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Origins of Agriculture Roots of civilization Transition from systematic harvesting of wild plants to cultivation. Chapter 5 in text. See also pdf readings.

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Presentation on theme: "Origins of Agriculture Roots of civilization Transition from systematic harvesting of wild plants to cultivation. Chapter 5 in text. See also pdf readings."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Origins of Agriculture Roots of civilization

3 Transition from systematic harvesting of wild plants to cultivation. Chapter 5 in text. See also pdf readings Transition from systematic harvesting of wild plants to cultivation. Chapter 5 in text. See also pdf readings Evidence from multiple sources: palynology, zooarchaeology, environmental archaeology, paleobotany, farming technology, food storage practices, stable isotope analysis… Evidence from multiple sources: palynology, zooarchaeology, environmental archaeology, paleobotany, farming technology, food storage practices, stable isotope analysis…

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5 Hypotheses to Explain Agriculture Big question: after 2 million years of human development, why the change in dietary habits? When and exactly where agriculture took root is still being worked out, but it appears first archaeologically in the Anatolian plateau. Big question: after 2 million years of human development, why the change in dietary habits? When and exactly where agriculture took root is still being worked out, but it appears first archaeologically in the Anatolian plateau.

6 The fertile crescent

7 Key questions for these hypotheses Did population increases occur before or after agriculture? Did population increases occur before or after agriculture? What brought about population increases? What brought about population increases? What conditions had to exist? What conditions had to exist? Which plants were domesticated first? Which plants were domesticated first? How can we test these conjectures? How can we test these conjectures? When did this occur? When did this occur?

8 Oasis hypothesis Oasis hypothesis Natural habitat hypothesis Natural habitat hypothesis Population pressures Population pressures Edge hypothesis Edge hypothesis Social Hypothesis Social Hypothesis

9 Oasis Hypothesis Domestication begins as a symbiotic relationship between humans, plants, and animals at oases. Domestication begins as a symbiotic relationship between humans, plants, and animals at oases. Linked to fertile river valley hypothesis Linked to fertile river valley hypothesis V. Gordon Childe the major proponent of the hypothesis.

10 Natural habitat Hypothesis Earliest domesticated plants found in the areas of wild ancestors. Humans inhabit zones rich in certain easily harvested plants and learn to cultivate from observation. Earliest domesticated plants found in the areas of wild ancestors. Humans inhabit zones rich in certain easily harvested plants and learn to cultivate from observation. Robert Braidwood was a strong advocate for this concept. Also tied to the fertile river valley hypothesis.

11 Edge Hypothesis Pressure to turn to agriculture were greatest at the edges or margins of a resource area. Pressure to turn to agriculture were greatest at the edges or margins of a resource area. Lewis Binford a proponent of this variant of population theory.

12 Population Pressure Hypothesis Increased populations forced people to turn to agriculture. Increased populations forced people to turn to agriculture. Large populations required greater food surplus and also provided labor. Labor needed to be managed leading to institutional control among priests or chiefs..

13 Irrigation management Irrigation management Agricultural development could not lead to civilization without water management strategies Agricultural development could not lead to civilization without water management strategies Robert Mc Adams

14 Fertile Crescent Scene of earliest old world farming also the region of earliest urban centers and States. Scene of earliest old world farming also the region of earliest urban centers and States. Natufian culture the first farmers? Natufian culture the first farmers? Ofer bar-Josef

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16 Late neolithic technology from Natufian cultural region

17 Concept Archaeological cultures: Archaeological cultures: societies known only through archaeology and from shared traits, such as common burial practices, technologies, diets, and lifestyles. societies known only through archaeology and from shared traits, such as common burial practices, technologies, diets, and lifestyles.

18 Natufian burial

19 Fetal position Natufian burial Necklace of animal teeth.

20 Remnant Natufian quern for processing grain.

21 Important early sites of agriculture Natufian region (Bar- Josef) Natufian region (Bar- Josef) Jarmo (Robert Braidwood) Jarmo (Robert Braidwood) Jericho (Kathleen Kenyon) Jericho (Kathleen Kenyon) Mehrgarh Mehrgarh Ban-po-ts’un Ban-po-ts’un Dame Kathleen Kenyon at Jericho

22 Chronology Current estimates are that intermittent and seasonal harvesting of wild foods begins 11,000 years ago. Current estimates are that intermittent and seasonal harvesting of wild foods begins 11,000 years ago. Actual cultivation by settled communities can be traced to 9000 years ago. Actual cultivation by settled communities can be traced to 9000 years ago. Jarmo continues to be considered the site of earliest confirmed agriculture, but new sites are being investigated which may change this view. Jarmo continues to be considered the site of earliest confirmed agriculture, but new sites are being investigated which may change this view.

23 Important Cultigens from the archaeological record Einkron wheat Einkron wheat Emmer wheat Emmer wheat Barley Barley Lentils Lentils Grapes Grapes Figs Figs In the far East: rice In the far East: rice In Americas: potatoes, manioc, yams In Americas: potatoes, manioc, yams Plastered ancestor skull from Jericho.

24 Einkron wheat (cultivated)Emmer wheat

25 barley

26 Technologies of agriculture Sickles made from antler and obsidian microliths Sickles made from antler and obsidian microliths Sickle gloss evidence (micro wear analysis) Sickle gloss evidence (micro wear analysis) Grinding stones (querns, mortars, pestles) Grinding stones (querns, mortars, pestles) Storage jars Storage jars Storage pits Storage pits Granaries in architecture. Granaries in architecture.

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28 Obsidian sickle blade studied for wear patters and trace chemical residues.

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32 Positive Side effects Agriculture leads to sedentary populations. Agriculture leads to sedentary populations. Surplus can provide in lean times. Surplus can provide in lean times. Surpluses can be traded for other commodities. Surpluses can be traded for other commodities. Surpluses mean some fraction of the population does not have to engage in food production. Surpluses mean some fraction of the population does not have to engage in food production. This gives rise to different roles within society and produces social stratification. This gives rise to different roles within society and produces social stratification.

33 Also beer ! Also beer ! htm htm

34 Negative Side Effects Dependencies on crop and climate stability Dependencies on crop and climate stability Must be defended. Must be defended. Larger populations require more work to feed. Larger populations require more work to feed. Large sedentary populations create lots of waste, sewage, pollution… Large sedentary populations create lots of waste, sewage, pollution…

35 Control over irrigation of water, water distribution, or surplus food production are closely linked to rise of States level societies. But did one precede the other or was it a tandem process? Control over irrigation of water, water distribution, or surplus food production are closely linked to rise of States level societies. But did one precede the other or was it a tandem process? Did struggle over water create system of power? Who was in charge? Chiefs? Priests? Did struggle over water create system of power? Who was in charge? Chiefs? Priests?

36 Rise to Civilization Evidence suggests that in the ancient Near East, control over irrigation and water resources was fundamental to the rise of powerful city-states. Evidence suggests that in the ancient Near East, control over irrigation and water resources was fundamental to the rise of powerful city-states. Tower structure at Jericho 7000 years ago.

37 Elsewhere, agriculture supported complex chiefdoms. Elsewhere, agriculture supported complex chiefdoms. Agricultural surplus allows war, writing, schools, the invention of history, new technologies…but also links civilizations directly to environmental dependency, degradation, and potential demise. Agricultural surplus allows war, writing, schools, the invention of history, new technologies…but also links civilizations directly to environmental dependency, degradation, and potential demise.

38 State Level Organization States can be defined as independent kingdoms with specific self-sustaining institutions and centralized authority. States can be defined as independent kingdoms with specific self-sustaining institutions and centralized authority.

39 States States have rank divisions, institutionalized government and hierarchical power structures, (institutional monopoly of military) urban living, division of labor with craft specialization, standardized laws, control over resources, social stratification, monumental architecture, and frequently a powerful stratified religious authority. States have rank divisions, institutionalized government and hierarchical power structures, (institutional monopoly of military) urban living, division of labor with craft specialization, standardized laws, control over resources, social stratification, monumental architecture, and frequently a powerful stratified religious authority.

40 Coming next Monday… Catal Hoyuk in Turkey Catal Hoyuk in Turkey Civilizations in Mesopotamia. Civilizations in Mesopotamia. First cities: Ubaid, Uruk, Lagash, Babylon, the Sumerian civilization. First cities: Ubaid, Uruk, Lagash, Babylon, the Sumerian civilization.

41 Evidence exists for brewing as far back as 3500BC. Sumerian priest drinking beer. Tablet with recipe for beer from about 600BC

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