The Significance of Agriculture in Early Human Civilization Essay

1504 Words Nov 1st, 2014 7 Pages
The Significance of Agriculture in Early Human Civilization

Over the course of human evolution, there has been no greater single development with as profound and far reaching effects as that of the development of agriculture. Sustainable agriculture drove human civilization from a hunter-gatherer society to the settled and centralized society we know today. The advent of modern agriculture techniques enabled early man to settle in one area and develop their own food and raw material needed for survival and sustainment. Such developments eliminated the need for small bands of hunters and gatherers to forage for food. Hunter-gatherer societies were constantly on the move in search for food and shelter. Constant movement and migration
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Early Human Society: Hunter Gatherers
Early humans were hunter-gatherers. Among these foraging communities, there was little in the way of stability and centralized authority. Typically these bands were made up of anywhere between 30-150 individuals1. Group types can be categorized as ethno-linguistic groups which may never settle in one place. Between these tribes, there was often cycles of fission and fusion. Tribes would sometimes meet up with one another (fusion) and join together to hunt, forage and mate. After a period of several months, these groups would again go their separate ways (fission) 1.
Though little existed in the way of centralized government or authority, some centralization or “home-basing” did exist. Often a tribe would occupy a small area and send hunting and foraging parties out to return with food. This tactic was particularly useful when there were children present. Nursing children could be brought along with the hunting party, but older children who were too small to help but too big to carry had to be left behind. Additionally, this period in human history saw development of hunting tools such as spears and arrows. Iron first appeared about 2000 to 1500 B.C. in Western Asia and by 600 B.C. had spread far and wide in the Old World1.
Mesopotamia and the Importance of Agriculture
Mesopotamia is considered by most historians to be the first human civilization.

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