consumers, will further analysis and explanation.

28 Willcoxs : The distribution, natural habitats and availability of wild cereals in relation to their domestication in the Near East: multiple events, multiple centres (pattern shown as well at a world scale… plants micro adapted to initial environmental features) The proximity of a perennial water source was the main priority when choosing a settlement location, not the proximity of wild cereal stands. Settlement sites are all situated near a river, spring or lake... Due to the patchy distribution of the two wild wheat species, many sites were situated at some distance from the wild stands.

29 The change from gathering to cultivation was a gradual process. Hillman suggests that it had already started on a small scale in the Natufian, and a knowledge of planting may go back even farther – Mesolithic broad spectrum experiences – During the initial stages early farmers may have been obliged to frequently replenish their seed stocks from wild stands, which would slow the domestication process. It is not until the end of the 9th millennium BC that we see the appearance of well established farmers with fully-fledged agriculture which produced conditions favourable for the selection of domestic traits

30 Microeconomic models for framing the question of agricultural origins in terms of risk, discounting, economies of scale, and transaction costs. Rather than a functional approach: productive environment or inequality function to facilitate this transformation? Causal approach: climate change, population growth, or feasting. Behavioral ecology economic concepts are applicable whatever the mode of production

31 Politics and Borders in Archaeology Politics and archaeology frequently intersect in the Middle East Archaeology has been an important tool for change in places such as Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Syria However, Steven Rosen has shown that national borders have had a major influence on the reconstruction of the prehistory of the region

32 Problem: –Modern borders affect the limits of where archaeologists work or visit –Israeli and Syrian archaeologists are unable to cross borders and visit each others countries for intellectual exchange Results: –Lack of communication and fragmentation of the archaeological record –Distorts our view of the past

33 Progress: > Signing of a peace agreement between Israel and Jordan has eased travel between these two countries > Outbreaks of violence keeps travel to a minimum > But ease in travel has improved understanding of the connections between Israel and Jordan in prehistory > Emphasis on understanding local archaeological developments from a global perspective is a useful counterbalance to tendencies to use archaeology to promote nationalist agendas

34 Domesticates in Europe Origins of domesticated plants and animals can be traced to the Middle East, the wave… No evidence of indigenous domestication of plants or animals Unresolved questions about domestication in Europe include: > Did populations of farmers sweep across Europe bringing new crops and new lifeways with them > Did Mesolithic hunter-gatherers adopt domesticated plants and animals to forge a new way of life?

35 Sheep and goat, as well as some cereals (emmer wheat and einkorn) and pulses (lentil, pea, chick pea, and bitter vetch) had no wild ancestors in Europe during the Holocene.

36 A Feast of Diversity

37 Domestication in Africa There are 3 major regions where plants were indigenously domesticated in Africa: 1. Northeast Africatef, finger millet, and coffee 2. Central Africapearl millet, sorghum 3. West AfricaAfrican rice Domesticated plants introduced from the Middle East include wheat, barley, lentils Domesticated animals introduced from the Middle East were sheep and goats Considerable debate surrounds the origin of domesticated cattle in Africa

38 The Sahara desert Today the Sahara desert is the most dominant feature of the North African landscape The current desert environment developed in the Sahara only within the last years Between 14,000 and 4500 years ago there was considerably more rainfall in the Sahara Extensive human occupation of the region was possible before it became a desert

39 Hunter-gatherers villages Small villages of hunter-gatherers existed across northern Africa during the period of increased rainfall in the Sahara Such sites resemble Natufian sites in the Middle East in several ways: Their size, the nature of the structures on them, the exploitation of a wide range of resources, the use of grinding stones African also differ from Natufian sites in significant ways: Pottery and large numbers of storage pits are commonly found on African sitesnot in Natufian period

40 African pastoralists Domesticated animals were introduced before domesticated plants in much of North Africa Cattle, sheep, and goats appear to have been incorporated into mobile hunter-gatherer societies Mobile societies with economies focused on maintaining herds of domesticated animals are called pastoral societies

41 Agriculture in New Guinea Today, agricultural societies of New Guinea emphasize the centrality of pigs and sweet potatoes for subsistence and for developing a social hierarchy –The exchange of pigs is an essential element of political power –Sweet potatoes are an important part of the diet of pigs; therefore, mean political power Surprisingly, both sweet potatoes and pigs were introduced to New Guinea fairly recentlythey were domesticated elsewhere

42 New Guinea domesticates Genetic research indicates that a wide number of plants were indigenously domesticated in New Guinea These crops include yams, bananas, taro, and possibly sugarcane None of these crops are cerealsno seed crops Traditional agricultural processes in New Guinea involve transplanting suckers, cuttings, or shoots

43 The Andes environment Andes are the second highest mountain chain in the world The Andean highlands are divided into four zones based on altitude above sea level: 1. Quechua zone: m, where corn grows well 2. Suni zone: m, where crops indigenous to the Andes are grown 3. Puna zone: m, open grassland for grazing alpacas and llamas 4. Cordillera zone: above 4800 m, not used for agriculture

44 Andean domestication Domesticated beans from Guitarrero Cave have been directly dated to 4300 BP. Quinoa seeds have been found in layers years old at Panaulauca Cave The earliest evidence for domesticated potatoes dates to BP. Probably not the earliest domesticate potatoes because they were found along the coast, not where wild potatoes grow

45 Andean domestication Llamas and alpacas (camelids) were domesticated beginning 10, years ago Llama as pack animal 25 kg at most Vicuña and Guanaco are still wild camelids The other domesticated Andean animal is the guinea pig, when domesticated unknown, but perhaps after camelids

46 Preagricultural coastal villages By 8000 BP small settled villages developed along the Peruvian coast –Houses were built of reeds and grasses over a wooden structure –About 10 families lived in a village at any given time –Burial data indicates that there were not higher status individuals

47 The Cotton Preceramic Prevalence of cotton seeds and absence of pottery on its sites These sites are often quite large and contain evidence of monumental architecture The flat-topped pyramid, Huaca de los Idolos, dates to BP., the earliest known monumental architecture in the New World The bulk of the Cotton Preceramic diet consisted of fish and shellfish Populations obtained gourds, squash, chili pepper, beans, and jicima from wild plants The dominant crop species was cotton, also in the wild, used for making textiles and nets

48 Caral, World heritage site, 2009

49 Preagricultural coastal villages Inhabitants of these villages were hunter- gatherers who relied heavily on the rich coastal marine resources –A wide range of wild plant resources including seeds, fruits, and tubers were exploited –Cultivated gourds were domesticated; beans and squash may have been cultivated, but they were not significant parts of the diet

50 Pacific currents & society Humboldt Current: brings cool waters up from the south along the Andean coast –Responsible for the wealth of marine resources that allowed villages to thrive without agriculture El Niño: a severe reversal of the Humboldt Current; occurs every years –When major El Niños occur, there is a massive decline in fish and shellfish populations on the coast

51 Pacific currents & society –Also causes torrential rains that cause massive flooding and mud slides Some argue that El Niños have only happened for about 6000 years –The onset of the Cotton Preceramic and El Niño seem to correlate –Perhaps climactic uncertainty played a role in the development of large centres with some reliance on agriculture

52 Domestication in East Asia Rice was domesticated along the Yangtze and Huai River Valleys, China by 9000 BP. Millet was domesticated in the Yellow River Valley, China by the Peiligang culture, c BP. Dogs, pigs, and water buffalo were domesticated in southern China Pigs and, possibly, chickens were domesticated in northern China Pottery vessels from Banpo Village site, China.

53 Development of Chinese farming societies Yangshou culture developed out of the Peiligang culture of the Yellow River Yangshou villages consisted of both round semisubterranean houses and rectangular houses built on the surface Wild plants and animals were exploited Millet was fully domesticated as were dogs and pigs Pottery vessels were made in many forms with elaborate painted decorations

54 Mesoamerica and North America

55 Mesoamerican domestication Squash (Curcurbita pepo) was the earliest plant domesticated in Mesoamerica –Earliest squash seeds dated to 10, BP. –Ancestor of squashes eaten today including pumpkins, acorn squash, zucchini, spaghetti squash, etc. Maize was domesticated from teosinte, a wild grass found in the highlands of Mexico –Earliest maize dated to 6250 and 5500 BP.

56 Mesoamerican domestication Beans were domesticated independently in Mesoamerica and in the Andes –Earliest date for a Mexican bean is 2500 BP. –It is very likely that beans were domesticated earlier, at the same time as maize

57 Maize in SW North America Maize and squash agriculture spread to northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S. about 3400 BP. in the Southwestern Late Archaic Period Initial impact of maize and squash varied across the region In some areas there was increased sedentism In other areas, agriculture did not substantially alter the lives of the Late Archaic hunter- gatherers

58 The Formative period The introduction of pottery into the American Southwest marks the beginning of the Formative period The introduction of pottery overlaps with the introduction of beans Sites with pit houses are common in this period Formative sites range in size from 1-2 houses to as many as 25-35one village site has 60 houses Regional variation in the impact of maize continues into the Formative

59 Optimal foraging model Assumes that humans act on the basis of rational self-interest to maximize efficiency in collecting and processing resources Archaeologists use this theory to explain the variation in adaptation to the introduction of maize agriculture According to optimal foraging theory, diversity exists in the uptake of maize agriculture as the result of rational decisions about the productiveness of the landscape and the returns from maize agriculture

60 Eastern North American domesticates Late Archaic peoples of eastern North America independently domesticated a variety of plants –Including sunflower, marsh elder, chenopod, and squash Late Archaic peoples also narrowed their subsistence baseespecially in areas with rich supplies of shellfish –Shell middens The impact of domesticates on subsistence in the Late Archaic was minimal –Hunting and gathering continued to be the basis of Late Archaic subsistence

61 Adena Adena culture corresponds to the Early Woodland period of Eastern North America The Adena culture is found in the Ohio River Valley During the Adena period increasingly large burial mounds were constructed accompanied by increasingly elaborate burial practices The Great Serpent Mound, Ohio.

62 The Hopewell In the Ohio River Valley, the Middle Woodland period corresponds to the Hopewella culture that built complex earthworks and had elaborate burial rituals –Some Hopewell mounds were built over structures –Massive earthworks were created in a number of forms including circles, squares, and octagons –Some mounds were created over a variety of types of burials, other mounds had intrusive burials in them

63 The Hopewell The Hopewell exchange network moved exotic goods across huge distances –Quantities of expertly crafted objects made from exotic materials in burials indicate the status of elites

64 Hopewell settlement According to the vacant centre pattern model, Hopewell earthworks served as the symbolic and ceremonial core of a community that lived across a wide area Evidence indicates that some earthworks were occupied Assessing the nature of Hopewell settlements is difficult because of –The widespread modern destruction of the earthworks and their massive scale –The low archaeological visibility of Hopewell habitation sites because of alluvial soil buildup Hopewell bird claw.

65 Woodland subsistence Early & Middle Woodland subsistence was based heavily on the cultivation of indigenously domesticated plants The earliest dates for maize in eastern North America are between BP. Maize is rare in the Early/Middle Woodland and did not play a major role in the diet Throughout the Woodland period, hunting and gathering continued to be key elements of subsistence along with the cultivation of local domesticates

66 Maize Agriculture in Eastern North America By the beginning of the Late Woodland, maize is found as far north as Ontario Maize was cultivated throughout much of eastern North America by 1700 BP., however Isotope analysis of skeletal remains indicates that maize did not play a major role in the diet until about 1000 years ago Turkeys appear to have been domesticated during the Formative period Turkey domestication in the Southwest and in Mesoamerica were separate events

67 Domestication: Bruce Smiths model A coevolutionary model for the indigenous domestication of plants in eastern North America Smith states that climate change led to increased permanence of human settlements The shift to more permanent settlements led to gradual ecological changes that resulted in the emergence of domesticated plants over a period of several thousand years

68 Domestication: Smiths model, in 5 major stages 1. Garbage heaps around long-term human occupations provided an excellent ecological niche for weedy plants. In these contexts, seeds that sprouted and grew quickly had an advantage 2. People tolerated edible plants and removed unwanted plants 3. People began to encourage and systematically harvest useful plants while weeding out useless ones 4. Seeds of the best useful plants were deliberately planted every year 5. Plants that were clearly morphologically domesticated emerged

69 Domestication: Prentices model Guy Prentice proposed that the domestication of plants might have been the result of intentional actions by individuals Prentice argues that the introduction of domesticated squash into eastern North America was carried out by male shamans who would have used the gourds as rattles or ritual containers

70 Princess Point Complex Found in southern Ontario; dates to 650–900 A.D. Consisted of Algonkian-speaking hunter-gatherers Important to the debate about whether maize exploitation (agriculture) moved into the area via migration from the south during this time, or whether it was adopted by local groups Pottery is believed to have started 900 A.D.; however, University of Toronto at Mississauga archaeologists David Smith and Gary Crawford have found evidence for both pottery and a degree of sedentism as early as 540 A.D. in the PPC –Suggests perhaps both local adoption of agriculture and migration

71 Gender Bias and domestication Watson and Kennedy link the seeming invisibility of people in the origins of agriculture to gender bias –men are strong, dominant protectors who hunt animals; women are weaker, passive, hampered by their reproductive responsibilities, and hence, consigned to plant gathering (Watson and Kennedy 1991:256) Smiths domestication model is an example of the passive form of biasagriculture just happened unconsciously

72 Gender Bias and domestication Prentices domestication model is active but, tellingly, the agent is explicitly male Watson and Kennedy propose a model for the adoption of maize in eastern North America that emphasizes the active role of female gardeners They propose that women, who already had extensive experience growing indigenous cultigens, actively experimented with the Midwestern 12-row maize to develop a variety that was better suited to their region

73 Gender Bias and domestication –The result was the development and spread of eastern 8-row maize In this model, the adoption of maize in eastern North America was an achievement of the active intervention of women

74 Summing up the evidence In eastern North America, hunter-gatherer groups had domesticated a number of plant species long before the introduction of maize agriculture Regional variability continued into the Formative period –Archaeologists try to explain the pattern in terms of optimal foraging theory

75 Early and Middle Woodland Adena and Hopewell cultures Massive earthworks constructed Evidence for specialized craft manufacture Long-distance trade in high status items Nature of settlement systems remains poorly understood Introduction of maize at the end of the Middle Woodland period had little impact of the diet


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