Skip to comments.Trying To Fathom Farming's Origins
Posted on 08/15/2007 10:42:04 AM PDT by blam
Trying to fathom farming's origins Tuesday, August 14, 2007 3:22 AM By Bradley T. Lepper
Tom Dillehay, an archaeologist with Vanderbilt University, and several colleagues announced last month in the journal Science that they had recovered remarkably early evidence for agriculture in South America.
Working at several sites in the Nanchoc Valley of northern Peru, they found squash seeds that were more than 9,000 years old. This is nearly twice as old as previously reported farming evidence in the region.
Dillehay and his co-authors point out that one of the most important aspects of this discovery is that "horticulture and cultural complexity developed in the Americas nearly as early as it did in many parts of the Old World."
Why should this be surprising?
Given that the civilizations of the Old and New Worlds developed independently, there is no reason to expect that peoples on opposite sides of the globe all would adopt agriculture within a short period of time.
And yet, we've known for some time that they did. Mark Nathan Cohen, anthropologist at the State University of New York, Plattsburg, wrote in 1977 that "the problem is not just to account for the beginnings of agriculture, but to account for the fact that so many human populations made this economic transition in so short a time."
The discoveries made by Dillehay and his colleagues make this problem more acute by considerably shortening the span of time involved from 4,000-5,000 years to 2,000-3,000 years.
For Cohen, the near-global synchrony of the origins of agriculture meant that understanding how and why people all suddenly turned to farming required a global explanation.
He proposed that a rapidly growing human population spread throughout the world. Continuing population growth put stress on local food supplies, which, in turn, led to farming as a way of artificially boosting food production.
Not all archaeologists agree that a global explanation is necessary. Certainly, an understanding of the problem must be based on detailed studies of local archaeological sequences, such as Dillehay and his colleagues are providing.
Bradley T. Lepper is curator of archaeology at the Ohio Historical Society.
How about tobacco, chocolate, vanilla?
Where did all the people who built this 'stuff' go?
I ask myself that same question every time I look at anything to do with pre-Columbian South America.
for example, the above image of Saxsayhuaman shows how massive the complex really is. That jigsaw outline in the above image is the wall we usually see depicted:
have you downloaded Google Earth yet? I can give you some links to truly stunning images. Massive earthern walls, hundreds of miles of canals...ancient terraces and ruins.
BTW, he first caught a glimpse of that area from a commercial jet.
They went fishin'.
fifty million wouldn’t be too much of stretch...
Until the 1960s most researchers thought that when Columbus landed the entire hemisphere held only a few million people. Now most (though not all) believe the actual count was much, much higher. The highest scholarly estimate Ive seen is 140 million, though only a small percentage of researchers think the number could be that high. A more widely accepted figure now is 40-60 million. Note, though, that the ‘widely accepted’ number keeps rising as new information comes in. I wouldnt be surprised if the consensus figure ended up being 80 million...
Now, why didn’t I think of that?
Dunno. Too close to the problem, maybe?
No doubt. Click on the link in post #33 and read the book review.
Later, grape farming developed because girly men needed the grapes to make chablis...
Which just goes to show that food is just an accompaniment to beer and wine and isn't all that necessary on its own!
“A meal literally fit for a Kinge or well paying traveler may not reflect what the peasants were eating.”
If you read the whole article it addresses that quite well. The lower classes ate animal products, they just ate alot more organ meats and not as much of the prime cuts. For example, the intestines were referred to as “umbles”, and that was the main ingredient in “umble pie”. That’s where the modern expression “humble pie” came from.
Also, all the classes ate as lots of fat. The muscle tissue was no doubt much leaner than today’s corn-fed beef but they preferred the fat and the fattier cuts. Most of the lower classes ate meat stews with bread as a regular meal, washed down with beer or wine since they didn’t have refrigeration to keep liquids from spoiling.
Not to give any credit to humans for being instinctively inventive and supremely adaptive....
The author seems to have trouble accepting that people invented farming, not armadillos.
For the life of me, I can't see why a "global explanation" is necessary.
Take four groups of people at random. Place them in four different locations. Confront them all with the same problem (in this case, food supply).
Would you not expect them all to arrive at the same optimum solution?
Because, if they didn't, wouldn't they starve and die out?
I'm still thinking about that. Here's an excerpt from Worlds In Collision that might provide a clue. Throughout the book, there are many other pre-Columbian legends...
POPUL-VUH, the sacred book of the Mayas, narrates: "It was ruin and destruction ... the sea was piled up ... it was a great inundation ... people were drowned in a sticky substance raining from the sky. ... The face of the earth grew dark and the gloomy rain endured days and nights. ... And then there was a great din of fire above their heads." The entire population of the land was annihilated.
The MANUSCRIPT QUICHÉ perpetuated the picture of the population of Mexico perishing in a downpour of bitumen: "There descended from the sky a rain of bitumen and of a sticky substance. ... The earth was obscured and it rained day and night. And men ran hither and thither and were as if seized by madness; they tried to climb to the roofs, and the houses crashed down; they tried to climb the trees, and the trees cast them far away; and when they tried to escape in caves and caverns, these were suddenly closed."
A similar account is preserved in the ANNALS OF CUAUHTITLAN. The age which ended in the rain of fire was called QUIAUH-TONATIUH, which means "the sun of fire-rain".
And far away, in the other hemisphere, in Siberia, the Voguls carried down through the centuries and millennia this memory: "God sent a sea of fire upon the earth. ... The cause of the fire they call 'the fire-water'."
Squash grown 10,000 years ago in Peru
Yahoo | Thu Jun 28, 6:09 PM ET | by Randolph E. Schmid, AP Science Writer
Posted on 06/28/2007 9:39:04 PM EDT by Fred Nerks
Andean Crops Cultivated Almost 10,000 Years Ago
Discover Magazine | 1-15-2008 | Michael Abrams
Posted on 01/17/2008 6:55:35 PM EST by blam
That's got to be the most self-evident theory I've ever heard. But then one must ask, how was beer discovered? "What's urine looking liquid? Oh well, I guess I'll just drink it". Or perhaps Art Bell is right about strangers coming to visit with gifts.
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