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Agriculture in Mesoamerica

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Agriculture in Mesoamerica

Post  tranthuongbn on Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:12 am

Agriculture in Mesoamerica dates to the Archaic period of Mesoamerican chronology (8000-2000 BC). During this period, many of the hunter gatherer micro-bands in the region began to cultivate wild plants. The cultivation of these plants probably started out as creating increased surplus and known areas of fall back, or starvation foods, near seasonal camps, that the band could rely on when hunting was bad, or when there was a drought. The plants could have been brought purposely, or by accident. The former could have been done by bringing a wild plant food closer to a camp site, or to a frequented area, so it was easier to get to or collect. The latter could have happened as certain plant seeds were eaten and not fully digested, causing these plants to grow wherever human habitation would take them. By creating these known areas of plant food, it would have been easier for the band to be in the right place, at the right time, to collect them.
As the Archaic period moved on, these cultivated plant foods became more and more important to the people of Mesoamerica. The reliability of the cultivated plant foods would allow the micro-bands to increase in size. These larger bands would require more food, and that would lead to even greater reliance on purposely-cultivated plant foods. Eventually, a subsistence pattern, based on plant cultivation, supplemented with small game hunting, became much more reliable, efficient, and generated a larger yield. As agriculture grew to become a larger part of the Mesoamerican diet, the people would have increasingly settled down in permanent villages and developed increased division of labor and social stratification as surplus grew.

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