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View Full Version : If you had to live like a hunter-gatherer what lifestyle and location would you pick?



LeBrok
05-03-17, 06:02
Would you be hunter-gatherer of the steppe, riding horses and eating horse meat, or further in time being steppe mammoth hunter, living in mammoth tusk tents?

Would you be rather hunter gatherer of North Europe hunting deer in moderate climate forest, with your friend domesticated wolf "first dog"?

Perhaps south Europe - Middle East coastal area with seafood and more veggies to eat and no harsh winter is your thing?

Maybe, something more extreme, living like Eskimo on ice all year round hunting seals from your kayak, enjoying fresh liver?

Living in Amazon jungle, where food always runs close by and fresh fruit hangs above your hammock, and everyone walks naked?

What about living on Caribbean or Hawaiian island, sailing around in small sail boats and diving for crab and oysters?

LeBrok
05-03-17, 06:17
My thing would be in South Europe by a coast of sea or a big lake. I don't particularly like snowy, long and cold winters.
I would choose to live in early holocene when South Europe was wetter and more green.

I like variety of food, and cherish ripe fruit and veggies all year long. So, definitely Northern Europe would cause a dietary limitations for me.
If it comes to hunting, bow and arrow would be my thing, stealth, and hunting mostly wild pigs. Pork is the king.
Fishing and catching crayfish would be my other favorite activity. I don't mind picking variety of berries in a forest and wild mushrooms.
I never like wearing layers of clothing. I'm happiest in summer wearing tshirt and sandals. I like walking barefoot too.

Preferably a small tribe where everybody knows everyone and sharing of all food is no problem.
Sedentary tribe, not migratory. I hate carrying lots of stuff, and hate walking long distances.
I'm a sprinter. A quick burst of energy of minutes or a game for an hour, is my favorite exercise.

From recent genetic tests of h-gs, I know that my wife is brunette with blue eyes. ;) But I'm not sharing her with all the tribe.

davef
05-03-17, 06:53
Given that lack of vitamin D and sunlight intensifies my depression, I prefer warmer climates as well. I find myself much more clear intellectually and emotionally during the warmer months.

Yetos
05-03-17, 10:06
Surely not like Eskimo, it is very hard

Maciamo
05-03-17, 10:19
I like hilly forests with a temperate to Mediterranean climate. As a HG I would be hunting deer and water fowl, and picking up berries, nuts and other fruits. I don't particularly like fishing (too mind numbing), except in shallow waters with a spear (to use my reflexes and spatio-visual skills) or just catching crayfish, which I did as a child on holiday in the south of France. My ideal natural environment would be eastern France, the Alps and Italy. I don't like boring flat landscapes nor harsh winters, so the Steppe and the Baltic aren't for me. The more rugged landscapes of the Altai and Mongolia do look attractive though. The Middle East could be a nice place too, especially the greener and more rugged Anatolia and Caucasus, but the Levant is quite nice too (from what I could see of it in Israel). I would certainly not choose to live anywhere tropical, especially if it's muggy (got enough of it in Japan in summer).

bicicleur
05-03-17, 12:41
Long time ago, my ancestors were hunting deer and boar in and near the forests in the piedmont of the southern Carpathian hills.
But then the icecaps in the far north began to grow.
Our forests started to shrink and deer and boar became scarce.
In the northern plain reindeer started to appear and along came reindeer hunters.
Our tribe decided to move south.
When they reached the sea they followed to coast further south.
Finaly the coastline turned east and it was 5 weeks later that we found some small forests and some caves which provided us shelter and food.
Our tribe survived there for 5000 years in isolation, till the climate became warmer again and the forests grew.
Then gazelle hunters came from the east.
They had new weapons, bow and arrow.
We learned about it and we tought it was a good thing.
But more and more hunters came from the east and they hunted our boar and deer in our forests.
My parents and some of their friends decided to move.
They came back to the Carpathian hills and moved beyond, further northwest.
That was when I was born.
My tribe met the reindeer hunters again.
But this time the forests were growing and the reindeer hunters had to move further north.
And we had bow and arrow, those reindeer hunters were no match for us.
When we reached a nice place with clean water and good hunting grounds, my parents decided to settle.
I was young and I liked to make long journeys, several days or weeks to explore the forest and lakes and hills nearby.
I met a nice reindeer hunters daugther. She prefered to stay with me instead of moving further north.
We built a hut along the lakeside, and it was there where I founded my new tribe.

Angela
05-03-17, 18:52
You ask the best questions, LeBrok! :)

Bicicleur, what a lovely narrative. You have hidden depths and talents, including one for narrative writing. :)

As to the substance, I'm more on LeBrok's and Maciamo's wavelength. Both my preferences and my heart draw me to say right near where I was born, perhaps the mouth of the Magra Valley near LaSpezia. A wonderful Mediterranean climate, the sea, which perhaps then was richer in fish than it is now, the marshy plain of the river with wild fowl and fish, green hills nearby.

Bocca di Magra:
http://tangoitalia.com/liguria/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/boccadimagra_bianca_flickr-e1364162600253.jpg


However, much of the flora and fauna which make it so wonderful today, and which make for such good eating, were not there then. They were all brought by the Neolithic farmers, and even later by the Greeks.

So, I think I would go with Maciamo's suggestion of the Middle East. There were all those wild grains to reap, pulses, hazelnuts and fruits, wild greens, and not only gazelles, but in certain places wild pig, sheep, cattle etc. I would have liked to be near the sea if possible, but I don't know if all of those things would have been available there. If not, then maybe around the Sea of Galilee with all its good fishing and fresh water. I don't think women did much hunting, but I like to fish.:) I think it was also greener then.

So much nicer to have a stable "home", even if it was a straw thatched hut; no constant trekking for endless miles with a baby at the breast, a toddler at your skirts and goodness knows how many others; no packing up the "teepee" and all the belongings as well as the children, especially as I get the feeling that, as was the case with the North American Indians, it was the women who had to do all of that. :) Also, no endless months of freezing cold. Maybe it would even have occurred to me to plant the wild grains somewhere near that hut.

Yes, that sounds like the best bet. Southern Europe/Italy would be second.

@LeBrok,
I don't like to share either, not where that's concerned, at least, and absolutely wouldn't agree to being shared. :) So, kudos to you.

Dagne
05-03-17, 21:06
There is no place for hunter gatherers in nice climate countries - farmers will overtake these lands and destroy Nature's self! You must all go to Siberia :)

bicicleur
05-03-17, 22:44
Both my preferences and my heart draw me to say right near where I was born

I live in a densely populated area.
But where I grew up, it was a place that was flooded all around every autumn.
Therefore it was a noman's land in between.
I was always out to play with my friends in the fields and pastures.
And in winter it froze and the flooded pastures, they were all covered with ice.
It was the most fun part of the year, the whole village was out on the ice.
But when they had to construct the highway, it was the only empty space where it could pass.
I lost my childhood to that highway.
And when my own kids grew up, I felt sad that I couldn't offer them the same playgrounds any more.

LeBrok
05-03-17, 23:11
There is no place for hunter gatherers in nice climate countries - farmers will overtake these lands and destroy Nature's self! You must all go to Siberia :) In this fantasy exercies we can go back in time, Dagne. Way back in time, to the times when farmers didn't exist. ;)

LeBrok
05-03-17, 23:14
I live in a densely populated area.
But where I grew up, it was a place that was flooded all around every autumn.
Therefore it was a noman's land in between.
I was always out to play with my friends in the fields and pastures.
And in winter it froze and the flooded pastures, they were all covered with ice.
It was the most fun part of the year, the whole village was out on the ice.
But when they had to construct the highway, it was the only empty space where it could pass.
I lost my childhood to that highway.
And when my own kids grew up, I felt sad that I couldn't offer them the same playgrounds any more.
I was roaming around my town and fields with my "band of brothers" too. If only my mother new half of the stories... ;)

Angela
06-03-17, 02:23
I live in a densely populated area.
But where I grew up, it was a place that was flooded all around every autumn.
Therefore it was a noman's land in between.
I was always out to play with my friends in the fields and pastures.
And in winter it froze and the flooded pastures, they were all covered with ice.
It was the most fun part of the year, the whole village was out on the ice.
But when they had to construct the highway, it was the only empty space where it could pass.
I lost my childhood to that highway.
And when my own kids grew up, I felt sad that I couldn't offer them the same playgrounds any more.

That's very beautiful, Bicicleur; thank-you for sharing it.

My earliest memories are of sitting underneath my grandfather's grape arbor, with the dappled sunlight falling on me, and breathing in the musty smell of the grapes, the piney scent of the rosemary bushes, the sweet perfume of the roses cut by the spiciness of the carnations, and looking out over the river to the green hills on the other side.

I think it's the smells that most evoke "home" and "childhood" to me. It was the same for my mother. After I was already married we went with my parents to southern California on holiday. It was the first time she'd ever been there. The vegetation is just like home; you'd swear you're surrounded by the Mediterranean macchia. The whole setting of a city like Santa Barbara strung out along its beach with its Palm trees is also just like La Spezia. She took one look at the setting, at the fig and hazelnut trees, the flowers, and inhaled the smell of the sea and wild herbs, and started crying. She looked at my father and said, couldn't we have moved here?

Sense memory will get you every time. :) I tried to give my children some of those memories through their summers in Italy, and they loved it, but it's different for them than it is for me.

@LeBroc,
Alas, I have no naughty stories to share. I was a boringly bookish sort of girly girl, very obedient, very conservative and restrained, the kind who sat quietly at the feet of her grandparents and great-aunts and uncles listening to their stories. It's not for nothing that I always played Mary during May celebrations, and nuns in school plays. They even gave me a real veil and wimple to try to induce me to "sign up". My anti-clerical father went mad with rage. :)

@Dagne,

Don't misunderstand, I do like winter, which I got used to after I got here, and I like sledding and skating, even skiing, and then coming in all frosty to drink hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire. Some of my father's genes do survive in me. :) However, no offense, but I couldn't handle Siberia even today, much less then.

The best time to live is right now, in my opinion. This is just fun fantasy courtesy of LeBroc.

Ed. I suppose you could say I like a mix of wild nature and the companionship of village life and the conveniences of the modern world. When I retire some day I'm going to go "back to my roots" where, thankfully, the towns are either in or back up to nature preserves.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuB4GiXLRjk

Dagne
06-03-17, 08:39
[QUOTE=Angela;502971]
@Dagne,

Don't misunderstand, I do like winter, which I got used to after I got here, and I like sledding and skating, even skiing, and then coming in all frosty to drink hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire. Some of my father's genes do survive in me. :) However, no offense, but I couldn't handle Siberia even today, much less then. QUOTE]

Angela, I love sun and warm blue seas, and I hate winter darkness sleet and slush. Frankly I don't imagine anyone who may want to live in cold and winter darkness....


LeBrook, by the way, I noticed in one of your other threads when you mentioned about Estonia and IE cattle breeders - grass in Estonia is green only half a year the other half it is winter white or led grey. For about half a year cattle has to stay inside and to be fed... I don't imagine how these IE cattle breeders survived unless the climate was different 4000 years ago or the cattle was different...
8544 "spring time"

LeBrok
06-03-17, 17:37
Angela, I love sun and warm blue seas, and I hate winter darkness sleet and slush. Frankly I don't imagine anyone who may want to live in cold and winter darkness....


LeBrook, by the way, I noticed in one of your other threads when you mentioned about Estonia and IE cattle breeders - grass in Estonia is green only half a year the other half it is winter white or led grey. For about half a year cattle has to stay inside and to be fed... I don't imagine how these IE cattle breeders survived unless the climate was different 4000 years ago or the cattle was different...
8544 "spring time"

The beauty is that as long as you have organized storage with hay, cows will eat dry grass for half a year, still giving you nutritious milk every day through winter. Even today, cows in Northern Europe are kept for milk and not for meat. Only young bulls are consumed for meat.

ngc598
06-03-17, 18:51
Hmm, what's the best place for a vegetarian?

I like hot weather, even if it's dampy. When other people are gasping for fresh air I'm just beginning to thaw. I guess my place is in the jungle, but not hunting. Have you ever seen the slaughter of a pig? This experience turned my inside organs out. No, killing and disembowelment is not my case.

Angela
06-03-17, 19:24
Hmm, what's the best place for a vegetarian?

I like hot weather, even if it's dampy. When other people are gasping for fresh air I'm just beginning to thaw. I guess my place is in the jungle, but not hunting. Have you ever seen the slaughter of a pig? This experience turned my inside organs out. No, killing and disembowelment is not my case.

I hear you. My mom went to live on her uncle's farm after her mother died, and she said she got used to everything except the hog butchering. She said on that day she'd go for a long walk into the hills. I think it was mainly because of the squealing. I did the same; I didn't even wait to hear anything.

Hunter-gatherers were always on the verge of extinction, so I don't think they could be very picky in terms of what they were willing to eat. It was all about getting enough calories. That was true even in Europe until very recently.

Still, I suppose the largest percentage of calories from plant life would have been in the Levant in the Holocene, with the Natufians? Until they adopted animal husbandry I think the only animal protein came from gazelles.

You'd do well in Liguria today, at least if you allow yourself dairy and fish. The traditional cuisine is predominantly vegetables, fruit, cheese from sheep's milk, fish, pasta and bread, olive oil and wine. Some cured pork meats are served, and occasionally some rabbit, but they're easily avoided. Most of those foods came with Neolithic farmers, though, and after them the Greeks, so it would have been different for the hunter-gatherers.

If the weather then was similar to what it is now, the temperatures aren't that high in the winter, though (still, no snow), and the area can be hit by torrential rains.

Maybe somewhere further south would have been better.

Dagne
13-03-17, 13:53
The beauty is that as long as you have organized storage with hay, cows will eat dry grass for half a year, still giving you nutritious milk every day through winter. Even today, cows in Northern Europe are kept for milk and not for meat. Only young bulls are consumed for meat.



Somehow I think that the first herders were nomadic. They had their summer and winter places to be, without having to prepare hey (and how would they cut the grass without having iron?) and keeping cows in sheds protected against harsh winter conditions.

This is what herders normally do, they follow their herds. Besides, it would explain why the CWC herders would pick up farmer genes and incorporate them to current Lithuanian gene pool. I remember reading somewhere that full scale farming in Lithuania started only somewhere 500 - 1000 years after the first herders came.

Dagne
13-03-17, 14:05
Hunter-gatherers were always on the verge of extinction, so I don't think they could be very picky in terms of what they were willing to eat. It was all about getting enough calories.



Are you so sure about this Angela? There were fewer hunter gatherers but why do you think that they were getting extinct if not for the farmers? Besides, in as much as I remember hunter gatherers were better fed, taller, stronger and healthier (i.e., had better teeth) compared to incoming farmers. And they did not have to work like farmers. Being a hunter gatherer in a nice warm climate must have been a real bless. The golden age, according to Greeks...

Farmer strength is about being numerous and in the long run creating cities and culture that we all enjoy now.

bicicleur
13-03-17, 15:01
Somehow I think that the first herders were nomadic. They had their summer and winter places to be, without having to prepare hey (and how would they cut the grass without having iron?) and keeping cows in sheds protected against harsh winter conditions.

This is what herders normally do, they follow their herds. Besides, it would explain why the CWC herders would pick up farmer genes and incorporate them to current Lithuanian gene pool. I remember reading somewhere that full scale farming in Lithuania started only somewhere 500 - 1000 years after the first herders came.

Believe it or not..
The HG that first domesticated animals were sedentary.
Their flock of female goats was intented to attract male goats which they hunted.
They defended their flock from predators.

Largescale herding started during the 8.2 ka climate event, and most herders were farmers that had abandonned their farms.

Angela
13-03-17, 15:57
Human beings have been cutting grain and hay with sickes since the earliest days of the Neolithic and before. They didn't need iron or steel.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0a/Museum_Quintana_-_Neolithische_Sichel.jpg/250px-Museum_Quintana_-_Neolithische_Sichel.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle

In my grandparents' day, and even in my parents' youth, people were still using the modern version of this. I've tried it once or twice. I don't know how people could move after a day of it, much less a whole harvest season. That constant twisting must play havoc with your back; no wonder that by 50 or 60 so many peasants were practically crippled by back problems.

Angela
13-03-17, 17:40
Are you so sure about this Angela? There were fewer hunter gatherers but why do you think that they were getting extinct if not for the farmers? Besides, in as much as I remember hunter gatherers were better fed, taller, stronger and healthier (i.e., had better teeth) compared to incoming farmers. And they did not have to work like farmers. Being a hunter gatherer in a nice warm climate must have been a real bless. The golden age, according to Greeks...

Farmer strength is about being numerous and in the long run creating cities and culture that we all enjoy now.

I'm not sure of very much in this life, and certainly not in the field of genetics. :) All I try to do is figure out, with the help of academic papers and intelligent members of the amateur community, where we are in terms of the current state of knowledge. As we know, that can change, and change quickly in this field. ( I occasionally stray into predictions, but they're possibilities or probabilities and I always try to state that's the case. I'm also not "married" to them. If I was wrong, I say so. I also say when I was right, which is probably annoying. :))

There were so few hunter-gatherers in most parts of the world because it's difficult to sustain life on hunting and gathering. (One major exception would be the Natufians, who were blessed by being able to live in a time and place brimming with various food resources.)

When you have such small, isolated, groups, climate change, a natural disaster, anything that would upset the natural order, could wipe them out. In a much more populous "farmer" group the odds are just greater that some would survive, not to mention any other advantages.

As for the comparisons that are made in terms of "health", I don't think taller or more "robust" in build equates to healthier. Are northern Europeans "healthier" than the Japanese? A lot of that was the result of the fact that many of the hunter-gatherers in Paleolithic and Mesolithic Europe were living in a place and in a climate where a disproportionate share of their diet was from animal protein, which would have an impact on this. Hunter-gatherers in other places, with other diets, would be different. The hunter-gatherers of Northwest Africa, for example, who consumed a lot of hazelnuts because they grew wild there, had a lot of cavities.

Just recently it has been discovered that even Neanderthals, often claimed to be predominately meat eaters, actually varied depending on their location. The Neanderthals of Spain ate a predominately plant based diet.
http://www.eupedia.com/forum/threads/33715-BBC-News-New-insight-into-secret-lives-of-Neanderthals?highlight=Neanderthals
http://www.archaeology.org/news/5363-170308-neanderthal-dental-plaque

"ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA—Nature (http://www.nature.com/news/neanderthal-tooth-plaque-hints-at-meals-and-kisses-1.21593) reports that scientists from the University of Adelaide and the University of Liverpool analyzed DNA obtained from the dental plaque of five Neanderthals whose remains were recovered in northern Spain’s El Sidrón Cave, and compared the results to a study of the plaque obtained from four Neanderthals buried in Belgium’s Spy Cave. The results suggest that while the Neanderthals from Spy Cave enjoyed rhinoceros and sheep meat, the Neanderthals living in Spain ate a vegetarian diet. One of the individuals, who suffered from a dental abscess, also carried an intestinal parasite. His plaque contained traces of poplar, which contains the active ingredient in aspirin, and a natural antibiotic mold. Neither of these substances were detected in the other plaque samples, which suggests he may have been treated with medicinal plants. The genome sequence of one of the types of ancient mouth bacteria in the samples suggests it was transferred to Neanderthals from modern humans. “If you’re swapping spit between species, there’s kissing going on, or at least food sharing, which would suggest that these interactions were much friendlier and more intimate than anybody ever possibly imagined,” said Laura Weyrich of the University of Adelaide."

The paper is behind a pay wall, but this is a link to the supplement. You can also access the figures.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature21674.html#supplementary-information

It's true, though, as you imply, that the "farmers" carried a heavier disease load, both from living in close proximity to other humans and animals. Yet, they still increased in number at a much higher and faster rate than most hunter-gatherers. It took a long time to adapt, and the process isn't over yet.

How does that square with the studies which show such high rates of infant mortality among the early farmers? Why did most hunter-gatherer populations stay so small and stable over time, or grow so slowly? I've always wondered if they deliberately controlled their reproduction in some way, or the infants died in even greater percentages.

This recent (2015) paper suggests one possible factor. You might find it interesting. I know I did.
http://www.pnas.org/content/113/17/4694.full

Basically, the authors suggest that the transition to agriculture resulted in greater fitness in mothers, leading to increased population sizes even if there was also some increase in disease load.

Dagne
13-03-17, 19:04
The sickle looks very nice, but I think it is the farmers who had that. There are axes, but not sickles in the first CWC graves in the East Baltic. According to local archeology, CWC in the current Lithuanian territory were semi-nomadic. They had cattle, and were traders, settled near "busy" places (rivers, connected lakes or coast) where they could exchange things and find raw materials. The local hunter gatherers remained in the forest and at the sea (fishing and hunting seals a lot). The first farming activities of a culture made of local hunters and CWC near the Baltic sea seemed to have taken place without sickles, just picking whatever they had grown by hands... (oh my God how difficult!) I read one version, that it is only due to Bell Beaker influence who were much more advanced culturally and also in farming that local herders (CWC) and forest hunters-fishes started mixing up better and took up some real farming.

In the Lithuanian forests there were wild horses, bisons, taurus, all kind of deer and elks, bears, beavers and boars and lots of other smaller animals (but no goats because it is too northern) and birds that could be hunted. The boars just thrive in the forest, so at some point in iron age, domestic pigs were the main type of food (Oh I would not want to have lived at that time, stinking business...)

Besides, I read that climate when the CWC started moving in was warmer than now - summers were longer and winters were milder! If it is really so, that makes a lot of difference, because it is very difficult to withstand -20C or colder in the winter for humans and also for domestic animals.

Angela
13-03-17, 19:30
The sickle looks very nice, but I think it is the farmers who had that. There are axes, but not sickles in the first CWC graves in the East Baltic. According to local archeology, CWC in the current Lithuanian territory were semi-nomadic. They had cattle, and were traders, settled near "busy" places (rivers and lakes) where they could exchange things and find raw materials. The local hunter gatherers remained in the forest and at the sea (fishing and hunting seals a lot). The first farming activities of a culture made of local hunters and CWC near the Baltic sea seemed to have taken place without sickles, just picking whatever they had grown by hands... (oh my God how difficult!) I read one version, that it is only due to Bell Beaker influence who were much more advanced culturally and also in farming that local herders (CWC) and forest hunters-fishes started mixing up better and took up some real farming.

In the Lithuanian forests there were wild horses, bisons, taurus, all kind of deer and elks, beavers and boars and lots of other smaller animals (but no goats because it is too northern) and birds that could be hunted. The boars just thrive in the forest, so at some point in iron age, domestic pigs were the main type of food (Oh I would not want to have lived at that time, stinking business...)

Besides, I read that climate when the CWC started moving in was warmer than now - summers were longer and winters were milder! If it is really so, that makes a lot of difference, because it is very difficult to withstand -20C or colder in the winter for humans and also for domestic animals.

That particular sickle was Neolithic, yes, but pre-Neolithic people had them as well.

See:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle

I checked the sources; it seems legit.

"The development of the sickle in Mesopotamia can be traced back to times that pre-date the Neolithic Era. Large quantities of sickle blades have been excavated in sites surrounding Israel that have been dated to the Epipaleolithic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epipaleolithic) era (18000-8000 BC).[1] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle#cite_note-Unger-Hamilton-1) Formal digs in Wadi Ziqlab, Jordan have unearthed various forms of early sickle blades. The artifacts recovered ranged from 10 to 20 cm in length and possessed a jagged edge. This intricate ‘tooth-like’ design showed a greater degree of design and manufacturing credence than most of the other artifacts that were discovered. Sickle blades found during this time were made of flint, straight and used in more of a sawing motion than with the more modern curved design. Flints from these sickles have been discovered near Mt. Carmel, which suggest the harvesting of grains from the area about 10,000 years ago.[2] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle#cite_note-Banning-E.B.-2)"

Sorry, I thought your point was that people need iron to make sickles for cutting grass.

"Dagne: They had their summer and winter places to be, without having to prepare hey (and how would they cut the grass without having iron?) "

That's very interesting about the lack of sickles in the Lithuanian Corded Ware. The word for sickle seems to be part of the Indo-European lexicon. Mallory lists it, but unfortunately doesn't discuss it.
https://books.google.com/books?id=tzU3RIV2BWIC&pg=PA8&lpg=PA8&dq=Did+Corded+Ware+culture+have+sickles+for+harves ting+grain+and+grass.&source=bl&ots=wWr5-192cK&sig=EMBrsgWChMulyUM8uBOtsG8NAbA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiU_dLl_NPSAhUPzWMKHQ9SBPAQ6AEIITAB#v=on epage&q=Did%20Corded%20Ware%20culture%20have%20sickles%2 0for%20harvesting%20grain%20and%20grass.&f=false

You're right about local ecology shaping various Corded Ware areas differently:
https://books.google.com/books?id=kZG1BwAAQBAJ&pg=PA257&lpg=PA257&dq=sickles+found+in+Corded+Ware+sites&source=bl&ots=4FGclxxis8&sig=3U1AJhz_bbbGJDWw-gTk4t4JlY4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwizgOn8_9PSAhVpzFQKHYtsA_AQ6AEIIjAC#v=on epage&q=sickles%20found%20in%20Corded%20Ware%20sites&f=false

This is about sickles found in Estonian site, but it's late Bronze Age, I think.
https://books.google.com/books?id=FTPtdjxkO5oC&pg=PA25&lpg=PA25&dq=sickles+found+in+Corded+Ware+sites&source=bl&ots=RkC3b1Vbuz&sig=jSgJ9UqtrCgESUaYbQoShqFw1Co&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwizgOn8_9PSAhVpzFQKHYtsA_AQ6AEIIDAB#v=on epage&q=sickles%20found%20in%20Corded%20Ware%20sites&f=false

Dagne
13-03-17, 19:47
Apart from natural reasons (natural infant mortality) Hunter gatherers may not had too many children because their groups had to remain small in order to sustain.
Farmers differently, needed more hands to work on their land. Besides, hunter gatherers did not have property that they could accumulate. Farmers differently, wanted to have more, and children in all farmer societies make the family stronger and more secure.

I also read some theories which say that sexual inequality, treating woman as an object (the price of a wife is two and a half camels, which is what I heard when travelling in the Central Asia) came to existence only with the time when people started accumulating property (farmers or herders). Before that European hunter gatherers were equalitarian - meaning that women could decide more regarding the number of children they have. I am not sure if this was the case, but who knows?

Regarding health - I don't think one can compare present Northern Europeans to Hunter gatherers. Current Northern Europeans are couch potatoes. Period.
Our bodies and brains are shrinking ...
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2614780/How-FARMERS-fitter-athletes-Human-strength-speed-peaked-7-300-years-ago-declining-rapidly.html

Angela
13-03-17, 20:03
Apart from natural reasons (natural infant mortality) Hunter gatherers may not had too many children because their groups had to remain small in order to sustain.
Farmers differently, needed more hands to work on their land. Besides, hunter gatherers did not have property that they could accumulate. Farmers differently, wanted to have more, and children in all farmer societies make the family stronger and more secure.

I also read some theories which say that sexual inequality, treating woman as an object (the price of a wife is two and a half camels, which is what I heard when travelling in the Central Asia) came to existence only with the time when people started accumulating property (farmers or herders). Before that European hunter gatherers were equalitarian - meaning that women could decide more regarding the number of children they have. I am not sure if this was the case, but who knows?

Regarding health - I don't think one can compare present Northern Europeans to Hunter gatherers. Current Northern Europeans are couch potatoes. Period.
Our bodies and brains are shrinking ...
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2614780/How-FARMERS-fitter-athletes-Human-strength-speed-peaked-7-300-years-ago-declining-rapidly.html

From the paper above, another factor affecting population growth, besides the h-g controlling fertility themselves through abortion or infanticide:
"Mothers Who Forage More Exhibit Lower Fertility.

A high degree of foraging also significantly predicts fertility (β = −1.4 ± 0.7, P = 0.04). As a result, mothers who spent less than 75% of their time foraging experience 0.23 higher fertility residuals than expected for their age. Mothers who spent more than 75% of their time foraging had 0.85 less offspring, given their age (SI Appendix, Table S7 (http://www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1524031113/-/DCSupplemental/pnas.1524031113.sapp.pdf)). Women who spent more time foraging also had marginally lower BMI (β = −1.5 ± 0.9, P = 0.08). Therefore the transition to farming as measured by both increasing cultivation and sedentarization is positively associated with fertility, perhaps because of increased somatic resources."

Of course, that's based on modern foragers, so the results have to be interpreted cautiously.

As to your modern example, I think the Japanese are couch potatoes now too. :) Plus, there's a whole school of thought that decreasing size in humans has been a factor in human evolution for tens of thousands of years.

LeBrok
13-03-17, 20:10
Apart from natural reasons (natural infant mortality) Hunter gatherers may not had too many children because their groups had to remain small in order to sustain.I don't think they could control population number by understanding their peculiar situation and by statistical calculation maximum allowable number of hunter gatherer tribes per square km. There had to be natural forces in play. Either they have very very low libido and had sex only once a year, or high mortality of mothers during birth of kids, or numbers are controlled by food accessibility versus starvation. Possibly all 3 reasons in play.

There is an interesting statistics about wolf population in Canadian forests. Population goes up and down from year to year, but always at the same ration of wolves to to deer. If deer number goes up, up goes also number of wolves in the area. If number of deer will half because of a dry year and lack of grass, we can expect wolf population to get smaller by a half too. Very simple mechanism of "controlling" wolf population.

Dagne
13-03-17, 20:17
Funny, it is very difficult to find references when the first sickles appear in Lithuania. As I can read, the first ones were made from bronze, and they were very precious imported goods :)

LeBrok
13-03-17, 20:26
Funny, it is very difficult to find references when the first sickles appear in Lithuania. As I can read, the first ones were made from bronze, and they were very precious imported goods :) I wonder, if they had and used sickles in Yamnaya, from where (supposedly) CW came from to Lithuania?

Angela
13-03-17, 21:37
I don't think they could control population number by understanding their peculiar situation and by statistical calculation maximum allowable number of hunter gatherer tribes per square km. There had to be natural forces in play. Either they have very very low libido and had sex only once a year, or high mortality of mothers during birth of kids, or numbers are controlled by food accessibility versus starvation. Possibly all 3 reasons in play.

There is an interesting statistics about wolf population in Canadian forests. Population goes up and down from year to year, but always at the same ration of wolves to to deer. If deer number goes up, up goes also number of wolves in the area. If number of deer will half because of a dry year and lack of grass, we can expect wolf population to get smaller by a half too. Very simple mechanism of "controlling" wolf population.

The paper I posted speculates that a forager lifestyle makes women less "fit" in terms of fertility. They also notice lower BMI. From what I remember, if BMI in women gets too low they no longer menstruate. That may be one of, but probably not the only factor.

Living constantly on the move may just have eaten up too many calories. While working in the fields can be back breaking, it's seasonal. Also, I remember some feminist treatments of the subject which suggest that as soon as the plow came into use, the major back breaking work was done by men.

Dagne
16-03-17, 00:14
This is an interesting article which explain about grow rates of hunter gatherers and agriculturalists. It is all based on developments on Americas though. I think that in Europe agriculturalists outnumbered hunter gatherers not because of fertility rates but because agriculturalists were destroying natural habitats for hunter gatherers (burning forests) because of which hunter gatherers retreated to less rich environments (north).


Prehistoric hunter–gatherer population growth rates rival those of agriculturalists

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4743830/

"For example, mobility has traditionally been argued to limit hunter–gatherer fertility on the logic that because mothers could only carry one child, the minimum space between births among mobile populations would be determined by the age at which a child could walk on its own when a family moved from one camp to another, a premise central to the thesis that mobility had limited Pleistocene hunter–gatherer population growth and the emergence of sedentism in the early Holocene had triggered major post-Pleistocene population growth leading to the development of agriculture (10 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4743830/#r10)). This traditional understanding seems not to be true. The major trend from more to less mobile settlement patterns during the Holocene seems to have had little or no effect on population growth rates demonstrated in radiocarbon records, the Wyoming-Colorado record in particular, which spans the shift from more mobile Paleoindian to less mobile Archaic adaptations, lending support to the idea that mobility, per se, does not inhibit fertility (11 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4743830/#r11)). "

Angela
16-03-17, 01:31
Interesting. It doesn't, however, answer the question of why the population level of h-gs in Europe stayed so stable for millennia (before the arrival of any farmers), whereas in the Levant there was a large increase of population among the Natufians when they became sedentary during the Holocene (before actual domestication).

I was looking for suggestions by academics as to the reasons for such a lack of population increase among the European h-g populations other than some sort of infanticide because food resources just weren't available, or extremely high infant mortality rates, even higher than the high percentages among farmers, or LeBrok's humorous suggestion of a serious lack of sex drive (not to be taken seriously, obviously).

Coincidentally, this video by John Hawkes came across my feed yesterday about the Natufians and his view that it was sedentarism and large population numbers which gave rise to domestication, and not the reverse. The large population numbers would seem to be tied to the fact that there was an abundance and diversity of resources, yes?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQtzwoOYrkE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQtzwoOYrkE

LeBrok
16-03-17, 01:54
It makes sense. Sedentism was a key to seed storage for planting next year. A key to agriculture. Also makes people to invest more in better huts, a temple, stone buildings, etc. It also makes sense that first farming/civilization arose during interglacial warm and moist period, when earth was greener, with more edible plants and animals. They finally could settle down. No coincidence then that farming happened in few places on earth simultaneously right after Ice Age.

Dagne
16-03-17, 07:23
Yes, I think you're right. As per article on Americas in every environment the population growths to the point of "carrying capacity". "Carrying capacity can be difficult to calculate, but it varies strongly with the density and growth rate, of limiting resources, both of which are much higher for plants than for animals and much higher for domesticated plants than for wild plants".

It means that under favourable conditions farming can "yield" faster growing populations. Besides, I suppose where a population turns to farming there is no return. A hunter gatherer may sometimes to turned to farmer, but no farmer would be turned to hunter gatherer...

Angela
16-03-17, 16:46
Another benefit to ever larger populations is the chance for advantageous mutations to arise. Most denovo mutations are of course neutral, some negative if not disastrous, but the disastrous ones usually die along with the host. The advantageous ones can spread very quickly, however.

I don't know how many readers of science fiction there are on this board, but even if people don't normally read it, there's an excellent example of fiction either illuminating or even prefiguring science in the "Dune" series of books by Frank Herbert. A lot of it can be read with genetics and the control of genetics in mind, along with environmental forces. One of the main points is that there is an understanding among the most prescient that humanity is only "safe" with large, scattered, difficult to find populations, and that in those conditions beneficial mutations can spread and flourished.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dune_(franchise)

There are some examples in Europe itself of "farmer" groups turning more to fishing than to farming because of climate change. Needs must. The more common scenario is becoming more pastoral when the climate becomes drier. In general, however, no, farmers don't become hunter-gatherers. It was the rare European settler who willingly chose to join the Sioux.

Anyway, John Hawkes has confirmed my decision that if I had to be a hunger-gatherer, I'd be a Natufian. :)

Dagne
16-03-17, 18:05
I don't imagine anything worse than being a stone age Eskimo (I remember reading the Book of the Eskimos by Peter Freuchen...)

LeBrok
17-03-17, 03:15
I don't imagine anything worse than being a stone age Eskimo (I remember reading the Book of the Eskimos by Peter Freuchen...) My sentiment too.

William
28-03-17, 00:58
Interesting post.
I've actually thought about this recently.
The exact spot where I live would be almost perfect, the one problem.... winter, albeit mild. Put it in southern Italy/Sicily and...perfect.
In fact I live about 200 yards from the site of a permanant encampment of Native American hunter / gatherers on Long Island in New York.
It's at the head of a large bay, and adjacent to a fresh water creek which was navigable about 3 miles inland. Located on a natural terrace, it had a panoramic view of the bay, and was safe from any flooding save from a Cat 5 hurricane steaming directly up the bay. The bay is surrounded by an immense salt marsh which attracts migrating birds of all kinds, including ducks and geese.
Mussels, clams, scallops, crabs, lobsters, and various small fish were available year round. Larger, ocean going fish bread in the salt marsh and are available as bait fish, as well as adults returning to breed. They were so plentiful that when i was a boy all I had to do to get bait was wade 3 or four feet into the bay and kick water onto the beach...it would be full of fish.
The landscape rises gradually in a rolling fashion to mid island where it meets the glacial moraine which is the high point. Before European settlement it was heavily wooded, (containing Chestnut Trees, blueberries, raspberries Concord grapes, and various edible greens and tubers), and was full of deer, turkey and the occasional black bear.
Nearby were Trout and Salmon streams.

This seems to me to be a 'paradise' of sorts. I wonder what the native people did with the time they did not need to find food. I would have expected more cultural advancement than they demonstrated.

LeBrok
15-04-17, 05:23
Interesting post.
I've actually thought about this recently.
The exact spot where I live would be almost perfect, the one problem.... winter, albeit mild. Put it in southern Italy/Sicily and...perfect.
In fact I live about 200 yards from the site of a permanant encampment of Native American hunter / gatherers on Long Island in New York.
It's at the head of a large bay, and adjacent to a fresh water creek which was navigable about 3 miles inland. Located on a natural terrace, it had a panoramic view of the bay, and was safe from any flooding save from a Cat 5 hurricane steaming directly up the bay. The bay is surrounded by an immense salt marsh which attracts migrating birds of all kinds, including ducks and geese.
Mussels, clams, scallops, crabs, lobsters, and various small fish were available year round. Larger, ocean going fish bread in the salt marsh and are available as bait fish, as well as adults returning to breed. They were so plentiful that when i was a boy all I had to do to get bait was wade 3 or four feet into the bay and kick water onto the beach...it would be full of fish.
The landscape rises gradually in a rolling fashion to mid island where it meets the glacial moraine which is the high point. Before European settlement it was heavily wooded, (containing Chestnut Trees, blueberries, raspberries Concord grapes, and various edible greens and tubers), and was full of deer, turkey and the occasional black bear.
Nearby were Trout and Salmon streams.

This seems to me to be a 'paradise' of sorts. I wonder what the native people did with the time they did not need to find food. I would have expected more cultural advancement than they demonstrated.
Technological advancement is correlated more with population density than with nice environment. The bigger the group of people the more knowledge is created and retained. Hunter gatherers never managed dense population. This is a nature of it. Not enough food in one place to support tens of thousands of people in one settlement. That's the reason that civilizations showed up together with farming. Mass production of high caloric food was the key.

stevenarmstrong
15-04-17, 09:38
Ancient Hawaiian!

LeBrok
15-04-17, 16:38
Ancient Hawaiian!Moana! They were first class sailors. I wonder if they were really that good to sail Pacific, looking at stars, and come back to the same little island to tell stories, or it was a game of numbers. For example many new families needed to sail off into vast ocean and one in 20 got lucky landing on new islands starting new population?

Angela
15-04-17, 17:34
I like Steve's attitude; Hawaii has the perfect climate. :)

I think they were already farmers by the time they set out, however.

LeBrok
15-04-17, 17:42
I like Steve's attitude; Hawaii has the perfect climate. :)

I think they were already farmers by the time they set out, however.Good observation! At least in transition, where women farm and men still hunts. In this case sails and catches sea food.
So, they were farmers, therefore they had the numbers to play the lucky game. Send thousands to the ocean and few lucky ones will find new islands and live to tell the stories about great sailors and navigators.

stevenarmstrong
15-04-17, 17:50
I like Steve's attitude; Hawaii has the perfect climate. :)

I think they were already farmers by the time they set out, however.

It's true. That occurred to me after I posted it. They farmed taro pretty extensively.

stevenarmstrong
15-04-17, 18:06
Moana! They were first class sailors. I wonder if they were really that good to sail Pacific, looking at stars, and come back to the same little island to tell stories, or it was a game of numbers. For example many new families needed to sail off into vast ocean and one in 20 got lucky landing on new islands starting new population?

I think they were really that good. Hawai'i is a prime example of an "advanced" literate culture belittling the seemingly incredible accomplishments of a "primitive" oral culture. But the Hawaiians were culturally advanced beyond the Europeans of that time IMHO. And their navigation techniques--at least what remains of them--have been demonstrated by modern researchers to be highly sophisticated and very effective.

LeBrok
15-04-17, 18:59
I think they were really that good. Hawai'i is a prime example of an "advanced" literate culture belittling the seemingly incredible accomplishments of a "primitive" oral culture. But the Hawaiians were culturally advanced beyond the Europeans of that time IMHO. And their navigation techniques--at least what remains of them--have been demonstrated by modern researchers to be highly sophisticated and very effective.
Are you sure they could have know the way from Hawaii to Easter Island (what a pun!) just reading stars at night? Without compas and clock? You off 50 miles and next island is Antarctica. ;)

New Englander
06-05-17, 18:21
Northern Iran to Portugal, maybe stay out of the Balkans and parts of Turkey.