«By Nathan B. Goodale A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY WASHINGTON STATE ...»
however, they have minimal effect on fertility because they don’t necessarily ensure a consistent and stable diet for a longer period of time than the harvest season. I believe, much like Testart (1982), that the development of storage technology was probably the most significant invention in human prehistory. Storage technology provided the means for stabilized diets and along with fertility-enhancing foods, enabled the Neolithic demographic transition to occur.
181 182 Figure 8.1. A theoretical model of converging natural occurrences and behavioral actions to produce the NDT and subsequent behavioral reactions in socioeconomic systems. Note the time periods where we see the first archaeological correlates.
One general development in this study is the consideration of the flexibility of human nature in negotiating the specific attributes that may enhance fertility. I have identified four specific variables, food nutritional content, technological development, exercise intensity and duration, and labor organization, which merge to circumvent problems associated with increased fertility and thus, population growth. I have argued that these are fundamental elements, and without them in place, a Neolithic demographic transition would not have occurred.
I have argued that there are basic elements (modern human behavior and foods for fertility) that prompt behavioral action (the invention of technologies to harvest, process and store those foods) that become fundamental to the NDT (Figure 8.1). During the NDT population growth was largely a consequence of increased fertility, increased sedentism, stabilized diets and labor reorganization, where technological modifications allowed continued efficiency in procuring, processing and storing resources which ultimately fed more people. It is important to note that I do not suggest this was technological invention out of necessity, rather that the hallmarks of a new socioeconomic system were already in place before and not after population growth rates began to increase. This is in direct opposition of the long held assertion that the origin of food production was an outcome of population pressure (Cohen 1977b). As demonstrated by the population model (Figure 7.16), population growth rates appear to have remained below.005 percent until all of the
to increase and resulted in an NDT in the southern Levant starting around 11,250 cal BP.
A second important development of this study is an additional methodological technique to detect the timing and rate of an NDT. This method is unique because it utilizes data largely available within the published literature. This offers a means to circumvent issues of other methods, specifically, data availability (Bocquet-Appel 2002; Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza 1984), and more generally methodological concerns of best fit lines that demonstrate structures within the data (Bocquet-Appel 2002). Although there is probably considerable room for improvement in the analytical procedures I have used, I submit that utilized with other methods, they can only significantly enhance our understanding of population growth and decline as a consequence of the origins of agriculture.
The model presented here improves our ability to understand population growth in the NDT in several ways. First, we can specifically address how accurately each variable tracks population growth and decline based on an objective determination of the best fit cross-correlation among all of the variables. This is critical to the formulation of a model based on frequency data because while multiple variables as proxies of population growth will aid in building better models, each variable needs to monitor the same phenomenon (population growth) in a similar manner. Second, because this model is based on accessible quantitative data, models can be derived for other areas of the world where an NDT occurred. The ability to
nature and tempo of the NDT and is especially rewarding when comparing the NDT in areas where agriculture was independently invented with regions where it spread through migration and knowledge transmission.
Bocquet-Appel (2002) and others recognize that in areas where cultivation was independently invented, the characteristics of full-scale agricultural villages developed much more slowly than those where food cultivation was introduced from outside areas. As an example, Kuijt (2008a) acknowledges the relatively slow development of plant domestication in the Near East and the subsequent rapid spread throughout Europe as demonstrated by Bocquet-Appel (2002).
The Near East NDT is a good example of the long process to domestication.
This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the foods associated with fertility (specifically cereal grains) were available in the Near East by at least 23,000 years ago (Savard et al. 2006). Moreover, cereals have been recovered in early archaeological contexts, suggesting that people were utilizing these resources.
However, even though people exploited these foods, components related to human behavior specifically certain technological inventions, did not appear to have significantly influenced population growth. This would not occur until much later and may be a signature of several converging byproducts of human behavior.
This convergence sequence can be seen in Figure 8.1 and Figure 7.16 with cereal grains found in archaeological contexts at Ohallo II around 23,000 calibrated years ago (Savard et al. 2006), ground stone processing tools in the Middle
sickle blades hafted into wooden handles during the Late Epipaleolithic Early Natufian tradition (Edwards 2007). All of these factors contributed to exploitation of resources in a more efficient manner. However, they did not aid in increasing fertility or population growth. Instead, the first sign of intensive storage technology appears to be associated with the first population growth rate that was significantly greater than those of the preceding Epipaleolithic. This finding is perhaps one of the most significant of the study.
The NDT in the Pacific Northwest NA Another example relating population increase and storage technology comes from the Interior Pacific Northwest. Goodale et al. (2004; 2008a) have correlated a significant increase in human numbers after the invention of storage, semi-permanent to permanent residential architecture, and other technological inventions. The area has evidence of human occupation for the past 5800 cal BP, but populations do not appear to grow markedly until 3500 cal BP. This post-dates the invention of storage and increased sedentism by nearly 300 years, a similar time frame for the first big rise in population growth and the evidence of intensive storage in the Near East model (Figure 7.16) In this area of the world people subsisted on predictable and abundant salmon containing high quantities of Omega 3 fatty acids. There are also correlates of new technology to process high quantities of camas root, which provides plant protein,
Four, are important features that enhance fertility (Chavarro et al. 2008). What changes, however, is that the hallmarks of the new socioeconomic system are in place including food storage before population starts to rise (Figure 8.2), similar to our southern Levantine example. While these resources in the North American Interior Northwest were never specifically domesticated in prehistory, they have the characteristics of domesticated foods as largely predictable, and when in season, they are usually very abundant (Andrefsky et al. 2000).
While this case study also provides a link between food nutrition and storage technology to population growth, one very important point that this study provides is the replicability in any region of the world where ample archaeological data are available to use as population proxies thus relieving the restrictions that datasets such as human skeletal remains may impose. The variables, however; might not be exactly the same as those utilized here, but instead they should be tailored to the archaeological record and the history of the study area.
Concluding Remarks The big picture question discussed and analyzed in this dissertation can be summed up as the following: why was there a substantial increase in the numbers of humans that ultimately characterizes much of what we call the Neolithic? The answer to this question is complex; nevertheless, there are some specific correlates among resource availability, human behavior, and technological inventions that converge at a specific point in time. I have argued that this convergence is the foundation of the Neolithic demographic transition.
the timing and rate of technological inventions in correlation to human behavior.
Importantly, the database (Chavarro et al. 2008) that has provided the information to address about food nutrition and fertility can provide the potential means to see how much this aspect could have influenced population growth. In the future this will allow an examination of fertility rates and successful birth rates, providing an estimation of how much population grew among the sample of 300,000 modern women. Subsequently, a direct comparison can be made to the population growth model presented here, providing us an estimation of how much nutrition and storage may have contributed to the Neolithic demographic transition. Ultimately, this will provide a more detailed reasoning as to why there was a significant increase in human numbers at the dawn of agriculture.
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