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22 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
How long have humans been hunter-gatherers?
99% of their existence.
Food production is a phenomenon of the last _____-_____ years. (When did food production originate?)
10,000-12,000 years. (ago)
What is a climate connection to agriculture and domestication?
The warm conditions of the Holocene.
-Agriculture and domestication are largely limited to the last ca. 12,000 years.
Theories about the origins of agriculture:
*Early Hypotheses:
-The Solitary Genius Hypothesis
-The Neolithic Revolution
-The Nuclear Zone
*Multivariate (Multicasual) Hypotheses
*Population Pressure Hypotheses
*Social Hypotheses
*Population & Resource Hypotheses
*Climate Change Hypotheses
*Ecological Hypotheses
(Theories about the origins of agriculture) (Early Hypotheses)
The Solitary Genius Hypothesis:
-The first person to have the idea of planting a seed.
-Not really focused on anymore.
(Theories about the origins of agriculture)(Early Hypotheses)
The Neolithic Revolution Hypothesis:
-Humans and animals come into close contact in desert oases as a result of climate change or drought.
-V. Gordon Childe, 1936, 1952
-Based on inadequate archaeological and environmental data.
(Theories about the origins of agriculture)(Early Hypotheses)
The Nuclear Zone Hypothesis:
-People became culturally receptive to innovation and experimentation with cultivation of wild grasses in "nuclear zones." (Areas with potentially domesticable species)
-R. Braidwood, 1940s, 1983
(Theories about the origins of agriculture)
Multivariate (Multicausal) Hypotheses:
-There are complex & multiple variable involved in the origins of plant & animal domestication. (univariate, unicausal explanations are too simplistic)
-Flannery, Smith 1994
(Theories about the origins of agriculture)
Population Pressure Hypotheses:
-population pressure may have caused hunter-gatherers to abandon food gathering because pop. had reached the limit food resources could support. (i.e. carring capacity had been surpassed)
-Porblem: No evidence for pop. pressure in archaeological record where agriculture was emerging, e.g., Middle East, Mesoamerica
-Cohen 1977, contra Flannery 1983
(Theories about the origins of agriculture)
Social Hypotheses:
-H-G societies were beoming more complex, and new trade relaionships and political alliances created economic pressure to produce more surplus goods, including food as well as trade objects
-led ot more sedentary lifeways
-Bender 1985
(Theories about the origins of agriculture)
Population & Resource Hypotheses:
-H-G populations intensified H&G, but in restricted areas food shortages resulted; people resorted to agriculture as a risk management strategy by domesticating wild species of plants & animals and bringing them under human control
-these new technologies allowed humans to store food.
-Boserup 1965, Smith 1994
(Theories about the origins of agriculture)
Climate Change Hypotheses:
-climate change, e.g., periods of cooler or warmer temperature, higher or lower rainfall obviously affect food production, but climate change is NOT seen as a Prime Mover (ultimate cause) although some have suggested that the war temperatures of the Holocene have made agriculture possible
-Schneider and Londer 1988, (The co-Evolution of Climate & Life.)
(Theories about the origins of agriculture)
Ecological Hypotheses:
-Ecological factors such as local variability & human interaction with the environment provide opportunities for the domestication of plants & animals. (People turn to more reliable resources when they become available or more attractive; continuing use of wild species eventually results in their domestication.)
-Flannery 1968, 1986
Guila Naquitz Cave, Oaxaca:
-Dating of seeds here confirmed that plant domestication in the Americas began some 10,000 years ago.
Techniques that have revolutionized knowledge of early agriculture:
-AMS dating- can date individual seeds & samples 1000x smaller than conventional C-14
-Flotation- methods pass soil samples through water & recover seeds (seeds float to the top)
-Scanning Electron Microschopy (SEM)- provides information on wild vs. domesticated seed morphology
-DNA fingerprinting- can identify modern wild populations that are the sources of domesticated species & can locate potential areas of origin.
-Phytolith- analysis (plant crystals in roots & stems are Family, Genus or species specific)
-Pollen- analysis (wild vs. domesticated pollen)
(Dates of Food Production Around the World)
Middle East (SW Asia):
12,000 YA (10,000 B.C.)
(Dates of Food Production Around the World)
10,000 YA (8,000 B.C.)
(Dates of Food Production Around the World)
Tropical Africa:
3,000 YA (1,000 B.C.)
Benefits of Agriculture: (When would agriculture & domestication have become beneficial activities?)
-Changing climate (e.g., warmer, wetter)
-Changing population pressures
-Availability of appropriate species (some resist domestication because part of their range or lives are beyond human control)
-Seasonal distribution of appropriate species (e.g., does fruiting/ abundance correspond to lean periods, etc.)
-Availability of appropriate harvesting techniques (e.g. tools, etc.)
Costs of Agriculture:
-Agriculture brought diminishing returns in relation to labor expanded.
-H-Gs worked less & had more leisure time than farmers (& ourselfs)
-Foragers (H-Gs) had better balanced diets than farmers
-Farmers, w/ sedentary settlements & higher pop. densities, were much more vulnerable to famine than H-Gs
-Farmers were more susceptible to GI infections & epidemics
-Early farmers suffered anemia & slow growth as a result of malnutrition.
-Agricultural populations suffered a decline in mean life expectancy (age at death) compared to H-G populations.
The study of ancient diseases.
Implies a genetic selection emphasizing special features of continuing use to the domesticator.