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Revision as of 21:45, 19 October 2020 by Alfino (Created page with "==13: OCT 19== ===Assigned Reading=== :*Montgomery, David. Chapter 3: "Rivers of Life" (pp. 27-47) (20) :*Montgomery, David. Chapter 4: "Graveyards of Civilizations" (pp. 49...")
13: OCT 19
- Montgomery, David. Chapter 3: "Rivers of Life" (pp. 27-47) (20)
- Montgomery, David. Chapter 4: "Graveyards of Civilizations" (pp. 49-81) (32)
AssessingIFS: Stage 2
- Original assignment at October 12.
- Stage 2': Please evaluate four student answers and provide brief comments and a score. Review the Assignment Rubric for this exercise and keep it by you while you review. We will be using all four areas of the rubric for this assignment. We will tie specific elements of the prompt to the content assessment, so be sure to consider that in composing your answer! Complete your evaluations and scoring by Friday, October 23rd, 2020, 11:59pm.
- Use this Google Form to evaluate four peer papers. The papers will be on the Sharepoint site under Student Writing, but please do not edit these files or add comments directly on them. This will compromise your anonymity.
- To determine the papers you need to peer review, I will send you a key with animal names in alphabetically order, along with saint names. You will find your animal name and review the next four (4) animals' work.
- Some papers may arrive late. If you are in line to review a missing paper, allow a day or two for it to show up. If it does not show up, go ahead and review enough papers to get to four reviews. This assures that you will get enough "back evaluations" of your work to get a good average for your peer review credit. (You will also have an opportunity to challenge a back evaluation score of your reviewing that is out of line with the others.)
Montgomery, Dirt, Chapter 3, "Rivers of Life"
- connection between humanity and soil in language: adama (earth) hava (living). We are living earth. In Latin "homo" from "humus", living soil.
- short digression on "food ontology" -- some candidate answers, but then if we take the linguistic associations literally, how would we define food?
- suggest myth of the garden represents transition to agriculture, climate change.
- Long history
- 20,000 years ago - last major glaciation (though not a single event). Europe freezes, Africa dries.
- 2 million years ago - earliest evidence of migration of homo erectus from Africa. separation from Neanderthal (note some evidence that we ate 'em ),
- 300,000 year ago - first modern humans.
- 45,000 years ago - another wave of migration from Africa (movement occurred in both directions).
- 30,000 years ago - sharp stone tools (much later than the handaxe .5 mya) and at 23,000 yrs bows and arrows
- Human Evolution Timeline
- modifications in skin color and other features a response to UV radiation and Vitamin D production, selection effect.
- Emergence of agriculture
- oasis and cultural evolution theories. p 30 - problem wit oasis theory - food variety in mid-east expanding at time of agriculture. problem with cultural evolution theory -- not everyone adopted ag (though in other examples, like hand axes, everyone does adopt).
- increasing population density -- agriculture a forced option. Note climate of the Levant 13 - 11,000bc - major food abundance. could have supported population explosion.
- mini-glaciation at 10,000 bc called the Younger Dryas -- recovered pollen samples drop by 3/4 -- decrease precip. forests recede.
- site evidence from Abu Hureyra, on Tigris -- evidence of cultivation of grains, drought tolerant ones (drought sensitive ones disappear from the record), for example.
- more work to produce a calorie at start of agriculture --(recall crucial calculation here). population grew to six thousand. evidence of settlements chose for ag condition.
- note -- using evidence from burnt food remains, we can track the migration of food, independently of human migration.
- agriculture developed in several places, but we missed this because in some places it developed before settled towns. Mesoamerica, China.
- Spread of Agriculture
- spread through levant and Turkey. Growth allows defeat of nearby hunter/gatherers in contest for territory.
- the dog - 20k. The cat 4K.
- domesticated livestock a huge leap - animal labor, fertilizer, and stored food on the hoof.
- after agriculture, population doubles every 1,000 years.
- by 5,000 bc, evidence of overcultivation in Tigris valley, hillside erosion. emergence of irrigation. 37
- Early agricultural infrastructure and control by governing elites. Emergence of class, armies, fight for territory.
- very interesting: Mesopotamian religious elite controlled food production and distribution. (Later we'll see that Jewish authorities do the same in the Levant). population growth.
- Uruk grows to 50,000. agruculture bring property, inequality, class, gov't administration, (philosophers). Writing 3,000 bc - (mention Field Museum in Chicago).
- back to the environment -- Babylonian Empire emerges from Sumerian cities around 1800bc. But irrigation led to salination of the soil, silting of rivers -- 39-40 evidence of lack of understanding of soil. Babylon falls! Pop peaks at 20 million. Temple records tell the story.
- story in Egypt - p. 40 on: short story, the Nile fed civilizations for 7,000 years in rough sustainability, ideal combination of new silt and humus (Blue Nile and While Nile). Harvests increase over time.
- But, desire to grow grain for export led to year round irriation. 1880's salination extreme. Then Nasser damn. (Thinking about the logic of export crops for maximizing revenue. Very similar to situation of local overpop leading to exploiting the soil.)
- Irony of Nasser dam producing electricity to make synthetic fertilizers that are now needed because of the dam and poor soil management.
- story in China - interesting, administration of ag recognized many grades of soil. Yellow River (name from mineral erosion upstream) damned and diverted starting 340 bc. Process of raising levees around the river led to 30 foot levies by 1920s. 19th century flood killed millions.
- story of Walter Lowdermilk -- 1922 - working on famine prevention. First to write about soil management and civilization. Follows major river up stream documenting 400 miles of levies and evidence of ancient mismanagement of early ag sites.
- thesis going forward: Civilizations are defined by their management of soil. And, everyone has messed it up eventually, even the Egyptians.
Montgomery, Dirt, Chapter 4, "Graveyards of Empires"
- Thesis: Soil degradation doesn't directly cause declines in civilization, but makes civilizations more vulnerable to "hostile neighbors, internal sociopolitical disruption, and harsh winters or droughts."
- Tikal (Guatamala) - Meso-American (Mayan, in this case) civilization reclaimed by the jungle. 1840s re-discovery. (returns to this at the end).
- Ancient Greece
- (In this section, he implies that we tell "false histories" of ancient agriculturalists when we imagine that they took care of their soil.)
- As land degraded, needed more slaves to feed owners. Sporadic use of fertilizers. Hills around Athens bare by 570 BC (before Plato).
- Evidence of knowledge of erosion (from hillsides) as public policy, but failure to address it.
- By time of Peloponnesian War (431-404), Egypt & Sicilian provide 1/3 to 3/4 of food to Greece. (In news this am (2017), Yemen imports 80% of food.)
- (Comments by Plato and Aristotle on soil degradation.)
- Greeks repeat pattern of Mesopotamia -- intensified cultivation as population grows. Plow a significant step. p. 54: 1,000 year cycle of soil erosion / pop density decline.
- Evidence of movement from small diversified farming to large plantations with fewer crops.
- We associate Greece with olive trees and grapes, but that's partly because they do well in the thin rocky soil left from millennia of soil erosion.
- 146bc, conquest of Corinth, incorporate of Greece into Empire
- Research of Vita-Finzi, mid-60s: Was soil erosion (in Libya) from climate change or mismanagement? Found two major periods of hillside erosion: one ancient,attributable to climate, the other dated to late Roman era. Climate also involved when you mismanage soil because land is more vulnerable to climate variation. (Note: In light of climate change, food security (or price stability) might become a greater concern.)
- Roughly 5,000 to 4,000 bc.: agriculture introduced to Italian pennisula by immigrants.
- Significance of Bronze Age (2,000bc to 800bc) and Iron Age (500 bc on): depth of plowing and deforestation.
- 500bc -- highpoint of productivity - 1-5 acres / family. "farmers" had social status.
- Erosion in south (Campagna) also produced malaria from pooling of water on eroded land.
- Cato's De Agri Cultura - p.59 Cato brought plump figs from Carthage to the Senate floor, arguing that Carthage was a threat to Rome because of its food productivity. Ended all his speeches with "Carthage must be destroyed." Third Punic War took care of that. Roman model become colonial system of agriculture around N. Africa and Sicily. Pliny the Elder (23-79ad)
- Varo, De re Rustica, 117bc, focused on intensive high yield ag for the times.
- Like Greece, Romans in Empire Period relied heavily on slaves to feed them.
- Evidence of soil mismanagement in Roman Republic and Empire.
- Difference in Roman case: extensive knowledge of husbandry. 1960s studies of erosion around Rome: 1" every 1,000 years before the Via Cassia was built, 1"per 200 years after.
- substory: emergence of the latifundia system of agriculture in 2nd cent bc due, in part to post-war availability of cheap land, lots of slaves. 63
- by 300 ad, productivity of central Italy dramatically declined. (Campagna and sicily currently desertifying).
- Empire needed to annex parts of N. Africa to secure food. Mid-80s UNESCO research moved us away from climate explanation for decline.
- 66: early 20th thesis that agricultural policy contributed to decline of Roman Empire. Farm debt a problem then and now.
- 30bc - Egypt becomes a colonial food source. after Cleopatra dies. Emperor Augustus (1st cent ad) forbade senators and nobles from entering Egypt due to fear of its ag power.67
- story of 19th American, George Perkins March, research in Italy on soil erosion. early hypothesis of Roman land misuse. land doesn't always recover.
- North Africa - Mideast
- Lowdermilk in Tunisia, Algieria. Then on to Levant. Lebanon and Israel.
- Back to Meso-America, Tikal, and the Mayan case
- Maize domestication about 2000bc. greatest erosion around 600-900ad, along with evidence steep population decline. from 1million in 3rd c. ad. to 1/2 that 200 years later.
- mechanisms: slash and burn agriculture. fertility declines. but worked at low population levels.
- lots of studies of silting and erosion. p. 75ff.
- General points:
- Soil degradation characteristic of major civilizations. Usually the result of over-exploitation of resources in the face of population growth.
- Soil degradation not the sole cause of civilization decline, but it "leaves societies vulnerable to hostile neighbors, internal sociopolitical disruption, and harsh winters or droughts"
- Reflected in commitments to slavery, expansion, and exploitation of neighbors.
- Happens regardless of knowledge of good practices.
- Often in connection with development of a food export industry.
- Civilizations which left records often assigned blame to climate change, disappearance of water sources. (Remarkable exceptions include famous intellectuals like Pliny the Elder, Tertulian, Plato, Aristotle.)