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Cultural Evolution. The Paleolithic, the Neolithic, and the Rise of States. Cultural takeoff. Cultural evolution parallels biological evolution for six million years, until the Late Paleolithic and cultural takeoff.

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cultural evolution

Cultural Evolution

The Paleolithic, the Neolithic, and the Rise of States

cultural takeoff
Cultural takeoff
  • Cultural evolution parallels biological evolution for six million years, until the Late Paleolithic and cultural takeoff.
  • Biological evolution continues, and we see it the distributions of things like skin color and lactase deficiency.
  • But since the Late Paleolithic, most of human evolution is the story of rapid cultural change, independent of biological change.
early paleolithic the oldowan
Early Paleolithic: The Oldowan
  • Early Paleolithic: about 2.6 mya – .2mya
  • Oldowan and Acheulian tools associated Australopithecus and H. habilis
  • Core tools with a single cutting edge.
  • Flake tools would certainly have been used, but there is no evidence that flake tools were made on purpose.
  • A tool was what was left over when you got through shaping a rock with a cobble.
core and pebble tools
Core and pebble tools
  • The distribution of core pebble tools is widespread across African sites, attesting to the development of standardization, abstract thinking, and the sharing of culture.
  • Culture is learned and shared and cumulative and this all shows in the early development of tools.
the acheulian
The Acheulian
  • The Oldowan lasted a very long time.
  • The transition to the Acheulian was accompanied by an increase in brain size and the rise of H. erectus.
  • Hand axes, named for St. Acheul in France, with a useful edge all around – hence, bifaces.
early acheulian
Early Acheulian
  • 1.6mya – 1.0mya in Africa
  • 1.6mya – .5mya in Europe
  • More standardized, more variety, and more edge per kilogram of material.
middle acheulian
Middle Acheulian
  • 1.0mya – .6mya
migrations of h sapiens
Migrations of H. sapiens
  • Migrations of H. sapiens
the late early paleolithic
The Late Early Paleolithic
  • The Late Acheulian .5mya – .1mya
  • Flake tools – from Oldowan to Later Acheulian
  • The baton and anvil method
  • Fire: perhaps controlled by .7mya – evidence at Kao Poh Nam rock shelter in Thailand.
  • Fire-cracked, imported basalt cobles with tools and bones of animals that have cut marks on them.
fire 7mya
Fire – .7mya?
  • The basalt cobbles are not native to the rock shelter and would have to have been brought from outside on purpose.
  • And though there was plenty of limestone in the rock shelter, it was not used for a fireplace, presumably because it is so inappropriate.
non lithic culture in the paleolithic
Non-lithic culture in the Paleolithic
  • H. erectus began to live in houses.
    • 350kya in Bilzingsleben, Germany –3 circular foundations of large houses.
  • Clothing allows migration of H. erectus to colder areas – below 50 degrees
  • Social organization for hunting: 400kya Ambrona and Torralba in Spain:
    • Dismembered elephants, horses, red deer, wild oxen, and rhinoceroses. And thousands of tools.
wooden spears
Wooden spears
  • First spears in Schoeningen, Germany at about 350kya.
  • Five spears, made of wood, and up to seven feet long, in association with butchered horses.
non lithic culture
Non-lithic culture
  • Learning to cross water: boats are inferred from Flores Island in Indonesia, 15 miles from Bali.
    • No physical evidence of rafts.
  • More standardization and evidence of purely symbolic materials:
    • Incised elephant bone at 350kya in Bizingsleben and red ocher (hematite) in Africa, Europe, and Asia to stain the dead.
  • First figurines show up at ~250kya in Berekhat Ram (Golan Heights).
  • Yellow and red ocher at 130kya with deliberate burials.
  • Burials common by 100,000 years ago.
middle paleolithic
Middle Paleolithic
  • Middle Paleolithic: 300,000ya – 35,000ya
  • Neanderthals and H. sapiens co-existed but at Qafzeh ( there may have been long-term mixing of both genes and culture
the levallois technique
The Levallois Technique
  • The transition to the Archaic H. sapiens during the Middle Paleolithic, around 300kya, brings the Lavallois technique of producing flake tools.
  • Africa, Europe, Middle East, China around 250kya.
edges and distance
Edges and distance
  • The source of stone material for Acheulian tools is often no more than 15-20 miles from where we find the tools themselves
  • With the Levallois method, humans get a first crack at mass production and we find sources as far as 200 miles from the tools.
the levallois experiment
The Levallois experiment
  • Two groups of 17 men made stone tools at Washington State University.
  • One group had verbal instruction, the other did not.
  • The two groups made Oldowan and Acheulian tools of equal quality.
  • Only the verbal group was able to make the Lavallois tools.
mousterian culture the neanderthals
Mousterian culture – The Neanderthals
  • The Mousterian assemblage is Neanderthal across the Old World, 150kya – 30kya.
  • In some cases, the Acheulian hand axes continue but the Mousterian complex includes multiple flakes from one core, retouching, and many new forms, including borers and gravers and smaller points.
  • First experiments that we know of with bitumen glue.
hunting and social organization
Hunting and social organization
  • 70kya Würm glaciation in Europe
    • Günz, Mindel, Riss, Würm
    • Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin
  • Humans are now across Europe and we see more emphasis on the hunting of Pleistocene megafauna as people deal with colder climate
  • Pyrenees, France: 108 animals, including wild cattle stampeded over a cliff.
skilled hunters and overkill
Skilled hunters and overkill
  • We see this across Europe and then again in the New World Paleolithic.
  • It isn’t easy to catch an entire herd and move them to a spot where they will go over a cliff for easy dispatch.
  • This indicates sophisticated social organization and planning.
  • These were highly skilled hunters.
burials the later middle paleolithic
Burials: the later Middle Paleolithic
  • Burial sites in Europe, South Africa, and the Middle East.
  • The Kebra Cave burial in Israel at 60kya (64–59kya) – 25-35 year old man with arms folded over his chest and stomach.
  • The Shanidar Cave burial in Iraq, also 60kya – bed and wreath of flowers.
  • Pollen analysis shows that the flowers were pollinated by bees, so the flowers were brought in from outside.
symbolic behavior
Symbolic behavior
  • At Shanidar, more evidence of red ocher, bone and ivory ornaments, and paint made from manganese oxide.
  • Bone and ivory ornaments that have no utilitarian value, including 50,000 year-old section of a mammoth tooth in central Europe.
    • It was painted with red ocher and is polished from handling. Microscopic examination shows that it never had a working edge. It was pure ornament.
did neandertal play music
Did Neandertal play music?
  • Slovenia – four holes, bear femur
  • 82kya – 67kya
  • This is controversial
  • Lau, B., Blackwell, B. A. B., Schwarcz, H. P., Turk, I., Blickstein, J. I., 1997. Dating a Flautist? Using ESR (Electron Spin Resonance) in the Mousterian Cave Deposits at Divje Babe I, Slovenia. Geoarchaeology: An International Journal. Vol. 12 No. 6. 507-536.
upper paleolithic and the blade technique
Upper Paleolithic and the blade technique
  • This accumulation of culture really takes off in the Upper Paleolithic with the invention of the blade technique.
  • Up to 30 feet of blade edge per kg of rock.
  • Mousterian methods: up to 6 feet of edge from the same amount of material.
  • H. erectus: 1 foot per kg
  • H. habilis: no more than 6 inches.
old world stone tool timeline
Old World Stone Tool Timeline
  • Oldowan
  • Acheulean
  • Levallois
  • Blade
upper paleolithic the pace quickens
Upper Paleolithic: The pace quickens
  • The atlatl (spear thrower), and the bow and arrow are developed in the Upper Paleolithic.
  • A spear thrown with no augmentative force: kill range is about 3 feet at best.
  • With the atlatl, the kill range increases 20 times, and with the bow and arrow, the kill range increases 60 times,
  • Highly skilled lithic technology
music and art
Music and art
  • With the bow and arrow, there would certainly have also been the development of music – a one-stringed instrument.
  • Elaborate art: figurines, cave paintings in France and Spain beginning around 32,000 years ago.
  • Australian rock art precedes the European art florescence by 13,000 years.
    • original Dreamtime motifs on rocks at 45,000ya.
late paleolithic art
Late Paleolithic Art
  • France and Spain, around 32kya
  • Australia around 45kya
  • Evolutionary – microevolutionary – events continue to this day, as we saw earlier, with sickle cell anemia in some populations exposed to malaria, and with lactase sufficiency developing in some pastoral populations in northern Europe.
  • But from this point on, the predominant environment of humans is culture.
the new world paleolithic
The New World Paleolithic
  • The Bering Straits land bridge at about 13kya
  • Clovis
  • Folsom
  • Paleoindian culture
the old world mesolithic
The Old World Mesolithic
  • 12–14kya, the Würm recedes in Europe and the Pleistocene megafauna go extinct
    • Focus on local plants and smaller animals at water sources
  • This transition period is the Mesolithic, between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic.
  • Microliths for small animals and the harvesting of wild grain with compound tools
  • Semi-permanent settlements – all without agriculture.
broad spectrum collecting
Broad-spectrum collecting
  • Wheat and barley in the Anatolian highlands
  • Natufian culture: harvests and village life without agriculture
  • The case of the tough rachis – from about 12kya to about 10kya
selection for tough over brittle rachis in wild wheat
Selection for tough over brittle rachis in wild wheat
  • Wild grains have a brittle rachis – the attachment of the kernel of grain to the stalk – and a tough husk.
  • Brittleness maximizes the scattering of seed by wind at a moment when the seed is ripe and best able to germinate.
  • Native to hilly slopes, of the Zagros mountains, above the drainage of the Tigris River.
  • These slopes are not the best for farming, but are the site of ancient villages.
natufian culture
Natufian culture
  • The key to civilization: silos
  • As people come to depend on plants, the people get planted
  • Zagros Mountain sites in Iraq and Iran 10kya: penning of animals (note the same in Peru at 6kya)
  • Complete villages of 50 houses
This happened over at least 2000 years.
  • No one in any one generation could have known where it was all going.
  • By the end of the process, there were settled, agricultural villages, with walls around them – whole towns, like Jericho
the neolithic
The Neolithic
  • The transition took place in different places and times – note the concept of cultural horizon
  • Fertile crescent 12kya
before agriculture thailand
Before agriculture Thailand
  • Spirit Cave in northwestern Thailand and also sites in south China
  • Domesticated pigs and intensive use of wild beans, peas, bottle gourds, and cucumber.
  • Pottery – all 9kya
  • Japan 13kya, Mexico 8kya, southern Africa 6kya, southern U.S. 5kya.
food production creates surplus
Food production creates surplus
  • Jack Harlan showed that a family of four could harvest a kg of grain per hour
  • A few weeks of harvesting would produce enough for a year.
  • The equation seems simple: harvest a lot, eat better.
  • But … wild cereals not only have brittle rachis, they also have very tough husks that have to be removed.
This requires soaking and milling and the tools for doing this are heavy.
  • Foragers could not carry the equipment needed.
  • Under population pressure and the drying conditions of the time, the solution was semi-permanent villages where all the technology of production could be stored and maintained.
  • The problem of storage was solved with the invention of clay-lined pits around the houses of the Natufians.
  • Pottery may have developed when people figured out how to take those clay linings out of the ground.
  • And beer would have been a by-product of this activity long before leavened bread was invented.
domesticated anaimals
Domesticated anaimals
  • At Zawi Chemi Shanidar and other sites in the Zagros mountains of Iran and Iraq, we see the sex ratio of goats change dramatically around 10,000 years ago.
  • Large numbers of juvenile males killed.
  • At 6,300ya in Peru we see a large number of infant llamas, indicating the penning up of wild animals.
    • Enterotoxemia an early problem in penning animals.
village life develops
Village life develops…
  • Enyan site in Israel, three Natufian villages, one atop the next.
  • 700-sqm settlements – villages, with 50 circular pit houses, stone walls above ground and other indications of harvesting wild grain – and of storing it in sunken pits.
  • Burials became more complex: social inequalities.
  • Villages become more densely populated and the number of different foods increased.
  • There are processing areas and sickles – for right-handed people.
the price of success
The price of success
  • The technology of surplus-producing agriculture plants people.
  • Roasters, grinders and pit boiling and storage pits.
    • As people came to depend on plants, people got planted themselves.
  • As Kent Flannery asks: “Where do you go with a ton of wheat?”
from experiment to states
From experiment to states
  • From the early experiments with agriculture came settled agricultural villages.
  • Many had long histories, with population expansion and eventual incorporation of villages into larger political units until the development of the state – and what we commonly call civilization.
  • This sequence happened several times, entirely independently.
jomom period in japan
Jomom period in Japan
  • One early transition, around 8kya, in the fertile crescent: Israel, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.
  • It began in Japan around 12kya and in Thailand around 10kya years ago with the development of rice.
  • Cord-marked Jomom pottery and polished stone tools.
  • More than 10,000 sites in Japan for the Jomom period (13kya – 2300ya).
same process africa and the nw
Same process: Africa and the NW
  • The process took place in Mexico and Peru much later, but the trajectories were the same.
  • The Würm retreated in the Old World beginning about 12-14kya.
  • Process complete by 8kya in Europe and Asia, and 6kya in Africa (when the Sahara had lakes and people hunted crocodiles and hippos) and in the Americas.
prehistory of the americas
Prehistory of the Americas
  • In the Americas, the process did not include the domestication of draught animals.
  • But by 5,000 years ago, people in Alabama and Kentucky, who hunted extensively in the game-rich forests, were focusing on smaller game and developing a broad spectrum adaptation.
cultural horizons
Cultural horizons
  • With the end of the Ice Age, the consequence was the same across the northern hemisphere: disappearance of the megafauna and broad spectrum focus on hunting and gathering, leading eventually to agriculture.
  • Humans across the world went through similar cultural horizons, though at different times.
myths about agriculture
Myths about agriculture
  • Agriculture was not invented. It evolved.
  • Agriculture produced a surplus, but this did not lead immediately to the elimination of foraging.
  • Agricultural surplus did not get translated into less work, especially for women.
  • Agriculture did not produce a secure way of life, or a healthy way of life – at least not for a long time.
  • In fact, life expectancy goes down around the world when hunting and gathering is initially replaced by food production.
  • Surplus creates inequalities, long hours, little leisure, lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality.
  • Studies of modern hunting and gathering societies show that people spend less time in subsistence work, have more leisure, and live as long or longer than village agriculturalists, and practice birth control.
theories of the neolithic
Theories of the Neolithic
  • Thus, the big question about the Neolithic is why should people give up hunting and gathering technology when it provides for their needs?
  • Theories of the Neolithic: V. Gordon Childe, Robert Braidwood, Lewis Binford, Kent Flannery
v gordon childe
V. Gordon Childe
  • The Most Ancient East (1929)
  • The Middle East dried up after the Wurm
  • From pollen at Lake Zeribar in western Iran, we see that the climate changed radically between 22kya and 8kya
  • At 22kya the vegetation was low, with few trees. By 10kya, some oak and pistachio trees
  • By 8kya there are oak forests, as there are today.
regions of refuge
Regions of refuge
  • Hunters and gatherers were forced into regions of refuge.
  • People and animals lived much closer, leading to domestication.
  • Population expansion led to planting of the wild grasses that were consumed.
  • Wild animals concentrated at the oases to eat the remains of the crops.
People penned the animals and eventually domesticated them.
  • Childes’ theory is that people selected plants and animals for human consumption.
  • If Childe was right, then there should be many early Neolithic sites along the river valleys of the Middle East.
braidwood and the hilly flanks
Braidwood and the hilly flanks
  • Robert Braidwood found many Neolithic sites were on the hilly flanks of the Zagros mountains around the fertile crescent.
  • These sites had some of the earliest plants that were domesticated.
But the earliest cities of the area developed in the valleys around 5500ya.
  • Three explanations:
    • They moved to the valleys when population pressure required greater productivity
    • They developed in place, but the remains of earlier peoples are covered up today.
    • Rivers have changed course in the last 10k years; many sites may also be covered over with silt, making it tough to locate them.
flannery s theory
Flannery’s theory
  • Kent Flannery: there is no pressure to give up seasonally collected resources if the collecting fits into a yearly round of activities.
  • As people selected features of wild grasses, the higher productivity led to greater exploitation.
  • People came to rely on specific plants and the communities experienced increasing population density.
the carrying capacity trap
The carrying capacity trap …
  • Until 9kya the density in the Middle East was >1 person/sq. km.
  • By 7kya, it was 2/sq km.
  • By 5kya it was 6 or 7 because of irrigation.
  • Once again, people got trapped.
    • The population rose to the carrying capacity of the land and technology.
  • H/G was no longer a viable option, given the population.
boserup s observation
Boserup’s observation
  • The first change at the Natufian horizon may not have been because of population pressure, but later developments of technology are in response to population pressure.
  • Ester Boserup identified the cycle: clear the forest with stone tools; produce more food; produce more people; clear more land; shorten fallow periods (not let the land return to forest); produce more people; exceed carrying capacity; intensify technology again.
domesticates all by 5kya
Domesticates: All by 5kya
  • Wheat and barley: Middle East
  • Olives: Mediterranean
  • Millet, soybeans: China
  • Rice: Southeast Asia (some yams)
  • Corn: Mexico
  • Sorghum: Africa (some yams, rice)
the neolithic evolution
The Neolithic Evolution
  • In sum, the Neolithic Revolution took about 4000 years – from 12kya to 8kya – to get under way and was completed by about 5kya when almost all the world’s chief domesticates were established.
  • The Neolithic Revolution is not complete. There are still communities that have not fully given up their hunting and gathering way of life, but they are fewer and fewer each year.
ali kosh and tehuac n
Ali Kosh and Tehuacán
  • Two type sites for understanding the concepts of cultural horizons and of intensification.
  • At 9,900ya, Ali Kosh, in the Deh Luran Plain of Iran, was a 1 acre site of houses made of unfired clay and woven mat roofs.
ali kosh
Ali Kosh
  • People planted wheat and barley, and hunted wild goats.
  • The goats were killed young. Less than 1/3 of the bones found are of animals > 3 years old.
  • Most of the older goats were female, indicating that the females were kept for breeding and the young males were butchered for consumption.
The people of Ali Kosh also ate gazelles, oxen, donkeys, pigs, and water fowl, and took fish from the swamps.
  • No seeds or animal remains from species that are typical of the summer season.
  • This indicates that they occupied the site during the winter, but abandoned it for rich hunting and foraging during the summer.
trade develops
Trade develops …
  • Over time, the proportion of wild to domesticated species decreases, but there is continued use of wild species.
  • By 7500ya, the site was 3 acres and there were about 170 people, with satellites around the main site.
  • Stone tools at the site indicate long distance trade of 500 miles;
    • The cowrie shells are from at >200 miles away.
  • The people of Ali Kosh intensified their production system again.
  • They moved from the edge of the swamps to the edge of streams and began irrigation.
  • The villages in the area grew to around 1500.
  • This required much more land to be cleared, which led to the decline of the gazelle and other wild animals.
craft specialists
Craft specialists
  • At 7500ya there are fired clay pots, indicating the presence of craft specialists.
  • We see the Boserup cycle at Ali Kosh: land cleared for animal pasture; then later, land cleared for crops.
  • Tehuacán: 9kya-7kya 6% of plant foods were domesticates.
  • 7000-5400ya 14%
  • 5400-4300ya 25%
  • 3500ya, irrigated agriculture and 60% domesticates
  • 2850ya permanent villages
the big picture
The big picture
  • Note: the cultural horizons were the same in both cases, but independent in time and space.
  • The glacial retreat in the New World and the Old World at different times is the best explanation for this – so far.
first demographic transition
First Demographic Transition
  • Until 30kya there were perhaps 1m people on Earth.
  • Upper Paleolithic, 30–15kya, population may have reached 6–8m.
  • Broad spectrum period 15–10kya, population may have reached 10m.
the concept of civilization
The concept of civilization
  • Classical definition: agriculture, writing, monumental architecture, stratification
  • Northwest Coast of North America: stratified society without agriculture
  • Aztecs and Incas: complex societies and monumental architecture without writing.
hearths of civilization
Hearths of civilization
  • Bend of the Huang Ho (Shang) 3600ya
  • Indus Valley (Mohenjo Daro and Harappa) 4500ya
  • Nile Valley
  • Tigris-Euphrates
  • Highland Mexico and highland Peru
the origin of the state
The origin of the state
  • In all cases the evolution has been the same: incipient agriculture, a formative period, and a florescent era followed by militarism and cyclical empires.
  • Mohenjo Daro in 4500ya; Shang culture at the bend of the Huang Ho in 3600ya; Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Population concentrated in fertile river valleys; food crops stabilized; surpluses converted to support for specialists, including priests and militarists.
two theories of the state
Two theories of the state
  • But what caused the development of the state? Why did people give up their freedom to become incorporated into larger political units?
  • Hydraulic theory – Karl Wittfogel, Julian Steward
  • Circumscription theory – Robert Carneiro, Marvin Harris, Ronald Cohen
hydraulic theory
Hydraulic theory
  • Rainfall limits intensification, which leads to irrigation
  • Regional states compete as irrigation limits are reached
  • Cyclical conquest follows
  • Food producers cannot keep up with the increasing demands of the state and there is a collapse
  • Later, re-establishment of states
julian steward s theory
Julian Steward’s theory
  • Compared five cases that conform to this model of primary state formation: southwest Asia, Egypt, northern China, Peru, and Mesoamerica.
  • All have monumental architecture, irrigation technology, and calendrics.
  • But: the Mayan ridged fields and the Bali non-state irrigation system show that inequality and centralized authority are not mandated by irrigation.
irrigation and intensification
Irrigation and intensification
  • Intensification is always associated with population growth, but there is the problem of correlation and causation.
carneiro s circumscription theory
Carneiro’s circumscription theory
  • In circumscription theory, warfare, trade, and religious/political elites are outcomes rather than causes of states.
  • Population growth leads to:
    • intensification; further population increase; trade; specialization; further intensification; leadership to organize irrigation and other large projects; control of force and the power to tax.
  • The war-makes-states (and states make war) theory (Ronald Cohen).
  • Writing is associated with the development of trade in the context of the state, but not all states develop writing.
  • More later about this.
who discovered america
Who “discovered” America?
  • Siberian sites at 40–30kya
  • Upper Paleolithic peoples had good seafaring skills – Australia at 40kya
  • Controversial dates:
    • Santa Rosa Island at 29kya
    • Meadowcroft Rock Shelter at 19,200ya
    • Pikimachay (Flea Cave) in the Ayacucho Valley of Peru at 22kya
  • By 14kya humans had reached Tierra del Fuego and by 12kya there were many local cultures across the Americas.
wisconsin glacier and the bering straits
Wisconsin glacier and the Bering Straits
  • People came across the Bering Straits when the straits were a land bridge during the height of the Wisconsin.
  • But 12-13kya the glacier blocked the passage from what is today Siberia to what is today Alaska.
  • With people in Peru at 14kya, there must have been earlier and non-land bridge crossings.
paleolithic seafaring
Paleolithic seafaring
  • Evidence from the peopling of Australia and much other evidence shows that upper Paleolithic people had developed good seafaring skills.
  • Many people must have come down the coast of North America, but those settlements would today be far out at sea.
  • There must have been crossing back and forth during the glacial maximum but it is not the only route.
other contacts
Other contacts
  • People also came to North America from northern Europe – first to Greenland and then to northeastern North America as early as 4500ya
  • This, too, must have required boats
  • The pottery from Valdivia in Ecuador, at 4500ya, is similar to the Jomom pottery of Japan at that time, so it looks like there was contact there.
the siberia north america gap
The Siberia-North America gap
  • There were almost certainly South Atlantic crossings from Africa to South America.
  • The first people in the Americas were Paleo-hunters who followed big game, the Pleistocene megafauna that are now all extinct.
  • The Siberian sites are dated at around 40kya to 30kya.
  • By 12kya there were many local cultures in the Americas.
paleo indian stage
Paleo-Indian stage
  • There were pre-projectile point people, up to about 10kya.
  • Paleo-Indian stage, until about 8kya.
  • Proto-Archaic and then the Archaic.
  • River of Bones at the Olsen-Chubbock site in southeastern Colorado: stampede by Paleo-Indians of bison across an arroyo.
  • The animals were butchered on the spot.
olsen chubbock site
Olsen-Chubbock site
  • There were 190 bison, and 75 percent were completely butchered. This would have taken 100 people about 2.5 hours, using stone tools, or 10 people about 2.5 days.
  • The bison contained about 36,000 pounds of meat. This would have fed 100 people for 37 days. If they also had 100 dogs, the meat would have been gone in 22 days.
pleistocene overkill
Pleistocene overkill
  • Bands may have comprised six families, with 25 people, including 5-10 hunters.
  • The extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna ... 31 species of animals died off quickly in North America alone and were not replaced. (See Paul Martin’s work on this.)
  • This also happened in Australia and New Zealand and in Madagascar.
No corresponding reduction in small animals.
  • The elk, deer, mountain sheep, bison, caribou, mountain goat today are smaller than their late Pleistocene ancestors.
  • Paul Martin’s theory: the animals were hunted into extinction.
  • But some animals that became extinct were not hunted.
The absence of the megafauna set the stage for the next adaptation: the Archaic Indian culture of North America.
  • This included highly specialized adaptations to niches, restricted wandering in territories.
  • Forest, desert, and coastal adaptations, with differences in the tool kits, and different emphases on seeds and animals.
maize the key to nw civilization
Maize: the key to NW civilization
  • This leads eventually to the development of agriculture with the domestication of corn.
civilization in the americas
Civilization in the Americas
  • Major civilizations developed out of the Neolithic in several places across the Americas. Olmec, Chavín, Teotithuacán, Zapotec, Maya.
  • The Olmec civilization began 3500ya in the vicinity of Veracruz, Mexico.
  • Olmecs developed a calendar, hieroglyphics, stone stelae, and a ceremonial center.
  • The most widely know artifacts of Olmec civilization are the massive (50-tone) stone heads.
  • By the late period, 2500ya, Olmecs developed temple mounds.
  • The Olmec civilization was the precursor of later indigenous civilizations in Mexico, the last of which was the Aztec.
Olmec, Teotihuacan, Toltec, Aztec
  • Zapotecs at Monte Alban
  • Maya at Chichen Itza
  • Chavin, Tihuanaco, Inca
  • Note the difference between the Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan sites
civilization across the world
Civilization across the world
  • Japan
  • Ghana
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Mexico and Peru
  • Southeast Asia
  • Once again, the concept of cultural horizon applies
chavin to inca
Chavin to Inca
  • The Chavín civilization developed in Peru around 3000ya. It is the precursor to the several indigenous civilizations of the Andes, the last of which was the Inca.
tihuanaco 2400 1000ya
Tihuanaco: 2400-1000ya
  • By 1300ya, the city of Tihuanaco, on Lake Titicaca, may have had 115k population out of 365,000 in the region.
    • Monumental architecture (pyramids)
  • One piece of sandstone from that city was 131 metric tons, with a base of nearly 700 square feet.
    • Required more than 2500 people to haul. City had 20,000 acre irrigated farm supplying food.
The Tithuanaco civilization lasted about 800 years, until about 1400ya.
  • It covered parts of Bolivia, Peru, and Chile.
  • By 5100ya, the Nile River had many small states which were united into a single state around 4850ya.
  • The Great Pyramid at Giza probably required 80,000 people to work 80 days per year for 20 years. It contains 2.3 million blocks of stone, averaging around 2.5 tons each.
cuzco and macchu pichu
Cuzco and Macchu Pichu
  • In Peru, the collapse of the Tihuanaco civilization came quickly and lasted for 700 years.
  • The Incas reunited the state at Cuzco in 1428, about 100 years before they were conquered by the Spaniards, under Pizarro.
cultural horizons in ancient states
Cultural horizons in ancient states
  • In Egypt, there was a century of war and collapse beginning at 4160ya.
  • The eventual reunification was the Middle Kingdom.
  • The same parallel development is seen in Mexico in the development from the Olmecs on the coast of Vera Cruz to the great civilization at Teotihucán in the Valley of Mexico.
States are characterized by:
    • intensive agriculture
    • storage technology
    • high density population
    • large settlements
    • extralocal exchange
    • a high degree of specialization
    • social stratification
    • clear lines of leader and power
  • And cyclic florescence and decay.