reply to post by Devino
It appears as though civilizations sprung up over night. There is, at least, a definite period of separation between prehistory and recorded history.
Prehistoric nomads settled into civilizations yet we don't really understand why.
There are very good reasons why nomads settled down and gradually built the settelements that would become civilisations.
Early man was held to the seasons and the migrations of his food supplies. Settling down while the rains and herds moved elsewhere would be foolish.
Egyptian nomads followed the rains and the animals, but gradually began to domesticate their cattle. Not in the same sense we do, they husbanded their
cattle and took them with them as they travelled. The Apis Bull myths likley originate from this period.
There's evidence that early man began to sow wild grasses...agriculture. The wild grasses bore grain. Over generations, people found they had the
plants and meat they needed in one place. By settling near wells, lakes or rivers, they had access to water. The land near rivers is fertile for
agriculture and would attract wildlife (food).
They are just a few basic reasons for the settlling.
The civilisation aspects are inevitable if you study history, anthropology or economics. Surplus food and water leads to recreational time that leads
to technological improvements. Spear points become more efficient. Hand axes become hafted. Mythologies and language become more complex as words are
created to describe or relate ideas and objects. These are the stirrings of a distinct culture.
7000BC a person could look at their surroundings. There might be several dozen people...mostly young teenagers due to mortality rates and hostile
conditions. They travel from one familiar area to another throughout the year. They may have several cattle to tap their blood and use for meat when
times are hard or the animal is old enough. Hunting is the main source of food. They trade with other tribes and fight with some.
5000BC a person looks around. They live in a settlement on the banks of a lake. There are several hundred people with a greater age-range. Cultivated
grasses blow in the breeze while herds of cattle graze. They still hunt. Grain is stored in ceramic pots. Trade within the settlement and with other
settlements is common. The area has guards posted to protect their resources from attack from other nomadic tribes. The chief or leader has a larger
dwelling to show status and makes the rules. Justice is likely to be bloody.
As communities grew in size, complex systems naturally appeared to maintain order. Civilisation didn't spring up...it developed down dead-ends and
successes. At times slowly and other times seemingly at breakneck speeds as advances led to ever more.
The idea of 'collective amnesia' is an attractive one if we are looking to place a lost civilisation in our distant past. There's no doubt we've
lost a lot of knowledge to history. On the other hand, archaeologists are forever weaving away at the tapestry of our past. Each new thread adds to
the fabric and gradually we begin to see the patterns of previous cultures.
I recommend listening to some of these history programmes.
15 minutes each and will
probably clear up a few of your questions about civilisation.