The Earth and its People Volume 1 Chapter 1 Summary
Through many millennia, hominids(early humans) began using stones to make tools and weapons, discovered fire, gathered wild plants and hunted wild animals for survival(foraging societies). Modern humans, known as Homo sapiens appeared first in Africa between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago, and eventually spread throughout the world by the end of the Paleolithic era commonly known as the old stone age.
The Neolithic (New Stone Age) era occurred around 10,000 B.C., and during this time, food was produced through the domestication of plants and animals(Agricultural Revolution), an event that first occurred in the upland regions of the Middle East. People during this time practice semi and shifted cultivation, making improved tools to do various jobs as well as trading them, taming animals such as dogs for hunting trackers and livestock animals. The surpluses of food gave people a long-term advantage in population growth. This led to the further development of what is called civilization, which can be defined as urban, with more formal institutions, the use of writing, architecture, and the production of metal. Permanent villages replaced nomadic tents, pottery was made from clay, goods were gathered and traded. According to researchers, a possible reason for shifting from hunter gatherers to farmers is climate change. After the ice age, lands were fertile and able to cultivate which drove people to abandon the hunter gatherer life in favor of agriculture. The effects of food production pretty much created the society we live in today.
Researchers believe that an ecological crisis forced people to settle down which prompt a reexamination of the assumption that is people are better off in agricultural societies than a foraging one. Although farmers were less likely to starve, their diet was less varied than that of hunter gatherers. Studies show that Neolithic people had to work harder and longer than hunter gatherers. Skeletal remains of early farmers show that they were shorter than early foragers and they have a higher chance of dying at an early age because permanent settlements were more exposed to animal borne diseases and water contaminated by human waste. Farmers displaced foragers by gradually increasing in population, rather than by rapid conquest(gradual infiltration). This was smooth and peaceful, and foragers eventually ended up being producers too. There were specialist workers for other jobs/crafts since there was already many farmers. The Neolithic period also contribute to the spreading of large languages. The distinction of the language family into many related ones was caused by gradual infiltration
In the city of Catal Huyuk, there is evidence that the Neolithic people practiced religion in their daily lives. There were the many shrines and temples devoted to gods/goddesses and animals made of special material like gold and silver. There is evidence of food sacrificing/offerings There is a shrine for every two houses which are filled with various creatures and gods. The people burned dishes of food as offerings as a method of worship. An interesting finding was that female deities outnumbered the male deities, which lead researchers to believe that there was a cult of a goddess administered mainly by women. The figure of the goddess most likely represented fertility and power over nature. In other words, the goddess can be perceived as mother nature. In general, the sacred and spiritual findings of the Neolithic people reveal that even early civilization established a religious body in society.