Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7ccbd9845f-jxkh9 Total loading time: 0.358 Render date: 2023-01-28T01:47:41.919Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

The farming-inequality nexus: new insights from ancient Western Eurasia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2019

Amy Bogaard*
Affiliation:
Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford, 36 Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PK, UK
Mattia Fochesato
Affiliation:
Dondena Centre, Bocconi University, Via Röntgen 1, Milan 20136, Italy
Samuel Bowles
Affiliation:
Behavioral Sciences, Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
*
*Author for correspondence (Email: amy.bogaard@arch.ox.ac.uk)

Abstract

This article advances the hypothesis that the transformation of farming from a labour-limited form to a land-limited form facilitated the emergence of substantial and sustained wealth inequalities in many ancient agricultural societies. Using bioarchaeological and other relevant evidence for the nature of ancient agrosystems, the authors characterise 90 Western Eurasian site-phases as labour- vs land-limited. Their estimates of wealth inequality (the Gini coefficient), which incorporate data on house and household storage size and individual grave goods—adjusted for comparability using new methods—indicate that land-limited farming systems were significantly more unequal than labour-limited ones.

Type
Research
Information
Antiquity , Volume 93 , Issue 371 , October 2019 , pp. 1129 - 1143
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2019 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Ames, K.M. 1996. Life in the big house: household labor and dwelling size on the Northwest Coast, in Coupland, C. & Banning, E.B. (ed.) People who lived in big houses: archaeological perspectives on large domestic structures: 178200. Madison (WI): Prehistory.Google Scholar
Antolín, F., Buxó, R., Jacomet, S., Navarrete, V. & Saña, M.. 2014. An integrated perspective on farming in the Early Neolithic lakeshore site of La Draga (Banyoles, Spain). Environmental Archaeology 19: 241–55. https://doi.org/10.1179/1749631414Y.0000000027CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bar-Yosef, O. 2001. From sedentary foragers to village hierarchies: the emergence of social institutions. Proceedings of the British Academy 110: 138.Google Scholar
Bar-Yosef, O. 2014. Was Gobekli Tepe culture a chiefdom that failed?, in Finlayson, B. & Makarewicz, C. (ed.) Settlement, survey, and stone. Essays on Near Eastern prehistory in honour of Gary Rollefson: 159–68. Berlin: Ex Oriente.Google Scholar
Beckert, S. 2015. Empire of cotton: a global history. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
Belfer-Cohen, A. 1995. Rethinking social stratification in the Natufian Culture: the evidence from burials, in Campbell, S. & Green, A. (ed.) in The archaeology of death in the ancient Near East: 916. Oxford: Oxbow.Google Scholar
Bogaard, A. 2011. Farming practice and society in the Central European Neolithic and Bronze Age: an archaeobotanical response to the Secondary Products Revolution model, in Hadjikoumis, A., Robinson, E. & Viner-Daniels, S. (ed.) The dynamics of Neolithisation in Europe: studies in honour of Andrew Sherratt: 266–83. Oxford: Oxbow.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bogaard, A. et al. 2013. Crop manuring and intensive land management by Europe's first farmers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 110: 12589–94. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1305918110CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bogaard, A., Hodgson, J., Nitsch, E., Jones, G., Styring, A., Diffey, C., Pouncett, J., Herbig, C., Charles, M., Ertuğ, F., Tugay, O., Filipovic, D. & Fraser, R.. 2016. Combining functional weed ecology and crop stable isotope ratios to identify cultivation intensity: a comparison of cereal production regimes in Haute Provence, France and Asturias, Spain. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 25: 5773. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00334-015-0524-0CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bogaard, A., Styring, A., Ater, M., Hmimsa, Y., Green, L., Stroud, E., Whitlam, J., Diffey, C., Nitsch, E., Charles, M., Jones, G. & Hodgson, J.. 2018a. From traditional farming in Morocco to early urban agroecology in northern Mesopotamia: combining present-day arable weed surveys and crop isotope analysis to reconstruct past agrosystems in (semi-)arid regions. Environmental Archaeology 23: 303–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/14614103.2016.1261217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bogaard, A., Styring, A., Whitlam, J., Fochesato, M. & Bowles, S.. 2018b. Farming, inequality and urbanization: a comparative analysis of late prehistoric northern Mesopotamia and south-west Germany, in Kohler, T.A. & Smith, M.E. (ed.) Quantifying ancient inequality: the archaeology of wealth differences: 201–29. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt20d8801.11Google Scholar
Bogucki, P. 1993. Animal traction and household economies in Neolithic Europe. Antiquity 67: 492503. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00045713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bogucki, P. 1999. The origins of human society. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Borgerhoff-Mulder, M. et al. 2009. Intergenerational wealth transmission and the dynamics of inequality in small-scale societies. Science 326: 682–88. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1178336CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Borsch, S.J. 2005. The Black Death in Egypt and England. A comparative study. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
Bowles, S. & Carlin, W.. 2018. Inequality as experienced difference: a reformulation of the Gini coefficient. London: Centre for Economic Policy Research.Google Scholar
Byrd, B. & Monahan, C.. 1995. Death, mortuary ritual and Natufian social structure. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 14: 251–87. https://doi.org/10.1006/jaar.1995.1014CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Childe, V.G. 1929. The Danube in prehistory. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
Childe, V.G. 1950. The urban revolution. Town Planning Review 21: 317. https://doi.org/10.3828/tpr.21.1.k853061t614q42qhCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Childe, V.G. 1957. The dawn of European civilization. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Clark, C. & Haswell, M.. 1964. The economies of subsistence agriculture. New York: St Martin's Press.Google Scholar
Flannery, K.V. 2002. The origins of the village revisited: from nuclear to extended households. American Antiquity 67: 417–33. https://doi.org/10.2307/1593820CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fochesato, M., Bogaard, A. & Bowles, S.. 2019. Comparing ancient inequalities: the challenges of comparability, bias and precision. Antiquity 91: 853–69. https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2019.106Google Scholar
Gaastra, J.S., Greenfield, H.J. & Linden, M.V.. 2018. Gaining traction on cattle exploitation: zooarchaeological evidence from the Neolithic Western Balkans. Antiquity 92: 1462–77. https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2018.178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goody, J. 1976. Production and reproduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Gudeman, S. & Rivera, A.. 1990. Conversations in Colombia: the domestic economy in life and text. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511558009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hadjikoumis, A., Robinson, E. & Viner-Daniels, S. (ed.). 2011. The dynamics of Neolithisation in Europe: studies in honour of Andrew Sherratt. Oxford: Oxbow.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Halstead, P. 1981. Counting sheep in Neolithic and Bronze Age Greece, in Hodder, I., Isaac, G. & Hammond, N. (ed.) Pattern of the past: studies in honour of David Clarke: 307–99. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Halstead, P. 1995. Plough and power: the economic and social significance of cultivation with the ox-drawn ard in the Mediterranean. Bulletin on Sumerian Agriculture 8: 1122.Google Scholar
Halstead, P. 2006. What's ours is mine? Village and household in early farming society in Greece. Amsterdam: Stichting Nederlands Museum voor Anthropologie en Praehistorie.Google Scholar
Halstead, P. 2014. Two oxen ahead: pre-mechanised farming in the Mediterranean. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hayden, B. 1990. Nimrods, piscators, pluckers and planters: the emergence of food production. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 9: 3169. https://doi.org/10.1016/0278-4165(90)90005-XCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hayden, B. 2001. Richman, poorman, beggarman, chief: the dynamics of social inequality, in Feinman, G. & Price, T. (ed.) Archaeology at the millennium: 231–72. New York: Kluwer/Plenum. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-72611-3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Helmer, D. & Gourichon, L.. 2008. Premières données sur les modalités de subsistance à Tell Aswad (Syrie, PPNB moyen en récent, néolithique céramique ancien), in Vila, E., Gourichon, L., Choyke, A.M. & Buitenhuis, H. (ed.) Archaeozoology of the Near East VIII: 119–51. Lyon: Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée.Google Scholar
Hodder, I. 2014. Çatalhöyük: the leopard changes its spots. A summary of recent work. Anatolian Studies 64: 122. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0066154614000027CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoddinott, J. 2006. Shocks and their consequences across and within households in rural Zimbabwe. Journal of Development Studies 42: 301–21. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220380500405501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Isaakidou, V. 2006. Ploughing with cows: Knossos and the Secondary Products Revolution, in Serjeantson, D. & Field, D. (ed.) Animals in Neolithic Britain and Europe: 95112. Oxford: Oxbow.Google Scholar
Isaakidou, V. 2011. Farming regimes in Neolithic Europe: gardening with cows and other models, in Hadjikoumis, A., Robinson, E. & Viner-Daniels, S. (ed.) The dynamics of Neolithisation in Europe: studies in honour of Andrew Sherratt: 90112. Oxford: Oxbow.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ivanova, M. 2012. Perilous waters: early maritime trade along the western coast of the Black Sea (fifth millennium BC). Oxford Journal of Archaeology 31: 339–65. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0092.2012.00392.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kohler, T.A. et al. 2017. Greater post-Neolithic wealth disparities in Eurasia than in North America and Mesoamerica. Nature 551: 619–22. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature24646CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Krauß, R. 2008. Karanovo und das Südosteuropäische Chronologiesystem aus Heutiger Sicht. Eurasia Antiqua 14: 115–47.Google Scholar
Kuijt, I. 1996. Negotiating equality through ritual: a consideration of Late Natufian and Prepottery Neolithic A Period mortuary practices. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 15: 313–36. https://doi.org/10.1006/jaar.1996.0012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Larson, G. & Fuller, D.Q.. 2014. The evolution of animal domestication. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics: 115–36. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-110512-135813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Menard, N. 2004. Do ecological factors explain variation in social organization?, in Thierry, B., Singh, M. & Kaumanns, W. (ed.) Macaque societies: a model for the study of social organization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Mitchell, C., Boinski, S. & van Schaik, C.P.. 1991. Competitive regimes and female bonding in two species of squirrel monkeys (Saimiri oerstedi and S. sciureus). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 28: 5560. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00172139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moseley, M.E. & Day, K.C. (ed.). 1982. Chan-Chan: Andean desert city. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.Google Scholar
Nikolov, V. 2011. Provadia-Solnitsata (NE Bulgaria): a salt-producing centre of the sixth and fifth millennia BC, in Alexianu, M., Weller, O. & Curcă, R.-G. (ed.) Archaeology and anthropology of salt: a diachronic approach: 5964. Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
Nikolov, V. 2012. Salt, early complex society, urbanization: Provadia-Solnitsata (5500–4200 BC), in Nikolov, V. & Bacvarov, K. (ed.) Salt and gold: the role of salt in prehistoric Europe: 1165. Veliko Tarnovo: Faber.Google Scholar
Pollock, S. 1999. Ancient Mesopotamia: the Eden that never was. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Postgate, N. 1992. Early Mesopotamia. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Rowley-Conwy, P. 2001. Time, change and the archaeology of hunter-gatherers: how original is the ‘original affluent society’?, in Panter-Brick, C., Layton, R.H. & Rowley-Conwy, P. (ed.) Hunter-gatherers: an interdisciplinary perspective: 3972. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Scott, J.C. 2009. The art of not being governed: an anarchist history of upland Southeast Asia. New Haven (CT): Yale University Press.Google ScholarPubMed
Sherratt, A. 1981. Plough and pastoralism: aspects of the Secondary Products Revolution, in Hodder, I., Isaac, G. & Hammond, N. (ed.) Pattern of the past: studies in honour of David Clarke: 261305. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Sherratt, A. 2006. La traction animale et la transformation de l'Europe néolithique, in Pétrequin, P., Arbogast, R.-M., Pétrequin, A.-M., van Willigen, S. & Bailly, M. (ed.) Premiers chariots, premiers araires. La diffusion de la traction animale en Europe pendant les IVe et IIIe millénaires avant notre ère: 329–60. Paris: CNRS.Google Scholar
Slicher van Bath, B.H. 1963. The agrarian history of Western Europe AD 500–1850. London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
Station, R.E. 1970. Details of the classical and long-term experiments up to 1967. Harpenden: Campfield.Google Scholar
Styring, A.K., Charles, M., Fantone, F., Hald, M.M., McMahon, A., Meadow, R.H., Nicholls, G.K., Patel, A.K., Pitre, M.C., Smith, A., Sołtysiak, A., Stein, G., Weber, J.A., Weiss, H. & Bogaard, A.. 2017. Isotope evidence for agricultural extensification reveals how the world's first cities were fed. Nature Plants 3: 17076. https://doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2017.76CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Todorova, H.E. 2002. Durankulak: die prähistorischen Gräberfelder von Durankulak. Sofia: Deutches Archäeologisches Institut in Berlin.Google Scholar
Ur, J. 2014. Households and the emergence of cities in ancient Mesopotamia. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 24: 249–68. https://doi.org/10.1017/S095977431400047XCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vehrencamp, S. 1983. A model for the evolution of despotic versus egalitarian societies. Animal Behaviour 31: 667–82. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0003-3472(83)80222-XCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Bogaard et al. supplementary material

Bogaard et al. supplementary material

Download Bogaard et al. supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 395 KB
32
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The farming-inequality nexus: new insights from ancient Western Eurasia
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The farming-inequality nexus: new insights from ancient Western Eurasia
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The farming-inequality nexus: new insights from ancient Western Eurasia
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *