Anthropology Of Farming Essay

1855 words - 7 pages

Anthropology of Farming

This research plans to compare and contrast the similarities and differences in agricultural development between the Jericho Valley,in present day Palestine, and that of the Andes Mountains. There are several aspects to compare in these regions. First and perhaps most obvious is the environmental differences of these regions as well as the ecological changes in each region has itself undergone. Closely linked to these environments is the native biological species, how these native species have been domesticated, as well as looking at what crop species have been introduced to the regions, and their effect on the native species. After explaining the differences in climate of the two regions it is important to understand who was doing the farming in these areas. This will be looked at in terms of cultural evolution, groups' social approach to farming and how that affects land use and technical procedure.

The Jericho Valley lies in present day Palestine. Today the area is known for the daily violence between two competing groups trying to occupy the same environment,and in the past the Biblical story of The Walls of Jericho being toppled by Joshua's army. But there was no great falling of the walls, and despite the violence farming still goes on in the area today. The city of Jericho did have walls surrounding them but research has shown these walls were not for defense, but for use in controlling the flow of water (Bar-Yosef, 1986). The historic site of Jericho was positioned in the flood plane of a recessed lake bed. The soil appears to have been a good brown color with a desirable amount of gravel. Yearly floods brought new soil to the area, this allowed for year-round growing on self-replenishing soil (Bar-Yosef,1986).

The oldest remains at Jericho are those of the Natifian culture.The environmental conditions were better than today, temperatures were lower and precipitation was higher. Between the years of 12,000 - 6,000 B.C. the Jericho Valley region experienced climatic change that expanded vegetative zones (Bar-Yosef, 1986). These changes in environment seem to have influenced the Natifian culture to make a profound shift from a hunter/gather to herder/farmer society. Remains from early Natifians compared to those of later generations show a rapid transformation of the jawbone, this points to an extreme change in diet over a very short time. Animal remains also point to a change in Natifian lifestyle. As the culture aged it showed signs of having to kill smaller and younger gazelle, suggesting a move to a sedentary lifestyle. There is also evidence the humans sedentary lifestyle provided the field mouse with a good supply of food and a comfortable place to live allowing it to self-domesticate itself into the house (Vallo, 1990).

The Natifians seem to have extensively devoted themselves to domestication and cultivation of crops. Remains show that during Natifian time's grain size of wheat, barley and other...

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