PLB143 - Lecture 04

Why did agriculture start?

© Paul Gepts 2010

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Readings

Presentation slides


Gordon Childe (1920s-1950s)

Agriculture arose as a Consequence of Climate Change (Environmental Determinist)


Some related sites of interest


Carl Sauer (1952) "Agricultural Origins and Dispersal"

Where did Agriculture Originate? In Two Areas


Edgar Anderson: Plants, Man, and Life (1954)

Genetic Aspects of Domesticates and Domestication


Peake H, Fleure HJ: Peasants and potters (1927)

"Natural habitat zone" hypothesis: Geographic prerequisites for food production

"=> "> Southwestern Asia = Near East

Robert Braidwood (1950s-1970s)

Field experiment on natural habitat zone hypothesis


Additional links of interest


Ester Boserup: The Conditions of Agricultural Growth (1965)

Population Increase --> Increased Cropping Frequency --> Increased Labor (Energy) Input --> Decreased Output per Amount of Labor (Energy) Input into System


Energy Input-Output in Food Procurement Systems

Black (1971), Pimentel (1974), Evans (1975)

System Example kcal produced/kcal invested
Gathering Wild wheat harvest, Turkey 40-50
Agriculture: Hand labor Cassava, Zaire 37.5

Cassava Tonga 26.9

Sorghum Sudan 14.1

Maize Mexico 10.1
Agriculture: Draft animals Rice Philippines 3.3

Maize Mexico 3.4

Wheat India -0.5

Sorghum Nigeria -0.1
Mechanized Maize USA 2.5

Rice USA 1.4

Wheat USA 1.8

Potato USA 2.3

Mark Cohen: The Food Crisis in Prehistory (1977)

Increases in Population and concurrently Depletion of Foraging Ranges led to Agriculture


Human Population and Technological Innovation

(Kates 1994)

Human population increase as a fuction of technological innovation

Body Height and Technological Change

Body height as a function of technological innovation (© Scientific American Library)
(another graphic of the same results)

Population Levels and Paleopathology (I)

Armelagos et al. (1991)


Population Levels and Paleopathology (II)

Armelagos et al. (1991)

= > continued population growth; little effect from catastrophic epidemics


Cultural ecology: Interaction between culture and environment (natural, social) (I)

Kent Flannery (1965)


Cultural ecology: Interaction between culture and environment (natural, social) (II)

Kent Flannery (1965)


Cultural ecology: Interaction between culture and environment (natural, social) (III)

Kent Flannery (1965)


Role of Seasonal Stress

McCorriston & Hole (1991)


No-Model Model

Harlan (1992)


How to summarize this lecture??


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