Chapter 5 - People as Village Farmers: The Agricultural Wave

With the Agricultural Wave people change from foraging for food to agricultural food production and a sedentary, village way of life. People begin to make this change in some, but not all, areas of the world beginning approximately 10,000 BCE. This transition also occurs at later time periods whenever a group begins to adopt an agricultural way of life. Some people today continue to live in small villages and retain some Agricultural Wave characteristics similar to earlier people. A section on chiefdoms and a case study of Cahokia is also included.

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Author's Comments

One of my key themes in this holistic world history is that I have organized our past according to development rather than a strict chronological approach. This does not mean that I have dispensed with chronology altogether. As a historian, no way would I do that! We are all about chronology. Instead, I have integrated chronology within a developmental framework.

I believe this chapter, the Agricultural Wave, reflects this developmental approach better than the other chapters. Although there are very few, if any, foraging people left on this earth, the Agricultural Wave is represented by about 5 % of the population. A strong showing when you think of the expansion and domination of both the Urban and Modern Waves. Although not exactly replicated, they carry on many of the traditions of the past amidst a modern culture. If you use a strictly chronological approach, today indigenous people of the Agricultural Wave are considered backward, primitive, or the victim/object of modern expansion.

My intent in using this developmental approach is to include and appreciate the people of the Agricultural Wave in the modern era. The durability of this wave is amazing, despite repeated attempts to stamp it out and relegate it to the dustbins of history.