The Shift from Hunting and Gathering to Systemic Agriculture

In the stone age period, humans depended on hunting and gathering in order to obtain their everyday food. With knowledge of their surroundings, the early man was able to determine the type of plants and animals to consume. Among the plants which they gathered include; wild nuts, berry-fruits, some green plants, and cereals while the animals the early humans hunted include; undomesticated goats, reindeers, buffalos among other wild animals, while those who lived around lakes and other water bodies also ate fish (Spielvogel, 2). This paper seeks to discuss a shift from these hunting and gathering practices to a developed agriculture, usually referred to as systemic agriculture by historians and further delve into consideration of this shift as the greatest occurrence in the prehistoric times.

Hunting and gathering economy defined the patterns of living that were embraced by early humans. Archeological and anthropologic assertions point at a communal grouping way of life by early humans so as to enable them hunt and gather effectively in groups as the process needed careful observation of animal and vegetation growth, which also explains their nomadic way of life. With time, however, the early man invented effective tools and weapons which aided them in hunting and gathering processes. The early man hunted and gathered food, a role played by both genders; men hunted for the wild game while women due to confinement to household chores gathered around their households in search of grains and other fruits. With the growth in population, a shift in this practice to meet the rising demand of food supply was necessitated, leading to the systemic agriculture practice of producing food and abandonment of nomadic way of life as they began settling (Spielvogel, 2). This period has often been called Agrarian Revolution.

Systemic agriculture was characterized by the planting of cereals and vegetables which supplied the early man regularly with food, as well as taming of livestock as cattle, goats, pigs, and sheep which supplied early man with flesh, milk, and fiber for clothes. Among the crops that were grown by early humans include; wheat, barley, lentils, millet, yams, beans, potatoes, and corn over many areas occupied by the early humans. Systemic agriculture lead to the development of permanent settlements in groups by the early man. As crops were harvested, they were stored in granaries built within their camps (Spielvogel, 4). The additional yield from crop production enabled man to engage in other activities as specialization began taking an order, as some became blacksmiths and artists, and they traded their products with neighboring communities.

Historians consider this period as the “greatest event of pre-history” since it became the defining occurrence in human history. Almost every present culture was founded on the trends set by this era. Gender roles, labor-relations, and farm tools are based on the practices that were embraced during that period. Many of the crops and animals that humans currently grow and rear are similar to those of systemic agriculture (Spielvogel, 5). In conclusion, many other patterns of life exhibited by humans during this period have become lasting elements of modern human life for example; permanent settlements, agricultural practices, development of towns, and power divisions. With mastery of farming, wealth was created necessitating protection; armies and walls around their dwellings and the rush for arable lands have been the norm of the human life since then, thereby justifying the historian’s assertions concerning this period.