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Chapter 1: From the Origins of Agriculture The Agricultural Revolutions A.

The Transition to Plant Cultivation Agricultural revolutions (Neolithic Revolutions) the domestication of plants and animals were a series of changes in food production that occurred independently in various parts of the world. Changes in global climate was probably cause for transformations. First stage of domestication of plants = semicultivation (scattering of seeds of desirable food-producing plants in places where likely to grow). Next stage was using fire to clear fields and special tools to plant/harvest grain. Transition to agriculture best documented in Middle East, but other transitions happened independently in eastern Sahara, Nile Valley, Greece, and Central Europe. Swidden agriculture practiced (changing fields periodically when fertility of soil depleted). Environment in which agriculture developed dictated choice of crops. B. Domesticated Animals and Pastoralism Domestication of animals happened at same time as domestication of plants. Dogs domesticated first, then sheep/goats for meat, milk, & wool. Same with plants, domestication of animals occurred independently around the world, and animals domesticated suited environment. Animals helped with plant domestication (pulling plows + manure for fertilizer). Two exceptions to common pattern: (1) In Americas there were no animals suitable for domestication, so hunting remained as main source of meat and humans for labor. (2) In Central Asia and Africa, environment not suitable for settled agriculture, but could support pastoralists who herded cattle or other animals from one grazing area to another. C. Agriculture and Ecological Crisis Transition to agricultural/pastoralist economies because of global warming of Holocene period (environmental changes that reduced supply of wild game and food plants). Agricultural revolutions brought increase in world population (from 10 million to 50-100 million in 5000 to 1000 B.C.E.). Life in Neolithic Communities A. Cultural Expressions Early food producers seem to worship ancestral & nature spirits. Religions centered on sacred groves, springs, & wild animals. Included deities such as Earth Mother and Sky God. Megaliths used to construct burial chambers and calendar circles for astronomical observations. Expansion of food-producing societies reflected in patterns in which (1) Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, and Afro-Asiatic language groups dispersed. B. Early Towns and Specialists Most people lived in villages, but some places supported growth of towns for elaborate dwellings, food surplus, and specialization of jobs. Best

examples include Jericho and atal Hyk. Jericho was walled town with mud-brick structures. atal Hyk was center for trade in obsidian. No evidence of a dominant class or centralized political leadership. Art reflects fascination with hunting, but remains indicate agriculture = mainstay of economy. Flourishing religions involving food offerings. Women appear to have larger role with this. Decorative/ceremonial objects made of soft metals. Weapons still made from stone. Presence of these towns indicate emergence of form of social organization where food producers support specialists and labor mobilized for nonproductive projects (i.e. defensive walls, megalithic structures, and tombs).