hunters and gatherers

hunters and gatherers - Maureen Costura Anthropology 150 24...

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Maureen Costura Anthropology 150 24 October 2007 Population Explosion and Climatic Change Attributed to the Sedentism Hunters and gatherers lived on a day-to-day basis, going after game and gathering plants to support themselves and their family. Migration depended on the availability of resources, which was dependent upon the time of the year and climate. Hunters and gatherers lived in an affluent society because they adapted their lifestyle to the materials that were in abundance around them (Sahlins). If through their nomadic lifestyle these people were considered to have “the most successful and longest lasting lifestyle in human history”, then why did they decide to abandon their way of living and settle down around 12,000 years ago (O’Keefe and Lavender)? Sedentism can be attributed to climatic changes and a population explosion, which led to a problem with food and resource acquisition. Although Sahlins described the lifestyle of hunters and gatherers as a “material plenty”, the population growth that occurred in Africa caused a need for more resources as they were depleted (Sahlins; O’Keefe and Lavender). In general, hunters and gatherers lived well by traveling from one source of food to another and sharing their findings with other people. However, when there was a deficiency of food, then the area was sometimes deserted (Sahlins). In this sense, hunters and gatherers were nomadic, and as long as their environment supplied enough resources, they constantly had a material plenty. Hunters and gatherers shared their daily findings with others around them. Whether they caught one rabbit or six rabbits in a day, they would make a feast out of their findings and invite those around them to enjoy the meal (Sahlins). With a rise in population, what they
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caught or gathered would no longer be sufficientt; first and foremost, there would be less resources and therefore less game to catch for dinner. This would lead to people not being able to share their meals anymore because they would have to worry about finding enough food for their family first. A population explosion did not immediately cause the appearance of villages. Instead, at the turn of the Pleistocene and Holocene, “semi-sedentary” communities started to appear in the Near East. Even during this time, people began to specialize in certain areas. For example, specialized workshops and communal buildings began to appear since people began to realize that it was more effective to have specialties rather than the nomadic hunter gatherer lifestyle (Losch et al.). Instead of having everyone in the community hunting for game to eat, it is more beneficial to have one group build houses and buildings, another group capture and prepare food, and a third group weave baskets and other goods. In addition, the communal
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This note was uploaded on 02/11/2009 for the course ANTHR 150 taught by Professor Costura,maureen during the Fall '07 term at Cornell.

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hunters and gatherers - Maureen Costura Anthropology 150 24...

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