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The Neolithic Revolution (?). Books to read. Robert J. Wenke. Patterns in Prehistory: Humankind’s First Three Million Years Charles Keith Maisels. The Emergence of Civilization: From Hunting and Gathering to Agriculture, Cities, and the State in the Near East

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The Neolithic Revolution (?)


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    1. The Neolithic Revolution (?)

    2. Books to read • Robert J. Wenke. Patterns in Prehistory: Humankind’s First Three Million Years • Charles Keith Maisels. The Emergence of Civilization: From Hunting and Gathering to Agriculture, Cities, and the State in the Near East • The Cambridge Ancient History: Prolegomena and Prehistory

    3. Origins of Agriculture • humans as hunters and gatherers • Until • dominated by the environment • constant movement the norm

    4. Two points extra on the first test for the person who can tell me within 3 years when this painting was made.

    5. Living area ? • tropical areas: one sq.. mile per person • colder climates: 20-30 sq. miles per person • for 30 people: almost 1000 sq. miles • life is “nasty, brutish, and short”

    6. Radical Change • the Neolithic Age (New Stone Age) • radical change in the acquisition of food • humans began to consciously produce food

    7. Neolithic differences • grinding stone tools • more durable than flint or chert • obtained food wholly or primarily by organized agriculture and/or animal husbandry • rather than hunting and gathering

    8. Flaked stone Polished stone

    9. Most important change • organized agriculture • sedentary life-style • based on farming a few simple crops • for surplus

    10. When and Where? • Middle East • about 10,000 B.C. • near the end of the last ice age

    11. How did it happen? • some single genius? • accident? • in human history: never underestimate stupidity and accident • the genius is the one who figures out how to really screw up productively

    12. What did humans know? • empirically aware of the natural cycle of plants? • plants come from seeds? • they need water and sunlight? • same time, same place, each year?

    13. Why did it take so long? • traditional explanation: no incentive • hunter and gatherers maintain small populations • infanticide, abortion, lactation taboos • lacking stimulus for radical change?

    14. Problems and Advantages • food supply is at the mercy of the elements • food supply is more varied and healthy • food supply requires less work to acquire • nomadic lifestyle avoids disease

    15. Why the Shift? • end of the Ice Age: climate and environment change? • population growth

    16. Alternative theories • accident • accident and stupidity • accident and good luck

    17. Other reasons for slow change? • number of plants suitable for domestication • 3,000 of 200,000 plants are suitable • depending on climate and local • only 30 (or so) are of major importance

    18. Domestic plants? (sedentary agriculture) • four grasses: wheat, maize, rice, sugar • starches: potatoes, yam, manioc, banana • legumes: lentils, peas. wetches, beans, peanuts, soybeans

    19. Evolution of Wheat

    20. Area for natural growth of wheat

    21. Map of natural area for barley

    22. Natural range of sheep

    23. Natural Range of Cows

    24. Transitional Period: Cult center at GobekliTepe in Turkey

    25. Sanctuary circles

    26. Domestic animals? (pastoralism) • not many • and how exactly do you domesticate them, anyway?

    27. So why did people change? • why leave a relatively casual hunting-and-gathering life • for the seven-days-a-week life of a farmer • forced to do so by climatic change? • forced to do so by gradual (over the centuries) population growth ? • accidental by-product of trade ?

    28. Advantages ? • support more people per sq. mile • security

    29. Change • between 10,000 and 2,000 years ago • most humans switched to organized agriculture • in whole or in part

    30. Origins of early spread of agriculture

    31. Agriculture and Population Growth

    32. Location: early origins • Asia Minor • Palestine • Iranian Plateau

    33. Surplus Food and the Specialization of Labor • Emergence of villages and towns • Discoveries at Çatal Hüyük, Turkey, occupied 7250-5400 BCE • Tremendous range of manufactured products • Pottery, Jewelry, Textiles, Copper tools • Development of crafts

    34. Catal Huyuk ca. 9,5000 B. C.

    35. Still Hunting…..

    36. Interior Sacred Space

    37. House in Catal Huyuk

    38. Catal Huyuk: Their view