Thursday, December 17, 2009

Update: The Agricultural Revolution

 In class, we've been looking at a few key questions about these first human settlements. Before getting to the questions, you should check out a couple of really cool websites:

1. How did humans go from hunting and gathering to farming?
Humans learned to save seeds to plant the following year, and captured and domesticated wild animals to make them tame and more useful (for meat, milk, wool, eggs, feathers).

    -What changes happened in the way humans lived?
Humans settle down in one place instead of wandering around living as hunter–gatherers. This allows them to build settlements and is the beginning of civilization.

    -What are some advantages and disadvantages of farming?
An advantage of farming is that you can have a surplus and you don’t have to wander around looking for food. A disadvantage of farming is that you might not have a balanced diet. Plus you are more in danger of losing your crops because of bad weather.

2. What (where) are some of the earliest known settlements?
The earliest settlements in the Middle East were in an area known as the Fertile Crescent.

3. What was life like in an early Neolithic town? (daily life, homes, jobs, food, etc.)
Early farming towns were made out of mud bricks, with homes closely clustered together (for protection), and some had doors on the roof. There were no streets. Most houses had two rooms with one for storing food and the other for living. People were able to have specialized jobs (farmers, priests, tool makers, artisans (makers of things), builders, painters, and administrators).

 4. What tools or technology did humans develop at this time?
At the beginning of the Neolithic Era, people developed new tools and technology to help them farm and build cities. People invented new ways to store food, like firing pottery, building underground chambers, and salting meat to preserve it. Farming tools included the plow, rakes, hoes, shovels, and irrigation (moving water to fields).

And, as promised after today's discussion about domesticated animals...

5. What is a surplus? A scarcity? How did farming crops lead to a surplus?
A surplus is an extra supply of something (more than you need). A scarcity of something means you do not have enough. Farming allows people to grow large amounts of crops, and that leads to a surplus 

6. How did trading start? Why is a surplus a necessary part of trade?
Trading started when early villages used their surplus crops to purchase goods they needed from other villages. A surplus is a necessary part of trade because it doesn’t make sense to trade away the food you needed to survive. 

7. What does it mean for a village to have social classes?
Social classes are the levels of importance that the different people of a city have. A person’s social level is usually determined by their job, wealth, and their family’s social level. Social levels in a village signify an advanced civilization.

8. What makes a civilization?
A civilization is a complex society that includes:
  • A stable food supply
  • A specialization of labor (people have different jobs)
  • A system of government
  • Social levels
  • A highly developed culture


  1. This is really cool!
    From R.C.

  2. sheep video is so hilarious and the sheep started out really fat but then it was skinny

    -Ryan M