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ANTH 1003, Week 12

by: Hayley Seal

ANTH 1003, Week 12 ANTH 1003

Hayley Seal
GPA 4.0

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About this Document

These notes cover classes from April 6 - 8.
Dr. Susan Johnston
Class Notes
Anthropology, Archaeology
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hayley Seal on Tuesday April 19, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 1003 at George Washington University taught by Dr. Susan Johnston in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Archaeology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at George Washington University.

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Date Created: 04/19/16
ANTH 1003 Dr. Susan Johnston Class Notes for April 6-8 The Beginnings of Food Production (April 6)  Early food producers in contrast to hunter-gatherers: o Generally less variety in foods eaten (most focus on a few crops)  If that food crop is unavailable for any reason, it causes famine o Greater emphasis on starchy foods  Potential health problems: more dental cavities, etc. o Greater potential to suffer from food shortage due to resource failure  The more they know about growing 1 crop, the less they know about the environment or other food resources o Increase in endemic diseases from increased population density o Suggests that rewards of food production are relatively short term because long term is more costly --> people may have been pushed into food production  Why food production? o More calories can be produced per land area because you control it versus nature o Possible greater reliability in a local area (you can’t move somewhere else to access those resources, ability to move around is curtailed) o Why would you need these 2 things? If population increased, population density increased; OR climate change; OR both o After food production begins, population increases enormously  Ability to feed more people  More use for children  Sedentary lifestyle makes it easier to have more kids  Deterioration of health --> higher infancy/child death rates --> encourages larger family size o Steady increase in human population over time, but after food production, there is a spike o Food production also starts to appear as the climate starts to warm; resources became less available, so people tried to increase range or productivity of species of plants they relied on o Another explanation: increased social obligations  Social and cultural rules make certain foods appropriate or not  More pertinently, food is a social activity (communal feasts, inviting people for dinner, repaying a favor, etc.)  Reason for having more food than is needed simply for survival  ex. !Kung became part of food producing economy not because of need for food, but because of need for money to send kids to school (purely social reason) o Many factors probably worked together to push people into food production  Food production in the Near East o The “Fertile Crescent” or Mesopotamia o Natufians (c. 13,000 – 10,000 BCE) were hunters and gatherers that hunted a lot of gazelle  They were increasingly sedentary; even as hunter-gatherers, the environment was abundant enough that they could stay mostly at the same place o Younger Dryas c. 12,000 BCE: earth suddenly returned to complete glacial conditions for a brief period after rising for awhile  Gave the Natufians 2 choices: become more mobile, or start growing food to ensure it is where you are  Archaeologically, people seem to have done both  Food production in Mesoamerica o Focuses on corn (maize) o Ken Flannery proposes model that if population is increasing… --> people begin to tinker with their environment --> changes seasonal resources to make them more abundant than they were naturally --> people stay in more abundant areas longer --> they miss resources in other places --> they are prompted to spend more time in one place and keep resources abundant --> they begin to produce food regularly o At some point, the “tinkering” with the environment crosses a line and people can no longer go back to seasonal movement  In any case, food production happened o Domestication of plants: millet, barley, wheat, maize, squash, rice o Domestication of animals:  Earliest species to be domesticated was probably dogs and there were advantages for both dogs and people that came out of it  Meaty herd animals were most likely domesticated for food initially (cattle, pigs, turkey, llamas, sheep, etc.) but there are also many other reasons; labor, wool, milk, etc. Effects of Food Production: everything changes (in general)  Food production is a necessary precondition to how we live today (large population numbers and density) even though it may not have directly caused it  Sedentism (people need to stay in one place to raise crops)  Increased population  Change in perception of land and resources (land becomes something that you can own rather than just use) o It becomes something you can accumulate and use to established status or power  Pottery explodes; increasingly complicated, stylized and unique to cultures or time periods, etc. (probably encouraged by sedentism) Neolithic (April 8)  Appearance of stone tools produced by grinding originally defined this period  Now it is defined by when food production starts and becomes common; ends when metal production gets big  Neolithic is Old World; called something different in the New World, occurs at different times  Jarmo, Iraq (c. 7000 BCE) o Found by Braidwood o Mud-wall houses o Wheat and barley; but wild plants were still collected too o Domesticated sheep, goats, and dogs  Mehrgahr, Pakistan (c. 7000 – 2500 BCE) o They still use wild species, but reliance on domesticated animals increases, then dependence on cattle is striking  San Jose Mogote, Mexico (c. 1500 – 500 BCE) o Domesticated plants include maize, avocado o Still used wild plants and animals (everybody did)  Villages are relatively small in general, but patterns that lead to greater status distinctions later on are emerging  Jericho, Israel (9750 – 6300 BCE for Neolithic habitation) o Good-ish water source (variety of springs) o Tells indicate long-term habitation o Status difference of burials possibly indicated by clay heads present in some burials o Famous for wall surrounding much of site and big-ass tower  More people needed to build this than just your typical Neolithic village  Either people cooperating voluntarily to build them or power structure and people being forced to build them  Catal Huyuk, Turkey (7300 – 6200 BCE) o Larger village than typical for Neolithic; at least several thousand people o Possible ability of these people to control obsidian source (volcanic rock that makes good stone tools) o Famous for art (fat lady figurines, parietal art in houses of vultures eating heads off of bodies, etc.)  Food production causes increasing sedentism; more intensive agriculture requires more sedentism, full-scale food production leads to small towns and villages, etc.  Sites consistently used for ritual appear also; often associated with burials (cemeteries, tombs, Stonehenge, etc.)  Megaliths c. 4500 – 1200 BCE; common to Western Europe o Many are burial sites o Includes Stonehenge and tomb-like structures o Some are enigmatic; different sites arranged in different ways, not habitation sites so they must be ritual o Not all are associated with food production!  Gobekli, Turkey c. 9200 – 7300 BCE: no evidence that people at this site had domestic food; maybe villages nearby, by also could have been hunter- gatherers that built it (site was used in the Neolithic, but not necessarily constructed in the Neolithic) o West Kennet, England (3500 BCE): burial chambers in a long tunnel  Only bits of people; specific ritual activity? Specific kinds of violent deaths? Animal intervention?  Must have been a visual statement of some kind; long mound for burials in a tiny front part of it (territorial, power of ancestors, etc.) o Boyne Valley tombs (c. 3000 BCE): 3 burial mounds/tombs  One consists of one big mound and a bunch of little mounds  Suggests that something different is going on with society; to “screaming status distinctions” but some sort of distinction was happening at these sites  Effort put into construction --> it means something to the wider community  People were treated differently at death --> beginnings of differentiation in society o Stonehenge  Involved planning, reconstruction  Was not created “in lonely splendor”; other monuments were in the area  What was it for?  Not a habitation site  To keep in or out some kind of supernatural forces  Circle may have been symbolic of something continuous, like time  Meeting place or ritual space for people to use  Just accessed by religious officials or special people  Would have required cooperation of multiple communities over a long period of time --> wider sense of identity that is perceived as important  Evidence for astronomical associations (sunrise over heel stone at summer solstice); could be used to predict eclipses  Stonehenge astronomy: pluses  Clear associations: heel stone, 56 stones in an outside circle could predict eclipses  Astronomical movements are not difficult to observe and keep track of  Other monuments seem to be aligned with astronomical phenomena in similar ways, particularly tombs  Other cultures with similar technology also observe astronomical movements, especially yearly ones  Stonehenge astronomy: minuses  Eclipse cycle of 56 years is really too long to be accurately tracked, especially without writing  It can be difficult to precisely establish original orientation, exact chronological relationships, etc.; stones may also have been modified  It’s difficult to rule out accidental associations with astronomical movements; they are both cyclical o Ultimately this kind of symbolic stuff may have been emerging in the Neolithic Complex Societies  Not an inevitable progression; people stopped at certain stages and continued hunter-gatherer lifestyle, village life, etc.  Civilization is a bad word; no good alternative  “Complex society” = society with complex society systems consisting of many interacting parts o Not necessarily more complicated, just involves more moving parts o Society becomes more integrated (relying on other people to meet needs) o Status differentiation based on different importance, privileges or access to resources that others don’t have  Term refers to basically everything post-Neolithic  Questions: o How are they organized or how do they work? o What archaeological evidence do we have that tells us that?  Childe’s criteria for complex societies (modified): 1. Concentration of population (more living spaces, larger areas) 2. Full-time specialists (specific areas where stuff was made, production of metal) 3. Concentration of surplus, usually flows into the middle 4. Institutionalized status differences (burials, grave goods, housing differences, art) 5. State organization or a centralized political structure 6. Monumental art and architecture, especially if it suggests that it benefits a certain central authority or power (pyramids, statues of kings, etc.) 7. Long-distance trade, especially if it is controlled by a central authority (resources appearing in non-natural areas) 8. Writing (tablets, inscriptions) 9. Conflict


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