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Unformatted text preview: Bases of Civilization Civilizations are socio-cultural systems that include cities and have a complex social structure . Not all agricultural peoples have civilization, but no agricultural people have as simple a life style as hunters and gatherers. All civilizations must have agriculture . Agriculture and the domestication of animals first occurred about 12,000 BP. The earliest sites are from Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East. The earliest sites from the New World are from about 5,000 BP. Development of cities. Agriculture allowed for more permanent and semi-permanent residences. As a result, urban centers began to develop. Castes or, at minimum, a class system develop, and there is interaction among the social classes. Occupational specialties also develop. In the tribal world, each person plays multiple occupation roles. With agriculture , distinct jobs and positions develop. Political and religious hierarchies develop as religion separates itself as an institution. Agricultural societies produce people with a very different world view than do tribal societies. Agricultural Characteristics Rapid population increase . The estimate of world population in 1 AD was 300 million. This is a 10 times increase in 10,000 years. Migration to cities . As cities developed, rural to urban migration occurred, as there was a need for labor to build and maintain the cities. Urban life also offered a more steady and reliable income source. High mortality . Cities, however, produced a higher mortality rate. This was probably the result of crowding in cities, and, in some cases, populations began to rely on specific crops rather than a wide range of vegetation. Crop failure was often a problem. Higher fertility . Agriculture provides the need for larger families, and thus fertility increases. Agriculture also provides a more dependable source to support larger families. Sophisticated technology . There is also an explosion of technology, including the invention of the wheel, sophisticated farm implements, and household items. Centralization of government . The growth and complexity of urban centers, as well as growing populations, suggest the need for centralized facilities. As a result, central governments begin to develop. This is also the first instance of codified laws and formalized legal systems. The capacity for war develops greatly. Food surpluses . A sedentary lifestyle allowed for the development of systems to keep food, and the agricultural economy often created the opportunity for food surplus. This is a cycle that spawned the ability to support larger and larger populations. Increased specialization . In tribal societies, group knowledge is most important in understanding hunting and gathering territories. Farmers depend on individual special knowledge to know when crops should be planted and when irrigation is needed....
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This note was uploaded on 01/29/2011 for the course ANTH 2100 taught by Professor Hartman during the Spring '08 term at North Texas.
- Spring '08