Quern-stones are stone tools for hand-grinding a wide variety of materials. They are used in pairs; the lower, stone is called a quern, while the upper mobile stone is called a handstone. The central hole is called a handle slot enables the handstone to be rotated, they were first used in the Neolithic era to grind cereals into flour. An old Gaelic proverb is "The quern performs best when the grindstone has been pitted." The upper stones were concave whilst the lower was convex and sometimes a rind was present as a piece of wood etc that allowed the cereal etc to be added but still acted as a centering device. The upper stone sometimes had a cup shaped area around the hopper hole with a raised edge. Most handstones have a handle hole on the upper surface, however one class of quern-stones have a slot handle which indicates that a piece of wood was placed horizontally and protruded out from the edge so that the operator could turn the stone by standing and using a rod vertically. One class of upper quern-stones has from two to three sockets for the rod used to turn them and this is thought to reflect the need to reduce wear and tear by having alternative points of contact when in active use.
Quern-stones have been used by numerous civilizations throughout the world to grind materials, the most important of, grain to make flour for bread-making. They were replaced by millstones once mechanised forms of milling appeared the water mill and the windmill, although animals were used to operate the millstones. However, in many non-Westernised, non-mechanised cultures they are still manufactured and used and have only been replaced in many parts of the world in the last century or so. In early Maya civilizations the process of nixtamalization was distinctive in that hard, ripe kernels of maize were boiled in water and lime, thus producing nixtamal, made into unleavened dough for flat cakes by grinding with a handstone on a quern. Quern stones were used in China at least 10,000 years ago to grind wheat into flour; the production of flour by rubbing wheat by hand took several hours. Due to their form and the nature of the treatment of the surfaces, they reproduce the most ancient implements used for grinding cereal grain into flour.
Saddle querns were known in China during the Neolithic Age but rotary stone mills did not appear until the Warring States Period. A prehistoric quern dating back to 23,000 BCE was found at the Longwangchan archaeological site, in Hukou, Shaanxi in 2007; the site is located in the heartland of the northern Chinese loess plateau near the Yellow River. As well as grain, ethnographic evidence and Mesopotamian texts show that a wide range of foodstuffs and inorganic materials were processed using stone querns or mortars, including nuts, fruit, herbs, meat, pigments and clay. Moreover, one study analysing quern-stones noted that a number of querns had traces of arsenic and bismuth, unlike their source rocks, had levels of antimony which were ten times higher than those of the rocks; the authors concluded that this was due to the use of these querns in the preparation of medicines, dyes or in the manufacture of alloys. Querns were used in grinding metals ores after mining extraction; the aim was to liberate fine ore particles which could be separated by washing for example, prior to smelting.
They were thus used in gold mining in antiquity. In the Shetlands tobacco was not smoked when first introduced, but instead was ground up into snuff, inhaled up the nose. Snuff-querns consisted of an lower stone, fixed together by a central iron pivot; the quern was held on the user's lap, the eye of the quern was filled with dried tobacco leaves, the upper-stone was turned using the handle. The friction caused by the turning ground the leaves into a fine powder that built up around the edge of the lower-stone. Many snuff-querns had a small hole or cut made near the edge of the upper-stone, into which a pointed end of a lamb's horn was placed in order to turn the stone. There are, more surprising recorded uses of quern-stones. For example, DeBoer, in his review of the traditional gambling games of North American tribes, reports that one of the games involved bouncing a group of split canes off a quern. Violence is recorded in the Book of Judges: “But a certain woman threw an upper-millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushed his skull.”
The best type of stone from which to manufacture quern-stones are igneous rocks such as basalt. These have rough surfaces, but grains do not detach so the material being ground does not become gritty. However, such rocks are not always available, meaning that quern-stones have been manufactured from a wide variety of rocks, including sandstone and limestone. Quernmore Crag near Lancaster in England is named after the quarrying of millstone grit used to make quern stones in these parts. Rutter was able to show, for the southern Levant, that basalt quern-stones were preferred to those manufactured from other rock types. Basalt quern-stones were therefore transported over long-distances, leading him to argue that, despite their every-day, utilitarian function, they were used as a status symbol. Research in Scotland has indicated. Knocking stones were used in the preparation of small quantities of cereal however the earliest forms of quern were the saddle and trough querns; the earliest quern so far was found at Abu Hureyra, Syria.
A development was the rotary quern, which takes several forms. The saddle quern is produced by rocking or rolling
History of technology
The history of technology is the history of the invention of tools and techniques and is one of the categories of the history of humanity. Technology can refer to methods ranging from as simple as stone tools to the complex genetic engineering and information technology that has emerged since the 1980s; the term technology comes from the Greek word techne, meaning art and craft, the word logos, meaning word and speech. It was first used to describe applied arts, but it is now used to described advancements and changes which affect the environment around us. New knowledge has enabled people to create new things, conversely, many scientific endeavors are made possible by technologies which assist humans in traveling to places they could not reach, by scientific instruments by which we study nature in more detail than our natural senses allow. Since much of technology is applied science, technical history is connected to the history of science. Since technology uses resources, technical history is connected to economic history.
From those resources, technology produces other resources, including technological artifacts used in everyday life. Technological change affects and is affected by, a society's cultural traditions, it is a force for economic growth and a means to develop and project economic, military power and wealth. Many sociologists and anthropologists have created social theories dealing with social and cultural evolution. Some, like Lewis H. Morgan, Leslie White, Gerhard Lenski have declared technological progress to be the primary factor driving the development of human civilization. Morgan's concept of three major stages of social evolution can be divided by technological milestones, such as fire. White argued. For White, "the primary function of culture" is to "harness and control energy." White differentiates between five stages of human development: In the first, people use the energy of their own muscles. In the second, they use the energy of domesticated animals. In the third, they use the energy of plants.
In the fourth, they learn to use the energy of natural resources: coal, gas. In the fifth, they harness nuclear energy. White introduced a formula P=E*T, where E is a measure of energy consumed, T is the measure of the efficiency of technical factors using the energy. In his own words, "culture evolves as the amount of energy harnessed per capita per year is increased, or as the efficiency of the instrumental means of putting the energy to work is increased". Nikolai Kardashev extrapolated his theory, creating the Kardashev scale, which categorizes the energy use of advanced civilizations. Lenski's approach focuses on information; the more information and knowledge a given society has, the more advanced. He identifies four stages of human development, based on advances in the history of communication. In the first stage, information is passed by genes. In the second, when humans gain sentience, they can pass information through experience. In the third, the humans start develop logic. In the fourth, they can develop language and writing.
Advancements in communications technology translate into advancements in the economic system and political system, distribution of wealth, social inequality and other spheres of social life. He differentiates societies based on their level of technology and economy: hunter-gatherer, simple agricultural, advanced agricultural, special. In economics, productivity is a measure of technological progress. Productivity increases. Another indicator of technological progress is the development of new products and services, necessary to offset unemployment that would otherwise result as labor inputs are reduced. In developed countries productivity growth has been slowing since the late 1970s. For example, employment in manufacturing in the United States declined from over 30% in the 1940s to just over 10% 70 years later. Similar changes occurred in other developed countries; this stage is referred to as post-industrial. In the late 1970s sociologists and anthropologists like Alvin Toffler, Daniel Bell and John Naisbitt have approached the theories of post-industrial societies, arguing that the current era of industrial society is coming to an end, services and information are becoming more important than industry and goods.
Some extreme visions of the post-industrial society in fiction, are strikingly similar to the visions of near and post-Singularity societies. The following is a summary of the history of technology by time period and geography: During most of the Paleolithic – the bulk of the Stone Age – all humans had a lifestyle which involved limited tools and few permanent settlements; the first major technologies were tied to survival and food preparation. Stone tools and weapons and clothing were technological developments of major importance during this period. Human ancestors have been using stone and other tools since long before the emergence of Homo sapiens 200,000 years ago; the earliest methods of stone tool making, known as the Oldowan "industry", date back to at least 2.3 million years ago, with the earliest direct evidence of tool usage found in Ethiopia within the Great Rift Valley, dating back to 2.5 million years ago. This era of stone tool use is called the Paleolithic
In agriculture, a terrace is a piece of sloped plane, cut into a series of successively receding flat surfaces or platforms, which resemble steps, for the purposes of more effective farming. This type of landscaping is therefore called terracing. Graduated terrace steps are used to farm on hilly or mountainous terrain. Terraced fields decrease both erosion and surface runoff, may be used to support growing crops that require irrigation, such as rice; the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the significance of this technique. Terraced paddy fields are used in rice and barley farming in east and southeast Asia, as well as the Mediterranean and South America. Drier-climate terrace farming is common throughout the Mediterranean Basin, where they are used for vineyards, olive trees, cork oak, etc. In the South American Andes, farmers have used terraces, known as andenes, for over a thousand years to farm potatoes and other native crops.
Terraced farming was developed by the Wari culture and other peoples of the south-central Andes before 1000 AD, centuries before they were used by the Inca, who adopted them. The terraces were built to make the most efficient use of shallow soil and to enable irrigation of crops by allowing runoff to occur through the outlet; the Inca built on these, developing a system of canals and puquios to direct water through dry land and increase fertility levels and growth. These terraced farms are found, they provided the food necessary to support the populations of great Inca cities and religious centres such as Machu Picchu. Terracing is used for sloping terrain. At the seaside Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, the villa gardens of Julius Caesar's father-in-law were designed in terraces to give pleasant and varied views of the Bay of Naples. Terraced fields are common in islands with steep slopes; the Canary Islands present a complex system of terraces covering the landscape from the coastal irrigated plantations to the dry fields in the highlands.
These terraces, which are named cadenas, are built with stone walls of skillful design, which include attached stairs and channels. In Old English, a terrace was called a "lynch". An example of an ancient Lynch Mill is in Lyme Regis; the water is directed from a river by a duct along a terrace. This set-up was used in steep hilly areas in the UK. In Japan, some of the 100 Selected Terraced Rice Fields, from Iwate in the north to Kagoshima in the south, are disappearing, but volunteers are helping the farmers both to maintain their traditional methods and for sightseeing purposes. Anden Banaue Rice Terraces Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras Satoyama Terrace garden Terrace Fields around the World
Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U. S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast. Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth largest in the U. S. while San Antonio is the second-most populous in the state and seventh largest in the U. S. Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country, respectively. Other major cities include Austin, the second-most populous state capital in the U. S. and El Paso. Texas is nicknamed "The Lone Star State" to signify its former status as an independent republic, as a reminder of the state's struggle for independence from Mexico; the "Lone Star" can be found on the Texan state seal.
The origin of Texas's name is from the word taysha. Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse landscapes common to both the U. S. Southern and Southwestern regions. Although Texas is popularly associated with the U. S. southwestern deserts, less than 10% of Texas's land area is desert. Most of the population centers are in areas of former prairies, grasslands and the coastline. Traveling from east to west, one can observe terrain that ranges from coastal swamps and piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, the desert and mountains of the Big Bend; the term "six flags over Texas" refers to several nations. Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic. In 1845, Texas joined the union as the 28th state; the state's annexation set off a chain of events that led to the Mexican–American War in 1846.
A slave state before the American Civil War, Texas declared its secession from the U. S. in early 1861, joined the Confederate States of America on March 2nd of the same year. After the Civil War and the restoration of its representation in the federal government, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation. Four major industries shaped the Texas economy prior to World War II: cattle and bison, cotton and oil. Before and after the U. S. Civil War the cattle industry, which Texas came to dominate, was a major economic driver for the state, thus creating the traditional image of the Texas cowboy. In the 19th century cotton and lumber grew to be major industries as the cattle industry became less lucrative, it was though, the discovery of major petroleum deposits that initiated an economic boom which became the driving force behind the economy for much of the 20th century. With strong investments in universities, Texas developed a diversified economy and high tech industry in the mid-20th century.
As of 2015, it is second on the list of the most Fortune 500 companies with 54. With a growing base of industry, the state leads in many industries, including agriculture, energy and electronics, biomedical sciences. Texas has led the U. S. in state export revenue since 2002, has the second-highest gross state product. If Texas were a sovereign state, it would be the 10th largest economy in the world; the name Texas, based on the Caddo word táyshaʼ "friend", was applied, in the spelling Tejas or Texas, by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves the Hasinai Confederacy, the final -s representing the Spanish plural. The Mission San Francisco de los Tejas was completed near the Hasinai village of Nabedaches in May 1690, in what is now Houston County, East Texas. During Spanish colonial rule, in the 18th century, the area was known as Nuevo Reino de Filipinas "New Kingdom of the Philippines", or as provincia de los Tejas "province of the Tejas" also provincia de Texas, "province of Texas", it was incorporated as provincia de Texas into the Mexican Empire in 1821, declared a republic in 1836.
The Royal Spanish Academy recognizes both spellings and Texas, as Spanish-language forms of the name of the U. S. State of Texas; the English pronunciation with /ks/ is unetymological, based in the value of the letter x in historical Spanish orthography. Alternative etymologies of the name advanced in the late 19th century connected the Spanish teja "rooftile", the plural tejas being used to designate indigenous Pueblo settlements. A 1760s map by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin shows a village named Teijas on Trinity River, close to the site of modern Crockett. Texas is the second-largest U. S. state, with an area of 268,820 square miles. Though 10% larger than France and twice as large as Germany or Japan, it ranks only 27th worldwide amongst country subdivisions by size. If it were an independent country, Texas would be the 40th largest behind Zambia. Texas is in the south central part of the United States of America. Three of its borders are defined by rivers; the Rio Grande forms a natural border with the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas to the south.
The Red River forms a natural border with Arkansas to the north. The Sabine River forms a natural border with Louisiana to the east; the Texas Panhandle has an eastern border with Oklahoma at 100° W, a northern border with Oklahoma at 36°30' N and a western
Bow and arrow
The bow and arrow is a ranged weapon system consisting of an elastic launching device and long-shafted projectiles. Archery is the practice, or skill of using bows to shoot arrows. A person who shoots arrows with a bow is called an archer. Someone who makes bows is known as a bowyer, one who makes arrows is a fletcher, one who manufactures metal arrowheads is an arrowsmith; the use of bows and arrows by humans for hunting predates recorded history and was common to many prehistoric cultures. They were important weapons of war from ancient history until the early modern period, where they were rendered obsolete by the development of the more powerful and accurate firearms, were dropped from warfare. Today and arrows are used for hunting and sports. A bow consists of a semi-rigid but elastic arc with a high-tensile bowstring joining the ends of the two limbs of the bow. An arrow is a projectile with a pointed tip and a long shaft with stabilizer fins towards the back, with a narrow notch at the end to contact the bowstring.
To load an arrow for shooting, the archer places an arrow across the middle of the bow with the bowstring in the arrow's nock. To shoot, the archer pulls back the arrow and the bowstring, which in turn flexes the bow limbs, storing elastic energy. While maintaining the draw, the archer sights along the arrow to aim it; the archer releases the arrow, allowing the limbs' stored potential energy to convert into kinetic energy, transmitted via the bowstring to the arrow, propelling it to fly forward with high velocity. A container or bag for additional arrows for quick reloading is called a quiver; when not in use, bows are kept unstrung, meaning one or both ends of the bowstring are detached from the bow. This removes all residual tension on the bow, can help prevent it from losing strength or elasticity over time. For many bow designs, this lets it straighten out more reducing the space needed to store the bow. Returning the bowstring to its ready-to-use position is called stringing the bow; the bow and arrow appears around the transition from the Upper Paleolithic to the Mesolithic.
After the end of the last glacial period, use of the bow seems to have spread to every inhabited region, except for Australasia and most of Oceania. The earliest definite remains of bow and arrow are from Europe. Possible fragments from Germany were found at Mannheim-Vogelstang dated 17,500-18,000 years ago, at Stellmoor dated 11,000 years ago. Azilian points found in Grotte du Bichon, alongside the remains of both a bear and a hunter, with flint fragments found in the bear's third vertebra, suggest the use of arrows at 13,500 years ago. At the site of Nataruk in Turkana County, obsidian bladelets found embedded in a skull and within the thoracic cavity of another skeleton, suggest the use of stone-tipped arrows as weapons about 10,000 years ago. Microliths discovered on the south coast of Africa suggest that projectile weapons of some sort may be at least 71,000 years old; the oldest extant bows in one piece are the elm Holmegaard bows from Denmark which were dated to 9,000 BCE. Several bows from Holmegaard, date 8,000 years ago.
High-performance wooden bows are made following the Holmegaard design. The Stellmoor bow fragments from northern Germany were dated to about 8,000 BCE, but they were destroyed in Hamburg during the Second World War, before carbon 14 dating was available; the bow was an important weapon for both hunting and warfare from prehistoric times until the widespread use of gunpowder in the 16th century. Organised warfare with bows ended in the mid 17th century in Europe, but it persisted into the early 19th century in Eastern cultures and in hunting and tribal warfare in the New World. In the Canadian Arctic bows were made until the end of the 20th century for hunting caribou, for instance at Igloolik; the bow has more been used as a weapon of tribal warfare in some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. The British upper class led a revival of archery from the late 18th century. Sir Ashton Lever, an antiquarian and collector, formed the Toxophilite Society in London in 1781, under the patronage of George Prince of Wales.
The basic elements of a bow are a pair of curved elastic limbs, traditionally made from wood, joined by a riser. Both ends of the limbs are connected by a string known as the bow string. By pulling the string backwards the archer exerts compressive force on the string-facing section, or belly, of the limbs as well as placing the outer section, or back, under tension. While the string is held, this stores the energy released in putting the arrow to flight; the force required to hold the string stationary at full draw is used to express the power of a bow, is known as its draw weight, or weight. Other things being equal, a higher draw weight means a more powerful bow, able to project heavier arrows at the same velocity or the same arrow at a greater velocity; the various parts of the bow can be subdivided into further sections. The topmost limb is known as the upper limb. At the tip of each limb is a nock, used to attach the bowstring to the limbs; the riser is divided into the grip, held by the archer, as well as the arrow rest and the bow window.
The arrow rest is a small ledge or extension above the grip which the arrow rests upon while being aimed. The bow window is that part of the
The Ancestral Puebloans were an ancient Native American culture that spanned the present-day Four Corners region of the United States, comprising southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, southwestern Colorado. The Ancestral Puebloans are believed to have developed, at least in part, from the Oshara Tradition, who developed from the Picosa culture, they lived in a range of structures that included small family pit houses, larger structures to house clans, grand pueblos, cliff-sited dwellings for defense. The Ancestral Puebloans possessed a complex network that stretched across the Colorado Plateau linking hundreds of communities and population centers, they held a distinct knowledge of celestial sciences. The kiva, a congregational space, used chiefly for ceremonial purposes, was an integral part of this ancient people's community structure. In contemporary times, the people and their archaeological culture were referred to as Anasazi for historical purposes; the Navajo, who were not their descendants, called them by this term.
Reflecting historic traditions, the term was used to mean "ancient enemies". Contemporary Puebloans do not want this term to be used. Archaeologists continue to debate; the current agreement, based on terminology defined by the Pecos Classification, suggests their emergence around the 12th century BC, during the archaeologically designated Early Basketmaker II Era. Beginning with the earliest explorations and excavations, researchers identified Ancestral Puebloans as the forerunners of contemporary Pueblo peoples. Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in the United States are credited to the Pueblos: Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Taos Pueblo. Pueblo, which means "village" in Spanish, was a term originating with the Spanish explorers who used it to refer to the people's particular style of dwelling; the Navajo people, who now reside in parts of former Pueblo territory, referred to the ancient people as Anaasází, an exonym meaning "ancestors of our enemies", referring to their competition with the Pueblo peoples.
The Navajo now use the term in the sense of referring to "ancient people" or "ancient ones". Hopi people used the term Hisatsinom, to describe the Ancestral Puebloans; the Ancestral Puebloans were one of four major prehistoric archaeological traditions recognized in the American Southwest. This area is sometimes referred to as Oasisamerica in the region defining pre-Columbian southwestern North America; the others are the Mogollon and Patayan. In relation to neighboring cultures, the Ancestral Puebloans occupied the northeast quadrant of the area; the Ancestral Puebloan homeland centers on the Colorado Plateau, but extends from central New Mexico on the east to southern Nevada on the west. Areas of southern Nevada and Colorado form a loose northern boundary, while the southern edge is defined by the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers in Arizona and the Rio Puerco and Rio Grande in New Mexico. Structures and other evidence of Ancestral Puebloan culture has been found extending east onto the American Great Plains, in areas near the Cimarron and Pecos Rivers and in the Galisteo Basin.
Terrain and resources within this large region vary greatly. The plateau regions have high elevations ranging from 4,500 to 8,500 feet. Extensive horizontal mesas are capped by sedimentary formations and support woodlands of junipers and ponderosa pines, each favoring different elevations. Wind and water erosion have created steep-walled canyons, sculpted windows and bridges out of the sandstone landscape. In areas where resistant strata, such as sandstone or limestone, overlie more eroded strata such as shale, rock overhangs formed; the Ancestral Puebloans favored building under such overhangs for shelters and defensive building sites. All areas of the Ancestral Puebloan homeland suffered from periods of drought, wind and water erosion. Summer rains could be unreliable and arrived as destructive thunderstorms. While the amount of winter snowfall varied the Ancestral Puebloans depended on the snow for most of their water. Snow melt allowed the germination of seeds, both cultivated, in the spring.
Where sandstone layers overlay shale, snow melt could accumulate and create seeps and springs, which the Ancestral Puebloans used as water sources. Snow fed the smaller, more predictable tributaries, such as the Chinle, Animas and Taos Rivers; the larger rivers were less directly important to the ancient culture, as smaller streams were more diverted or controlled for irrigation. The Ancestral Puebloan culture is best known for the stone and earth dwellings its people built along cliff walls during the Pueblo II and Pueblo III eras, from about 900 to 1350 AD in total; the best-preserved examples of the stone dwellings are now protected within United States' national parks, such as Navajo National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Bandelier National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Canyon de Chelly National Monument. These villages, called pueblos by Spanish colonists, were accessible only by rope or through rock climbing.
These astonishing building achievements had modest beginnings. The first Ancestral Puebloan homes and villages were based on the pit-house, a common feature in the Basketmaker periods. Ancestral Puebloans are known for their pottery. In general, pottery used for cooking or storage in the region was unpainted gray, either smooth or textured. Pottery used for more formal purposes was more richly adorned. In the n
The Neolithic Revolution, Neolithic Demographic Transition, Agricultural Revolution, or First Agricultural Revolution was the wide-scale transition of many human cultures during the Neolithic period from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement, making an larger population possible. These settled communities permitted humans to observe and experiment with plants to learn how they grew and developed; this new knowledge led to the domestication of plants. Archaeological data indicates that the domestication of various types of plants and animals happened in separate locations worldwide, starting in the geological epoch of the Holocene around 12,500 years ago, it was the world's first verifiable revolution in agriculture. The Neolithic Revolution narrowed the diversity of foods available, resulting in a downturn in the quality of human nutrition; the Neolithic Revolution involved far more than the adoption of a limited set of food-producing techniques. During the next millennia it would transform the small and mobile groups of hunter-gatherers that had hitherto dominated human pre-history into sedentary societies based in built-up villages and towns.
These societies radically modified their natural environment by means of specialized food-crop cultivation, with activities such as irrigation and deforestation which allowed the production of surplus food. Other developments found widely are the domestication of animals, polished stone tools, rectangular houses; these developments, sometimes called the Neolithic package, provided the basis for centralized administrations and political structures, hierarchical ideologies, depersonalized systems of knowledge, densely populated settlements and division of labour, more trade, the development of non-portable art and architecture, property ownership. The earliest known civilization developed in Sumer in southern Mesopotamia; the relationship of the above-mentioned Neolithic characteristics to the onset of agriculture, their sequence of emergence, empirical relation to each other at various Neolithic sites remains the subject of academic debate, varies from place to place, rather than being the outcome of universal laws of social evolution.
The Levant saw the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BCE, followed by sites in the wider Fertile Crescent. The term Neolithic Revolution was coined in 1923 by V. Gordon Childe to describe the first in a series of agricultural revolutions in Middle Eastern history; the period is described as a "revolution" to denote its importance, the great significance and degree of change affecting the communities in which new agricultural practices were adopted and refined. The beginning of this process in different regions has been dated from 10,000 to 8,000 BC in the Fertile Crescent and 8000 BC in the Kuk Early Agricultural Site of Melanesia; this transition everywhere seems associated with a change from a nomadic hunter-gatherer way of life to a more settled, agrarian-based one, with the inception of the domestication of various plant and animal species—depending on the species locally available, also influenced by local culture. Recent archaeological research suggests that in some regions such as the Southeast Asian peninsula, the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculturalist was not linear, but region-specific.
There are several competing theories as to the factors that drove populations to take up agriculture. The most prominent of these are: The Oasis Theory proposed by Raphael Pumpelly in 1908, popularized by V. Gordon Childe in 1928 and summarised in Childe's book Man Makes Himself; this theory maintains that as the climate got drier due to the Atlantic depressions shifting northward, communities contracted to oases where they were forced into close association with animals, which were domesticated together with planting of seeds. However, today this theory has little support amongst archaeologists because subsequent climate data suggests that the region was getting wetter rather than drier; the Hilly Flanks hypothesis, proposed by Robert Braidwood in 1948, suggests that agriculture began in the hilly flanks of the Taurus and Zagros mountains, where the climate was not drier as Childe had believed, fertile land supported a variety of plants and animals amenable to domestication. The Feasting model by Brian Hayden suggests that agriculture was driven by ostentatious displays of power, such as giving feasts, to exert dominance.
This required assembling large quantities of food. The Demographic theories proposed by Carl Sauer and adapted by Lewis Binford and Kent Flannery posit an sedentary population that expanded up to the carrying capacity of the local environment and required more food than could be gathered. Various social and economic factors helped drive the need for food; the evolutionary/intentionality theory, developed by David Rindos and others, views agriculture as an evolutionary adaptation of plants and humans. Starting with domestication by protection of wild plants, it led to specialization of location and full-fledged domestication. Peter Richerson, Robert Boyd, Robert Bettinger make a case for the development of agriculture coinciding with an stable climate at the beginning of the Holocene. Ronald Wright's book and Massey Lecture Series A Short History of Progress popularized this hypothesis; the postulated Younger Dryas impact event, claimed to be in part responsible for megafauna extinction and ending the last glacial period, could have provided circumstances that required the evolution