Agriculture by dfsdf224s



                      The Basis of Civilization

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                                        1

Developed separately in
three different parts of the
     South-west Asia (Middle
A major alteration of the
     Could provide much greater
     quantities of food.
     Made civilization possible.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                                        2


10,000 years ago the human population was about 4 million; 5,000 years ago it was maybe 5 million.
Then with agriculture, it began to double every millennium to reach 50 million by 1000 BCE.
Then it grew to 100 million by 500 BCE. Then 200 million by 200 CE.
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                                        3
               Irreversible Process
The Agricultural Revolution:
     A transition from hunting and gathering that took
     place over thousands of years.
     Impossible to reverse.
         Much larger population could not be fed.
     All of the methods of agriculture were in use
     (somewhere) before 10,000 BCE.
     The “revolution” is the intensification of these

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                 4

Why was Agriculture Adopted?
Agriculture was not easier than hunting & gathering.
     Much more effort was involved in clearing land, sowing,
     tending, and harvesting, and looking after domesticated
Food grown was not clearly more nutritious.
     Wild grains were often much more nutritious than
     cultivated ones.
No greater security was guaranteed.
     Now humans had to depend on a small range of plants &
What it does is provide more food from less land.
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                 5

Land Required to Feed One Person
By hunting and                    10
gathering, 10 km2                  9

By dry farming                     7
(farming without
irrigation), 0.5 km2               4
By wet farming                     2
(farming with
irrigation), 0.1 km2                   H-G   Dry    Wet

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                 6
                            Old Views:
Farming was obviously better:
      The advantages of agriculture were so obvious that as soon
      as it was discovered, all hunting and gathering ceased.
Climate change forced the change to agriculture:
      But climates had changed before without a change in
      hunting and gathering.
      Moreover, the climate changes in SW Asia, China, and
      Mesoamerica would have been very different from each

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                             7

                   Best Explanation:
Increasing population pressure.
      Efforts made by hunting and gathering groups to limit
      population were not always successful.
      Usual solution:
         Excess population migrated.
         Eventually all suitable areas were occupied.
         World population of 4 million reached 10,000 years ago was
         perhaps the maximum sustainable on hunting and gathering.
Once people turned to agriculture to get enough food,
there was a surplus, the population continued to rise,
and then there was no turning back.
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                             8

          Different Developments
  Each major area of the world where agriculture
  developed independently did it differently.
       With profound consequences for world history.
  Consider each in turn:
 1.    South-
       South-West Asia
           Beginning in the Middle East.
           More specifically in the Fertile Crescent.
 2.    China
           Beginning in the northern plains.
 3.    Mesoamerica
           Earliest evidence from Mexico.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                             9
                   South-West Asia
The first area to
transform to
The so called “fertile
A region corresponding
to parts of present day
Iraq, Iran, Israel,
Palestine, Syria, Egypt,
and south Anatolia (part
of Turkey).

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                      10

            Wild Plants Available
The region was rich in naturally occurring wild,
edible plants.
Hunters and gatherers had lived there for thousands
of years, subsisting on some of the wild plants
Wild progenitors of domesticated crops include:
     Wheat: from emmer and einkorn.
         Emmer: limited distribution.
         Einkorn in Anatolia.
     Barley: from a wild form of itself.
         Wild barley is widely distributed.
     Legumes, wild forms exist of: lentils, chickpeas, peas.
         Chickpeas in Anatolia.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                      11

Wheat, the main crop, began as an
edible wild grass, emmer, with
seeds light enough to spread on
their own in the wind and
therefore self-cultivate.
     Emmer could be cultivated, however.
Eventually a mutation arose, bread
wheat, with seeds so heavy that it
had to be cultivated (but was much
more nutritious).

                                              Emmer   Bread wheat
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                      12
  Domestication of Wild Plants
Emmer and wild barley are easily cultivated.
     Modern wheats, peas, and lentils stem from only a very
     limited part of the wild stock.
Domestication of plants only began because a small
number of groups of people were forced to exploit
less favourable resources.
     Early cultivated plants were well adapted to growing in
     disturbed and open sites, had relatively big seeds,
     germinated easily, grew quickly, and survived dry
     Harvesting would naturally select seeds with less effective
     dispersal mechanisms (heavier seeds).

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                     13

Domestication of Wild Animals
First was the dog.
     Aborigines of Australia and New Guinea domesticaled
     dogs, perhaps before anyone else.
     Mainly for companionship and possible protection.
Sheep were first domestication for economic reasons.
     Probably done before the domestication of crops.
     Sheep don’t compete directly with humans for food. They
     convert otherwise unusable grasses into meat. Goats and
     cattle do the same.
Pigs do compete with humans and were not
domesticated until 6500 BCE at the earliest.
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                     14

When food production
could support a larger,
permanent population in
a single area, towns
By 6500 BC, Jericho, a
walled town of ten
acres, had developed.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                     15
               Basis of Settled Life
Pottery was invented about 6000 BC.
All the major crops and domesticated animals were
     No new ones for thousands of years.
This was the basis of the spread of agriculture
This way of life was based on growing wheat and
barley and keeping herds of sheep, goats and later
All the crops (except a type of einkorn) used in
Europe came from South West Asia.
     Also the animals came from the same region.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                16

Spread of Agriculture into Europe

Movement of agriculture into central and NW Europe took another 3
millennia after its spread to Greece, because of different climate and soils.
Elsewhere hunting and gathering continued.
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                17

              Farming Techniques
Swidden system – slash and burn
     This was the basic system for clearing land and
     assuring fertile soil.
     It involved clearing climax temperate forests with
     stone axes and burning.
     Crops were planted in ash-enriched soil until
     yields began to fall.
     Then a new area was cleared and the abandoned
     area was allowed to revert to grass, awaiting
     further clearance decades later.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                18
                    European Crops
Different crops were grown in a northern
     Oats and rye.
Mediterranean areas grew crops such as:
     Olives, figs, grapes.
     Of these, only grapes moved north.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                      19

   Later Domesticated Animals

The dromedary and the camel were domesticated between 2000-1500 BC.
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                      20

Later Domesticated Animals, 2
The horse, was domesticated
shortly after 3000 BC.
The horse revolutionized warfare.
     For thousands of years the Near
     East, China, India, and Europe
     were heavily influenced by waves
     of invading nomadic horsemen
     (e.g. Huns and Mongols)
     descending on settled societies.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                      21
This was the second
area to develop

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                    22

Originally farming was established in the semi-arid
loess plains of the north.
     Loess is a wind-borne soil of fine particles, easily worked.
     Soils were thick and had high mineral content.
     Most rain falls in the summer, making cultivation possible.
     Millet – food for the masses.
     Rice (grown as a dry crop) – food for the elite.
     Later rice was adapted to grow further south in wet paddy
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                    23

        Main Difference of Chinese
In the other two regions, a balanced diet was
based on a starchy cereal and legumes.
In China, until soybeans were cultivated about
1100 BC, the diet was based on seed crops

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                    24

Encompassing Guatemala, Belize, some of Honduras, San Salvador, and
     The last area to develop agriculture independently.
     Evidence comes from highland Mexico, where climate is dry enough to
     preserve plant remains.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                  25

Until 6000 BC, all groups in the area were still
hunting and gathering.
     They hunted rabbit and deer, and harvested nuts, beans,
     wild grasses, early maize, and squashes.
First steps were small garden plots to grow previously
wild plants.
     30 plants grown for food, dyes, medicines, and containers
     These included chili peppers, tomatoes, avocados, papaya,
     guava, 5 kinds of squash, gourds, and beans.
     Pumpkins were originally grown for their seeds until
     cultivation changed their bitter flesh into a sweet variety.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                  26

Why was Development Delayed?
Lack of suitable animals for domestication.
     No sheep, goats, or cattle.
     Hunting animals remained a vital activity.
Maize was originally a very
small grain.
     No bigger than a human thumb.
     For at least 2000 years maize was
     chewed rather than ground.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                  27
     The Development of Maize
It is difficult to
cross maize with
other wild grasses.
Not until 2000 BCE
were bigger
varieties developed.

                            Maize cob sizes at roughly thousand-
                            year intervals starting in 5000 BCE.
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                       28

  Why was Development Delayed,
For a long time, it was more economical to
gather food than to grow it in Mesoamerica.
Only around 2000 BC was productivity great
enough to support village life.
Hence complex societies began to develop
4000 years later in the new world.
     When Europeans arrived in XVI they found a
     society comparable to Mesopotamia in 2000 BCE.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                       29

      Importance of Agriculture
Agriculture was the most fundamental change
in human history.
     Settled societies for the first time.
     No longer egalitarian.
         Specialization within society.
         Emergence of elites: religious, political, military.
     The state had the power to direct society.
     Root cause:
         Ownership of food.
         Concept of property.
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                       30
                            The Surplus
Though agriculture
takes a greater effort,
the output of food is
much higher, leading
to a surplus.
     A surplus can be
     used to support
     individuals not
     engaged in food
     production.               Ancient Egyptian surplus grain being collected
                               and stored in large urns. From a tomb mural.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                31

          The Surplus as the Key to
Human history since agriculture has been
about the acquisition and distribution of
surplus food and its uses.
     Rising populations placed greater strain on food
     This required a form of government that could
     support infrastructure for more intensive farming.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                32


Example of infrastructure:. Irrigation. Pictured are
shadoofs – devices to lift water from a river to an
irrigation trench. A carving from Nineveh.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                33
                 Social Hierarchies
The priest class were at
top of the elite.
     They controlled
     production and
     distribution to the entire

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                   34

         The Centre of Urban Life:
               The Temple
Uruk in Mesopotamia.
     The temple was 225 feet long, 200 feet wide, 40 feet high.
     Regularly rebuilt, it required huge amounts of labour.

 The ruins of the
 Ziggurat, or
 Temple, at

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                   35


By 3500 BC Uruk was a substantial center with only small
settlements around it.
By 3000 it had a population of 50,000, and settlements around
had fallen from 146 to 24.
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                   36
 By 3000 BCE
 Mesopotamia had
 become the land of
     Sumer was
     dominated by 8

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                      37

 Organization of Sumerian Society
 Organization in cities was largely concerned
 with managing the food supply:
     Transportation, storage, re-allocation.
 The advance of society depended on greater
     More surpluses allowed more people to work
     outside farming.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                      38

Organization of Sumerian Society, 2
 Concept of property:
     Who owned the land, the food, the draught animals
     were now questions that arose.
     In early settlements, the temple seemed to own
         E.g. in the temple at Shuruppak, the temple records
         accounted for 9,660 donkeys.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                      39
Organization of Sumerian Society, 3
 Class structure emerged, in ascending order:
     Administrative, religious & military elite

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                         40

Organization of Sumerian Society, 4
 Rivalry led to military conflict.
     The new importance of warfare and defense led to
     greater internal control.
 By 2500 BCE, land was owned by private
 individuals with large estates.
 Later, in the Babylonian empire (1800 BCE),
 there were legally separate classes of nobles,
 commoners, and slaves.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                         41

         Technological Advances

                Smelting of copper by 6000 BCE.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                         42
       Technological advances, 2

              Wheel used for making pottery 4500 BCE.
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                               43

       Technological advances, 3

                     Wheel adapted for vehicles.
All these advances required specialists who had to be fed
by others.
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                               44

Needed to keep
accounts in the temples.
     First baked tablets with a
     fully developed script
     from Uruk.
     85% of the 4000 tablets
     deal with economic
     Illustrates overwhelming
     importance of centralized
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                               45
The Nile valley took over
the agricultural system of
the Near East and adapted it.
     This area had been occupied
     for 20,000 years before by
     hunting and gathering groups.
     Agriculture based on sheep,
     cattle and emmer was well
     established for hundreds of
     years before farmers moved
     into the Nile valley.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                               46

                   “Gift of the Nile”
The annual flood came at
right time of year.
     It was an easier environment
     than Mesopotamia.
     Hence large cities did not
     emerge (less need for
Two great cities were
Memphis and Karnak-
     They were local markets and
     residences of officials rather
     than populous cities.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                               47

                            Indus Valley

Settled by farmers moving east from SW Asia about 3500 BCE.
Highly stratified society emerged to manage the food surplus.
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                               48
Slower process
than in
Egypt and the
Indus valley.
     Due perhaps to
     development of
     system.                 A Seed Drill. In China hundreds of years before
                             being introduced in the West.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                49

Developed very late in world terms.
     Dependent on developments in China.
     Began farming about 1400 BC.
     Scope of farming limited because ¾ of land unsuitable.
     Swidden system.
     Kept population low.
     Fish a major part of diet.
     Only when rice became the main basis of subsistence was
     there substantially higher food production.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                50

Settled communities did not emerge until
2000 BCE, due to difficulties in developing
better maize.
     Lacked animals for domestication.
     Wheel not developed because no animals to pull

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                51
                            Americas, 2
When better maize developed and food
production soared (and population too) large
ceremonial centers developed (in Mexico).
     Required vast amount of human labour.
     Huge increase in social complexity and
                                  period”      300-
     organization in the “Classic period” from 300-900
     AD (when length of corn cob doubled).

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                              52

                            Americas, 3

Centre was Teotihuacan. In the valley of Mexico, the
population 100,000.
     Had enormous pyramids & plazas.
An immense central power and a rigidly organized society.
Empire collapsed about 700 AD.
     Replaced by the military empire of the Toltecs. And then by the Aztecs,
     capital in Tenochtitlan (Mexico City).
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                              53

These islands were settled comparatively late,
so their societies were at a comparatively
earlier stage when first visited by Europeans.
     First settled about 500 AD by Polynesians.
     Probably no more than 50 original settlers.
     Brought with them the social structure of
     Polynesia: hereditary chiefs, religious rituals. This
     changed as population rose.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                              54
                            Hawaii, 2
By 1100 all the islands were settled. Villages
existed and almost all were on the coasts.
         The population was about 20,000. Society was still
         simple and unstratified.
         Then a rapid rise in the population and expansion of
         settlement inland occurred.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                55

                            Hawaii, 3
By 1400, all available land had been taken up.
     This produced major social problems.
         Previously conflicts were averted by younger sons of
         chiefs splitting off and setting up their own groups in
         another location.
         This was no longer possible. Revolts resulted.
         These conflicts were cxacerbated by crop failures as
         more and more marginal land had to be used.
     Population rose to 300,000 by end of the 18th
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                56

  Hawaiian Solution to Population
Individual chiefdoms replaced by a single ruler on
each island.
     These big chiefs drew away from rest of society (married
     only into families of other chiefs).
     Enforced tribute to themselves (rather than to the gods).
     Took over commonly held land. Turned the peasants into
     Growing inter-island warfare until 1795, when islands were
     conquered and united under a single ruler.
         Not long afterwards the society began to disintegrate with arrival of
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                                57
  Same story all over the world
Surplus food fed religious and political elite and
Redistribution of surplus required extensive control
Led to powerful central institutions.
Became self-reinforcing as elites grabbed more and
more power.
     Imposed discipline with enforced labour for social projects
     and then in armies.
Egalitarian societies replaced by class structures and
huge differences in wealth.

SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                   58

       Two Great Consequences of
         Agriculture for Society
       Art, architecture
       Writing, culture in general
       Philosophy and scientific knowledge
       All the great achievements
       Forced labour
SC/NATS 1510, Agriculture                                   59

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