Week 7 Blog Post

At the end of the Paleolithic Period, at the start of the Neolithic Revolution which was 10,000 years ago, an explosion of culture, technology, and agriculture occurred for the anatomically modern human species. These humans transitioned from hunting and gathering their food to growing their crops themselves and domesticating animals, but how did this happen? It is agreed among many scholars and archeologists that the rise of agriculture began in the Fertile Crescent during the Neolithic Revolution. There are many theories that try to explain this phenomenon, but none seem to be perfect; the first of which is the Oasis Theory. This theory maintains that as the climate got dryer due to Atlantic Depression, communities fled to oases forced into close association with animals and other clans of humans. The second theory is the Feasting Model which suggests that the development of agriculture was driven by displays of power such as giving feasts to exert dominance requiring lots of food. The third and last theory is the Demographic Model. This theory suggested that there were sedentary populations that expanded up to the capacity that the local environment could handle which required humans to need more food than could be gathered giving rise to agriculture.

Whatever the cause was for humans to start cultivating the land around them, it definitely gave them the opportunity to settle in one location year-round and allowed their population to flourish. These populations that settled in one spot year-round are called sedentary communities. We see the rise of most of these ancient cities during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic Period (PPN), which was a period of time during the Neolithic Period that came before the production of pottery. The first section of this PPN, which was from 8500-7600 B.C, already contained large sedentary communities, communal structures, communal granaries, and unique practices with dealing with the dead called “Living with the Dead.” These practices gave rise to religious practices and unique culture for that time period. The second section of PPN was from 7600-6000 B.C. This section had complex settlements, most of which had walls surrounding the city. They showed signs of domestic patterns such as domesticized animals or domesticized plants. Also, some had developed ways of creating plastered heads of their deceased relatives. This was a form of burial for them adding to the idea of religious practices and culture. Now that these early humans had established settlements, they were able to trade with neighboring cities that inevitably grew their culture even more.

One thought on “Week 7 Blog Post

  1. When viewing your post, I found your point of view extremely interesting. I liked how you talked about the opportunities given to people during the Neolithic period due to the way of living sedentary lifestyles. I never really thought about that view until you brought up the Pre- Pottery Neolithic Period. This was one of the main reasons why week seven was my favorite week of this course. The content was so interesting and how there’s so much evidence that there were formed burials made by creating plastered heads of deceased relatives. This was not just a period of survival, this was mainly a period of innovation, culture, technology and it is all shown in the ancient works of these people. You also mentioned trade in your post which to me, made a huge impact on the Neolithic, this began a new era of independence. Trade created financial independence and also helped create civilizations and grow larger populations by bringing in different people with different goods. In my opinion, a huge impact on how people went from hunting and gathering to agriculture and domestication was due to the last ice age leading to the Holocene extinction. This was a huge reason why people stopped hunting and gathering because there were no more big game hunting and because this was not a stable food source, people sought to agriculture to have a for sure stable food source. I am not sure if this is the only theory or what not but I do believe it had to have been one of the largest impacts.

Leave a Reply