Several studies have been conducted relating to the mostly asked question, Why did early man decided to make settlements and make permanent homes and dwellings? The transition from hunter-gatherer societies into village community paved the way for the evolution of society and development into early civilization and culture.
Early man and village settlements
Archeology and Paleoanthropology are two fields in science that tries to explain the nature, behavior and reasons behind early man’s evolution and development. Data is based upon fossils and excavated artifacts and ruins found throughout the world (Spodek, 2001).
These two fields strive to explain the origins of man and their behavior and culture. Excavations of fossilized remains and artifacts are used to derive and explanation and theories regarding early man and his environment and culture.
It is not determined, but around 5 million B.C.E. up to 10,000 B.C.E. early man decided to change from hunting and gathering into a community based settlement. One theory explains that Homo erectus, man’s early ancestor, migrated from Africa and begun to settle in Asia and Europe. This was believed to be 400,000 B.C.E. (Alberge, 2007)
It is theorized that early man decided to settle in areas with fertile soil and good supply of water. These village communities begun as base of operation for hunters and gatherers bands. With the ever growing population, these villages have developed into cities and city states as time passed.
Crucial to the development of villages into cities were the development of agriculture, domestication and communication. These factors paved the way for the evolution of man into modern man.
During the course of man’s evolution several creative behaviors were determined to be essential in man’s survival and as well as development. These are migration, development of tools, temporary settling, development of art and symbolism, language and its usage for communication and animal domestication and agricultural farming (Spodek, 2001). These factors were essential in the development of human society from hunter-gatherer to villages and then eventually to cities.
With early man, the use of tools was crucial to his survival and was employed in their day to day activities such as hunting and food storage. His constant migration allowed him to explore areas and appreciate the difference in abundance of resource of one location from another.
Early man has been known to build temporary settlements and these probably would have paved the way for development of permanent settlements. These settlements eventually developed into cities and states with the rise in population of the settlements. It was believed that early settlements were composed of 40 to 50 persons (Alberge, 2007).
Since women and children were left in the settlements, domestication of animals, specially dogs, were crucial to safeguard the food stores and as well as the community while the men were out hunting.. Abundance of water supply aided in the development of agricultural technologies.
Arts and symbolism paved the way for the development of communication. These two factors were crucial since they provided the means for the development of government and records, through oral and written text (Spodek, 2001).
Early man’s transition from hunter-gatherer societies into urbanized or settled villages is still filled with many questions. When was the actual settlement done? What forced early men to build permanent settlements and lived in that specific area? How did the settling occur?
The answers to these questions are still being determined. Archeology and Paleoanthropology are still looking for answers and the debate is still ongoing.
But with the settling of early men, human evolution was paved. Humans developed from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens and eventually into Homo sapiens or modern man.
Alberge, D. (2007). Rise of man theory ‘out by 400,000 years’ [Electronic Version]. Retrieved july 2007 from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1980396.ece.
Spodek, H. (2001). The World’s History (2nd ed. Vol. 1): Prentice Hall.