What does farming have to do with invention and innovation? Permanent residences, division of labour, central government, and complex technologies — all essential for advancing civilizations — could not have been developed without the move from hunting-gathering to farming. In this short animation, Patricia Russac explores how farming was a major innovation leading to the civilization we know today.
Whilst, in this podcast, part of the BBC’s History of the World in 100 Objects series, Neil MacGregor asks why our ancestors decided to grow and cook new foods, taking a pestle from Papua New Guinea as an example. The answer provides us with a telling insight into the way early humans settled on the land. Becoming farmers and eating food that was harder for other animals to digest made us a formidable force in the food chain. The impact on our environment of this shift to cookery and cultivation is still being felt.
The Open University’s World Archaeology module is available on OpenLearn and this also includes a section on the Origins of Agriculture, which may be of interest to learners.