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Author Topic: THE SAHARA  (Read 4036 times)
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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2009, 08:58:13 am »

And here is where the difference lies.

Sandweiss says that if the new landscape fills up with too many people, the population becomes tied
to productive systems—such as irrigation agriculture—that require particular locales and infrastructure investments. “It becomes difficult for people to move around any more,” he says. “At some point there are simply too many people in the group, and too much population surrounding them, to allow them to move, and not enough new places to go.”

Sandweiss has found links with past El Niños (southward currents in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that influence weather and ecology) on the northwestern Peruvian coast. “El Niños may well have been as frequent 9000 years ago as now, but you didn’t get civilization then—because you’re talking about low population densities, hunter-gatherers, fishers who are extremely mobile. The landscape wasn’t filled
up, so they moved around.”

But he’s found that after a shift in the El Niño system about 5800 years ago that reduced natural sustenance at a time of higher population densities, traces of civilization first appeared. “We’re getting many of the things that most people consider part of civilization,” he says.

“Monumental construction, some early evidence for irrigation agriculture, apparently a social hierarchy in which a small number of people had more power and better living conditions than the majority of the people, and they were mobilizing labor to build those mounds.

So there’s a significant amount going on, arts of various kinds, and textiles. We’re beginning to get specialization of labor. So many of the things that we see in the standard definition of civilization are coalescing at this time.” 
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