Nomads to Farmers
A civilization is defined as an organized group of humans who radically modify their environment. According to this definition, the first civilizations began with the introduction of farming and herding. It’s not exactly known why people began farming when foraging and migrating were sustaining the population for the time. But around 10,000-7,000 years ago, people began the transition from small migrating groups to established settlements, crop production, and herding. (Fernandez-Armesto) Despite the many negative and positive attributes it brought about, the Agricultural Revolution was the most important event in prehistory, as it helped to shape the world today. Around 10,000 BC the ice sheets began melting, leading to rapid changing environments. The disappearance of these ice sheets opened up more habitable lands for humans, in the Americas, Australia, and Europe. (Teeple, 15) Many Ice Age animals were extinct either by human hand, or natural causes. (Fernandez-Armesto) The once nomadic hunters and gatherers discovered that they could “control” their food supplies more efficiently by growing plants instead of collecting them. This began the process of tilling, or farming. As for the hunters, they may have initiated another process of food production, called herding. By 9,000 BC, Eikorn wheat was being grown in Northern Syria, emerging as, “the first evidence of true cultivation.” (Teeple, 14) Around the same time, excavations at Nabta Playa, in Egypt, show that the wild ancestor of cattle, aurochs, were gradually being domesticated, and were fully by the 7th millennium BC. (Cremin, 77) “By c. 7,000 BCE wheat and barley were being cultivated from Anatolia to Pakistan, and the process of domesticating animals, mainly goat and sheep, had also begun.” (Teeple, 19) With these changes in food intake, the societies surrounding them began to change also. The process of farming was thought to be a product of diffusion; however it...
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