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Neolithic Villages vs. Bronze Age Cities

Summary

Neolithic villagers did not have the capability to create separation between the tradition and lifestyle of their hunter-gatherer ancestors. Due to limited knowledge and technical expertise Neolithic villagers struggled to contend with nature even as they realized the value of animal domestication and the propagation of certain edible plants and cereals. As a result, Neolithic villages were nothing more than less permanent settlements designed to develop a cost-efficient way to harvest wild cereals and for hunting wild animals. In contrast, Bronze Age cities were more sophisticated because the people in this era were no longer burdened with the problem of food supply. In fact, a significant number of residents in Bronze Age cities did not participate in subsistence farming, an example of the evidence purporting the mastery of the propagation of plants and the domestication of animals. As a result, Bronze Age cities were not only renowned for the construction of more sophisticated dwellings, the city itself evolved into a small kingdom, a political unit called the city-state.

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How were Neolithic villages different from Bronze Age Cities?

The main difference between Neolithic villages and Bronze Age cities are best explained through the examination of food consumption and the creation of settlements. It is important to point out that big difference in the type of food consumed and the settlements that were created were due in large part to how these two groups of people were able to access information regarding agriculture, such as farming and the domestication of animals. Neolithic villagers had little knowledge of both, forcing them to create only simple settlements. However, Bronze Age people were fortunate enough to acquire information regarding technological advancements and technical expertise, allowing them to develop sophisticated farming capabilities and more elaborate dwellings that culminated in the creation of city-states.

Difference in Food Consumption

The difference in food consumption is linked to the technology and knowledge available to the residents of Neolithic villages as opposed to the residents of Bronze Age cities. In the earlier versions of community life, Neolithic villages evolved without losing much of its connection to the hunter-gatherer societies of prehistoric times. As a result, archaeologist found evidence of the consumption of wild cereals and wild animals. Since there is no way to discover archaeological evidence on vegetables and plant matter with softer material like cabbages and other leafy vegetables, it was just assumed that Neolithic villagers also consumed large quantities of wild herbs and vegetables. Nevertheless, there was evidence supporting the idea that Neolithic villagers understood the value of domestication or the need to propagate important cereals.

Bronze Age cities were characterized by urban explosion wherein large numbers of people living in smaller areas giving a glimpse to the idea of urban centers heavily populated with people. The residents benefited from breakthroughs in agriculture and the domestication of animals. In fact, a significant number of the residents did not take part in subsistence farming, suggesting a more reliable supply of food. Thus, they were free to pursue other endeavors.

Difference in Infrastructure of the Settlements

Neolithic villagers understood the value of permanent settlements. However, in many cases, settlements were populated only at certain times of the year. Neolithic villagers were compelled to develop settlements because of the difficulty of stockpiling grain and hunting wild animals. In certain villages, the settlements were created near areas that are known to have bountiful harvests of wild cereals. These settlements are oftentimes constructed near the mouth of caves or in the open.

The settlements were made of simple material. For example, the settlements found in the open range followed the design of round huts, and the roofs are supported by wooden beams. The light materials suggested that these settlements had to be rebuilt on a regular basis. In other words, there were times when the villagers had to abandon the settlements and move to a favorable area. Nevertheless, Neolithic villages were able to support a significant number of families. In one archaeological find, it was discovered that 200 to 300 people congregated to build a community.

Neolithic villagers were sometimes compelled to build defensive walls to protect the inhabitants of the community. However, these defensive infrastructures were simple, characterized by low mud walls enough to prevent the entry of wild animals. However, in Bronze Age cities, the settlements were not only more permanent in terms of longevity and for the purpose of subjugating a particular area; it was also huge compared to the size of a typical Neolithic village. It is also important to point out that during the Bronze Age period, the settlements evolved in to cities or in a more technical way of describing it, transformed into city states. In other words, a city during the Bronze Age period was technically perceived as a sophisticated political unit, like a sophisticated tribe enhanced by sophisticated engineering capabilities. For example, the Bronze Age city Malyan occupied more than a hundred hectares of sovereign territory. In addition, the sovereignty of the political unit was underscored by the construction of a defensive wall that enclosed at least 200 hectares of territory. In contrast to the mud walls and round huts of the Neolithic villages, Bronze Age cities boasted of large buildings. In one excavation site, archaeologists uncovered a large edifice with seventeen rooms. In addition, the people had more time to indulge in other passions, suggesting that they have solved the problem of agriculture and the hunter-gatherer existence, because in one building archaeologists found wall paintings in red, white, yellow, and gray.

Conclusion

It is easier to understand the differences between Neolithic villages and Bronze Age cities in terms of the challenges faced by the residents in the context of food consumptions and the development of permanent settlements. One can argue that when Neolithic villages began to emerge, the people in the said community had very little knowledge or technological capabilities to break away from the traditions and lifestyle of their hunter-gatherer ancestors. Thus, the settlements were practical and simple. The construction requirements were minimal, enough to develop a cost-efficient way to harvest wild cereals and wild plants. The defensive structures were simple as the settlements can be abandoned at a short notice. However, when technological advancements in farming and storing agricultural produce became the norm, the emergence of Bronze Age cities revealed a different way of life. One can argue that domesticating animals and breakthroughs in agriculture technology enabled Bronze Age people to focus on other aspects of life, enabling them to build more permanent settlements, more sophisticated defensive infrastructures, and more sophisticated dwellings.

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