Is this your first time to our series? Here is the beginning
Did you miss the previous blog? Read Pt. 3 here!
The Neolithic revolution is what we have to thank for most things we know today. Although it didn’t happen across the planet at the same time; it was fast to take over our lives. During this time period, we started to see large-scale settlements and a harder way of living. Farming has never been easy, but modern day farmers would be hard-pressed to want to go back to the way it was done. Everything had to be done by hand, and the skeletal recorded shows that compared to their hunter-gather counterparts, the Neolithic revolutionaries lived a much harder life. This was despite the fact that farming had been expected to make life easier. So why did we start to live this way if it was a harder?
As we get to this, you may be wondering why farming is so important to the concept of trade. Simply put, when you are locked down to one geographical location, you will tend to burn through your resources fairly quickly. This will be exasperated when populations continue to grow. This leaves you with the only option available – to start to trade goods to other communities around you.
In the Fertile Crescent, we start to see a different type of trade. Not only the trade of goods, but of ideas as well. This trend led to the beginnings of writing and math. Both of these things would be used to great effect when exchanging goods. The use of writing in the form of cuneiform was largely used to record economic information. They would make clay tablets and use marking on them to denote the delivery and/or the distribution of livestock and grain.
Along with the advent of farming, this allowed for specialization of other skills. This meant that there was more goods to trade. Trade routes existed between Mesopotamia and China, as far back as the 5th and 6th millennium B.C.E. These trade routes predominately brought desired goods into Mesopotamia that they didn’t have access to. When looking at the Indian subcontinent, we see very little evidence of internal development of agriculture. Instead, we see more of a mixed agricultural dispersement from both east and west. The appearance of cereals and legumes, from Southwest Asia; were introduced into to the area, after being previously domesticated elsewhere. Also, we see African millet and legumes that seem to of been brought to the Indus region through trade with Mesopotamia.
We are starting to see the emergence of local economies relying on other local economies. This change has benefits, however, as we know now: This can present problems. In modern days, this reflects as computer chip and food shortages around the globe. These issues do not appear to be slowing down, and they didn’t in the ancient eras either.
Now that we have entered the Neolithic; a new form of trade starts to present itself: the trade of goods for services rendered.
With this, I hope you join us for the next of this series.
Bellwood, P., 2008. First Farmers. Malden: Blackwell, pp. 86-89
Milisauskas, S., 2013. European prehistory. 2nd ed. Buffalo: Springer, pp.176-179.
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