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Topic: the neolithic age (Read 452 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • el jefe
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the neolithic age
...is what I have been binge learning about lately.  I have decided it is essentially when the human race got interesting.  beginning of agriculture, permanent settlements, pottery, domestication of animals, trade, nontrivial political and social structures. 

before 12k years ago, or so, we were pretty much still cave men, hunting and gathering, using simple stone tools.  we had been starting to get non retarded about 40k-70k years ago, with "behavioral modernity"; the first clear signs of abstract thought.  art, planning, elaborate burials, a relatively abrupt jump in the diversity and sophistication of our artifacts.  there is speculation that some key mutation occurred around this time that made us smarter.  also, it may have been around this time that we spoke the first true language.

but still pretty primitive.  then the ice age ends, ~12kya.  we come out of some isolated ice age refuges, and spread out onto the grasslands that are springing up everywhere.  some people add wild grains to their diet.  then the climate says "JUST KIDDING!" and starts a new ice age.  this forces some people (natufian culture, in the Levant) to start deliberately planting and caring for grasses in order to have a stable food supply =>  start of agriculture.  that leads to a bunch of other things.  if you're going to watch your crops, you need to stay nearby and build better shelters => first permanent settlements.  if you harvest your food all at once but need it to last year round, you want containers to put it in => first pottery.  if you have an excess of grain, but not enough meat, and the people in the next village have the opposite situation, you figure out that it makes sense to exchange goods => first trade

so you have this unique period where it's still prehistoric, but people are starting to lead lifestyles that are not too unfamiliar to us.  some of their larger and more complex settlements (with common buildings, etc.) might be considered the first cities.  and it is right on the eve of other pivotal developments such as metallurgy and writing, which it created the need for.

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Re: the neolithic age
Reply #1
I think trade goes back much earlier than the Neolithic.

Quote
Prehistory[edit]

Trade originated with human communication in prehistoric times. Trading was the main facility of prehistoric people, who bartered goods and services from each other before the innovation of modern-day currency. Peter Watson dates the history of long-distance commerce from circa 150,000 years ago.[5]

In the Mediterranean region the earliest contact between cultures were of members of the species Homo sapiens principally using the Danube river, at a time beginning 35-30,000 BC.[6][7][8]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade

  • MSG
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Re: the neolithic age
Reply #2
Australian aborigines didn't have a Neolithic, but they certainly had trade
braying among the ruins

  • Faid
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Re: the neolithic age
Reply #3
Yeah trade certainly came before the neolithic. Even in Greece there are clear indications that people roaming the mainland were trading beads and seashells with people living near the coastlines, without ever migrating or living there themselves.
Who even made the rule that we cannot group ducks and fish together for the simple reason that they are both aquatic? If I want to group them that way and it serves my purpose then I can jolly well do it however I want to and it is still a nested hierarchy and you can't tell me that it's not.

  • el jefe
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Re: the neolithic age
Reply #4
ok, I got trade wrong, jeez

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Re: the neolithic age
Reply #5
Hey, it's an interesting topic anyway! If you haven't looked at Skara Brae yet, go take a look at that Neolithic village. Those people had to have already developed a lot of serious skills to build that community, or they had one hell of a clever natural architect-engineer among them.

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Re: the neolithic age
Reply #6
ok, I got trade wrong, jeez
Well not exactly wrong. After the formation of stable settlements trade became more important and even a necessity for some populations, which explains its widespread rise.

(My wife is studying History of Greek Civ and has her final exam in a few months)
Who even made the rule that we cannot group ducks and fish together for the simple reason that they are both aquatic? If I want to group them that way and it serves my purpose then I can jolly well do it however I want to and it is still a nested hierarchy and you can't tell me that it's not.

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Re: the neolithic age
Reply #7
Hey, it's an interesting topic anyway! If you haven't looked at Skara Brae yet, go take a look at that Neolithic village. Those people had to have already developed a lot of serious skills to build that community, or they had one hell of a clever natural architect-engineer among them.

I'm guessing that through out the millennia there have been several very clever people that we can never know about.

I trust you have read Asimov's Does a Bee Care?, and enjoyed it.

  • el jefe
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Re: the neolithic age
Reply #8
Hey, it's an interesting topic anyway! If you haven't looked at Skara Brae yet, go take a look at that Neolithic village. Those people had to have already developed a lot of serious skills to build that community, or they had one hell of a clever natural architect-engineer among them.

I'm guessing that through out the millennia there have been several very clever people that we can never know about.

I trust you have read Asimov's Does a Bee Care?, and enjoyed it.

I agree.  for practical purposes, the act of "invention" includes not only 1) coming up with an original idea, but 2) recognizing its importance, 3) successfully communicating it to lots of people, and 4) provoking/persuading people to actually adopt it.  I imagine prehistoric times were littered with thoughtful individuals we will never know about who came up with ideas we would recognize as (proto-?) agriculture, writing, pottery, politics, the wheel, maybe even some metallurgy.  but because they failed at one or more of #2-4, the idea didn't take.

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Re: the neolithic age
Reply #9
Skara Brae had, in its day (I think I'm recalling it rightly, been some years since I read about the archaeology) a stream diverted and channelled to run past each house, roofed pathways between the buildings, stone built-in furnishings, and what they think was an indoor crapper of sorts.

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Re: the neolithic age
Reply #10
Skara Brae had, in its day (I think I'm recalling it rightly, been some years since I read about the archaeology) a stream diverted and channelled to run past each house, roofed pathways between the buildings, stone built-in furnishings, and what they think was an indoor crapper of sorts.
Wow so they were more advanced than Dave also.  :hmm:

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Re: the neolithic age
Reply #11
Skara Brae had, in its day (I think I'm recalling it rightly, been some years since I read about the archaeology) a stream diverted and channelled to run past each house, roofed pathways between the buildings, stone built-in furnishings, and what they think was an indoor crapper of sorts.
Wow so they were more advanced than Dave also.  :hmm:

Only in some respects. Sure, sure, they had indoor crappers and running water outdoors and covered walks, but did they have goat tractors? That didn't move other than in their inventor's imagination? Now this is true advancement.
Are we there yet?