Hunting and gathering societies

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Let us start with hunting and gathering societies that refers to simple technology for hunting animals and gathering vegetation. From the emergence of our species until about 12,000 years ago, all humans were hunters and gatherers. It is interesting that hunting and gathering societies remained common up to several centuries back, even though if today we live in a sharp decline of these communities.

Most members of these societies looked continually for animals meat and edible plants. Moreover, foraging for food demands a large amount of land, so hunting and gathering societies comprise small bands of a few dozen people living at some distance from one another. These groups were also nomadic, moving on as they depleted vegetation in one area or pursuit of migratory animals.

Hunting and gathering societies are based on kinship and family centred. The family is responsible for collecting and distributing food, protecting its members, and teaching necessary for survival skills to the children. On the other hand most activities are familiar to every member of the family, but there is some kind of specialisation of work: the very young and very old will was contributing what they can, while healthy adults secured most of the food.

An interesting fact is that in these societies (12,000 years ago!) women were taking the most important role in surviving, they were responsible for the gathering of vegetation – the most reliable food source. In the meanwhile, males were taking less specific job of hunting. Even if the two genders have somewhat different responsibilities, both – males and females – had comparable social importance.

When speaking about the leadership of these societies – they had a few formal leaders. The most of them recognised a shaman, or spiritual leader, who enjoyed high prestige but received no more significant material rewards. So as we can understand, the organisation of hunters and gatherers is relatively simple and egalitarian (equal). Hunters and gatherers recognise numerous spirits inhabiting the world

Finally, these societies rarely use their weapons – the spear, the bow and arrow, and stone knife – to wage war. It just doesn’t make sense to try to go to war when they were most of the cases fighting against natural forces, that was a real danger for their for supply! That is why they were sharing – this way of living together increased everyone’s chance to survive longer and by longer, I don’t mean very long in our terms – many people die in childhood, and perhaps half of them before the age of 20.

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