Skip Navigation LinksWH_Intro_of_Agriculture

Essential Question: How did agriculture improve settlement and population growth?

​Before the invention of agriculture, homo sapiens were dependent upon hunting gathering for their food and their survival. By 8000 BC, however, this gradually changed and we saw the once dominant hunter gather being supplanted by the invention of agriculture. With this, starts the dawn of the Neolithic Revolution.

The shift from hunter gather to farmer was not one that happened overnight. Many scholars believe it was quite a gradual process, and although hard to pinpoint the a specific reason, changes in climate is considered to be instrumental in the shift.

Impact on Settlement

The ability to stay in one place for a longer period of time, in contrast to the nomadic life of a hunter gatherer, allowed for surpluses in food. With the success of crops and reliance on agriculture, the first settlements were created. Domestication of animals, such as dogs, goats, sheep, and pigs.

i. Rise of villages
    • The modern village owes thanks to the Neolithic Revolution. With a sedentary lifestyle, settlements became formed, and this naturally led to the development of villages.
    • Old wall in Jericho is the first place that the Neolithic era started in the entire world. The Tel Es-Sultan springs was the first site to build homes, grow plants and keep animals in the world.
      Tel Es-Sultan
      • More sustainable, advanced, permanent homes were built.
      • The building of community/ritual centers, better systems of food storage, and more attention to fortification also sprang up

ii. Population Growth
    • With a sedentary lifestyle, humans found themselves with a more sustainable lifestyle
      • Food was now in surplus
      • Population was less exposed to the harshness of nature that hunter gatherers experienced; making survival and life expectancy greater
      • Women, unlike where caring for newborns while traveling made large families a rarity, began to expand families at a more rapid rate.
    • Population rates began to increase rapidly as a result.

iii. Civilization
    • With the rise of villages and permanent settlements, specializations of trade arose.
    • Plastered skull and religious practices Gave rise to religious practices by the evidence of plaster skulls found in Levant area
    • skilled professions such as pottery, tool-making, weaving, and carpentry are examples.
      • created a powerful hierarchy of merchants, quasi-class system
    • Government structures arose
      • ruling class enforced laws, commissioned public works, even imposed a tributary finance system to pay for their endeavors, i.e. taxes
      • not everything about the birth of agriculture was good however.
        • Women lost significant ground to men in matters of social and economic matters
iv. The Creation of Social Classes
  • During the Neolithic Revolution, it was generally the strongest men in society who would go out and hunt for food and fight off enemies.
  • With that, they became the leaders of their respective villages, creating a social class in which they were the dominant ones
  • Priests and Warriors were at the top of power in their villages, while farmers and other workmen were at the bottom

Conclusion: The introduction of agriculture created a surge in innovation and revolutionary techniques that created a more civilized, structured, and modern society. The advancements made in social, economic, and agricultural means during the Neolithic Revolution are for the most part, still prevalent in today's society. The way we live today, close to other people in towns and cities, eating farm foods grown on the farm and with leisure to learn, explore and invent was a result of the Neolithic Revolution.

​Ancient Agricultural ToolsAncient Agricultural Tools