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The Human Mind Essay

994 words - 4 pages

Twenty thousand years ago the Ice Age was ending, and the Long Summer began. This period in time was the start of many changes that became known as the Neolithic. The Neolithic was a period during which humans started to abandon hunting and gathering. Instead, large scale agriculture was established. The development of agriculture led to technological advances. These big changes raised questions. What caused human beings to focus on agriculture as the main source of food supply? What caused the Neolithic? The first theory that was accepted was Childe’s theory. V. Gordon Childe, an archaeologist, proposed that non-human factors, specifically climate change and geography led to the ...view middle of the document...

He linked the climate changes to the river valleys in four specific places, Indus River Valley, Yellow River, Mesopotamia, and Nile River. He believed that the warmer weather caused these river valleys to flood, which resulted in natural irrigation and fertilization near the lands surrounding these rivers. The water and sediments allowed for an abundance of grain to grow, specifically wheat, barely, and rice. However, the floods were not steady. At times the plants were given too much or not enough water, which destroyed the plants. The floods might also come late or early.
After humans observed that a certain amount of water could help in the growth of plants, they began to domesticate the plants. They controlled the fertilization and irrigation, so that there was never too much or too little water. The abundance of grains created a surplus of food for the people, which resulted in a population increase as they were able to support more people. The large population allowed for civilizations, cities, and institutions to develop.
Trevor Watkins proposed that the climate change and geography are not important. These two factors only helped what was already happening. Watkins’s theory differs from Childe’s theory in the sequence that the events occurred. Watkins’s theory states that there were civilizations and institutions before agriculture. He believes that large-scale agriculture would have never developed if there were not societies already in place. Farming is a difficult and complex process with many steps. It requires organization and a system. Humans could not have just started to farm without order. Civilizations provide that order. They are able to divide tasks and work. He also argues that agriculture is a consequence of cognitive ability. The human mind must have been developed in order to farm. The mind allowed humans to see and understand that plants grow when plowed into the land. It allowed humans to learn from their experiences. Without this mental process, they would have not been able to figure it out.
Childe’s evidence...

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