Posted 11/18/2012 11:28 (#2703829) Subject: Why ancient civilizations farmed in the first place
North Shore, O`ahu
The thread below reminded me of some writings I read several years ago as to why grain farming started. In the 60's there were still some hunter/gatherer cultures that were essentially unchanged by outside contact, and some good anthropology studies were possible. One of the interesting findings was that the total labor requirements for those people to aquire a food supply were only a few hours per day, and they appeared to be healthier than the people in the first farming cultures. So why would someone work harder to live in a less healthy lifestyle with less variety in the food supply and greater risk of famine? One theory that seems to fit all of the questions is the production of beer. Beer is difficult to carry around and requires time to make, so it discourages moving around to follow migrating game. Beer doesn't keep well at ambient temperature, so it has to be made on a continuing basis. Beer may also have figured into the religions of the day, as the mental haze may have seemed to be a form of communication with the gods. At any rate, we're still growing grain (and making beer) about eight or ten thousand years later.