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The Origins of Specialized Nomadic Pastoralism: A Systemic Model

  • Susan H. Lees (a1) and Daniel G. Bates (a1)

A model is presented which describes the transition from mixed rainfall-dependent agriculture with animal husbandry to specialized modes of production based upon irrigated agriculture and nomadic pastoralism. This model emphasizes selective pressures for mixed farming before irrigation agriculture had expanded in the arid alluvial zones of Mesopotamia, and selective pressures for specialization after irrigation agriculture had become established in that zone. It goes on to describe dynamic interaction between specialized groups once such specialization has become institutionalized.

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Daniel G. Bates 1971 The role of the state in peasant-nomad mutualism. Anthropological Quarterly 44:109131.

Kent V. Flannery 1965 The ecology of early food production in Mesopotamia. Science 147:12471256.

T. J. Jacobsen , and R. McC. Adams 1958 Salt and silt in ancient Mesopotamian agriculture. Science 128:12511258.

Louise E. Sweet 1965 Camel raiding of North Arabian Bedouin: a mechanism of ecological adaptation. American Anthropologist 67:11321150.

Eric Wolf 1951 The social organization of Mecca and the origins of Islam. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 7:329356.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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