- Slides: 20
Learning about the development of farming through archaeology
Before they switched to farming, humans got all their food from wild plants and animals in their environment. • They hunted wild game like deer, wild pigs, and large birds. • They collected wild fruits, berries, and nuts. • They fished and collected shellfish and crabs. • They gathered wild tubers (root vegetables, like potatoes and carrots), vegetables, and grains.
For thousands of years humans lived like this. But then, around 10, 000 years ago humans started to domesticate plants and animals and adopt a farming way of life. WHY? ? • Maybe farming was easier and less time consuming then hunting and gathering • Perhaps farming was more reliable then hunting and gathering and promised food all year round • Or, maybe farming just provided more food for a greater number of people
• Farming definitely wasn’t easier then hunting and gathering. Early farmers would have had a very rough time and were highly dependent on the weather. If a drought came, they couldn’t simply walk to a different area like hunter gatherers.
• Also, from looking at human bones archaeologists have found that farmers were NOT healthier then hunter gatherers. They now lived in the same place instead of moving around and so, unlike hunter gatherers, they couldn’t move when an area got dirty and full of trash. This caused a lot more disease.
• Archaeologists have found that in the late Paleolithic, certain regions had grown a great deal in population so that this was likely putting a strain on the available resources. This is probably what pushed humans towards farming.
What are some things that are necessary for farming? TOOLS SEEDS FIELDS WATER ANIMALS FENCES HARNESSES
How do you think each of these things would be reflected in the archaeological record? In other words, what would archaeologists find, hundreds or even thousands of years later? FIELDS? Animals? Ancient plow marks Tools? Fences? And if you’re lucky… SEEDS!! Post holes
As you have learned, there are many areas that independently developed agriculture. Which one was first? The Near East
What does domestication mean? To train plants and animals to be useful to people.
Domestication changes how plants and animals behave so that, over time, they end up looking different from their wild cousins.
When archaeologists find animal or plant remains at a potential early agriculture site, they first need to determine whether they are wild or domesticated. How do they do that?
By comparing features on bones from modern domesticated and wild animals. Over time, archaeologists have been able to figure out the sequence of changes that take place in the features of the plant or animal.
What types of plants were domesticated in the Near East? Muskmelon (now developed into cantaloupe, honeydew, etc) Barley and Wheat Lentils Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
New Tools in the Neolithic (“New Stone Age”) Pottery Grinding Stones Sickles and other harvesting tools
The domestication of plants and animals dramatically changed the way humans interacted with their environment. Now, instead of merely living within their environment, humans were managing it. Domesticated animals and plants now depend on humans for their survival.
What are some ways, other then farming, that we manage our environment today? • Planting flowers simply for their beauty • Growing plants where they do not belong (like palm trees here in Tucson) • Designating certain areas to remain “wild”- like the National Parks • Keeping animals as pets and breeding them for certain traits (think of all the different kinds of dogs there are today and how different they look!!) • In fact, everything around us in cities and suburbs is “managed” by humans
Even though population growth was the CAUSE of the adoption of agriculture, it was also the RESULT. As a result of farming… 1) More food is produced for more people 2) But more people are needed to do all the work required So people began having more children to fill this demand. Furthermore, hunter gatherers cannot have too many children at a time people they are continuously moving. This isn’t a problem for farmers.
Çatalhöyük: A Neolithic City in Turkey
Excavations at Çatalhöyük