The Transition To Complex Societies: Moving Forward

2404 words - 10 pages

Before 12,000 BCE, hunting and gathering was the simple, yet dominant way of life, but when the transition to more complex pastoralist and agriculturalist societies came about, there were drastic changes to the way government was run, how societal structure was organized, how gender roles were viewed, and there were new implements of religion, stratification, and also warfare. Even today these changes are either still in place, or have affected modern day society. This transition from hunting and gathering to pastoralist and agriculturalist societies is one of the most important historical changes in our world.
Hunting and gathering was the governing way of life for people until around 12,000 BCE, and although it was simple, it was very effective. Hunter-gatherers were nomadic people, living in groups as few as 10 or as large as 100. They relied solely on hunting wild game and gathering wild nuts and berries as their food source, and as a result enjoyed a varied diet. In addition, hunter-gatherers often only worked for three to four hours a day to gather food, a very undemanding workload, and then would come home, feast, and continue this routine until it was time to move on. Hunter-gatherers were constantly on the move; never staying in one place for more than two weeks. Although contact between different hunter-gatherer societies was seldom, when it did happen there were not any repercussions. There was no need to fight or battle over resources because each society was extremely similar. This similarity provided a sort of boundary in which everyone understood that in order to survive they would have to cooperate with each other and not fight over resources, but share them equally. Unfortunately, within a hunter-gatherer society there was the uncertainty of food. Weather, climate, or disease could ravage a hunter-gatherers food source, and, although this way of life was relatively stable over long periods of time, a population could be wiped out. The population of a hunter-gatherer society, therefore, was limited due to the fact that large amounts of food were not always available. In addition, they were always moving from place to place, and moving an extremely tribe was near impossible. Also, population stayed low because although more people meant the possibility of more food, it also meant that there would be more mouths to feed, and most tribes could not afford a giant population. This society, although simple and uncertain, proved to be a very effective way of living.
Unlike modern society, hunter-gatherer societies were not governed by hierarchical or patriarchal ways, meaning that status, gender and wealth did not make anyone more powerful, better or worse than anyone else. This does not mean, however, that this society lacked a government. Rather, it meant that the people within the society were treated equally. Granted, there were leaders that made important decisions for the wellbeing of the people, but being a leader did not...

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