Hunters and collectors

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Members of the Hadza in Tanzania, one of the last people to live as traditional hunters and gatherers (2007)
For many Nordic indigenous people, hunting is an important additional means of self-sufficiency (Greenland- Inuit , 2007)
The collecting activity, traditionally carried out by women, also serves for self-sufficiency ( Chanten in West Siberia, 2013)

As a hunter-gatherer or hunter-gatherers and field-gatherers in the are Anthropology and Ethnology (Ethnography) local communities and indigenous peoples referred to their food mostly by hunting on wildlife , the fishing and by the gathering of wild plants generate or small animals. Some authors consider the designation "wild or field hunter" as pejorative pejorativa (... "exploiter") that should be avoided. In fact, this way of life requires a high degree of flexibility, adaptability and special knowledge.

A distinction is often made between unspecialized (also simple ) and specialized (also complex or differentiated ) hunter and gatherer cultures. The former use a very wide but varying food supply in very large tail areas, where they nomadise seasonally in small hordes . The latter mainly use one or more specific, locally common species that allow larger groups and longer periods of sedentariness .

The subsistence form of hunting, fishing and gathering - an appropriating or “ extractive ” way of life, through which the reproduction of natural resources is not deliberately and consciously influenced - is the oldest traditional economic form of mankind. This does not mean that the hunters and gatherers had no relevant influence on the ecological system of their habitat over long periods of time.

The allocation of the individual economic modes is not uniform in the literature: For example, Lomax and Arensberg differentiate between "hunters and fishermen" from "collectors" and Hans-Peter Müller separates the "fishermen" from the "hunters and collectors" if they are predominantly fish Life. The German agricultural scientist Bernd Andreae wrote in 1977:

“According to all cultural-historical development theories, development begins with a pure occupation economy , which is almost always coupled with a nomadic or semi-nomadic way of life. Depending on the food sources offered by nature, it is a collective economy, as in all three forms of development of Eduard Hahn, or hunting and fishing, as in Richard Krzymowski's three-stage theory, or combinations. "

The way of life of many hunter-gatherer societies can only be reconstructed from archaeological finds. The written reports of previous expeditions are not always reliable. In many specific cases, the answer to the question is difficult or even controversial, whether the way of life of extinct as well as existing hunter cultures is an autonomous and original, or a specialized way of life that has been adopted through cultural contacts or has arisen through advantageous exchange, or even a This is a secondary phenomenon of the post- Neolithic period caused by the isolation and displacement of peoples in deserts and semi-deserts .

In any case, it is assumed that in many regions (e.g. Central Africa, South America, India) there have been lively exchange relationships between hunters and planters for thousands of years (e.g. game or aid for agricultural products), so that an isolated consideration of the extractive way of life can be misleading.

It is very difficult to determine how many people around the world live from hunting and gathering today, as additional forms of subsistence and livelihood are often used at present. The number of people whose livelihood is largely based on extractive activities is a maximum of 3.8 million.

However, there are also local groups of hunters and gatherers in areas where other forms of food acquisition are not possible. Around 1500 AD, about half of the earth's habitable land area was still inhabited by hunters and gatherers. At the same time, however, their share of the world population was only an estimated 1 percent - currently it is less than 0.001 percent: an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 people, and the trend is falling.

Social organization

San community from southern Africa. Like all unspecialized hunters, the San live in small groups of around 30 to 40 people.
The Plains Indians were hunters specialized in the bison, who are also counted among the pastoralists through the introduction of the horse .

The mobile unspecialized hunter-gatherer groups usually have 20 to a maximum of 50 members. Anthropology assumes that the strength of such groups in prehistory was always below 100. For the sedentary, specialized game, fish and field hunters , the numbers were significantly higher (examples: Blackfoot - mounted bison hunters: 80 to 160 people, Cowlitz - fishermen:> 1,300 people, Calusa - fishermen in Florida : <2,000 people)

The groups are divided into small families who also go looking for food separately every season. Wildbeuter- companies live and work as a non-hierarchical ( akephale ) " hordes " and are often in individual segments organized, for example, linked to familial clan -lines. When the environmental conditions are favorable, several hordes sometimes temporarily merge to form larger units.

The influence of the individual is based on proficiency and ability. Full-time specialists for individual jobs are unknown, although there are certain people with special knowledge and skills (especially the medical professionals ). In the case of unspecialized hunters, game is usually shared among all group members, while bulk food mostly only benefits the family.

The choice of partner takes place outside the horde ( exogamous ), but mostly within the own ethnic group , which is often divided into totemic clans for recognition . With exceptions, which were generally explained by acculturation, women move to the horde of men ( patrilocality ).

Since the late 1960s, however, the thesis that hunters and gatherers operate in isolation and stationary has been viewed as the result of research methods that primarily consider social exclusion mechanisms such as exogamy and patrilocality. Richard Fox and Nurit H. Bird-David assume that the spatial and social boundaries of many local communities are far more open to neighboring ethnic groups than was previously assumed, and that their economy is often based on exchange.

Division of labor

For almost all of today's hunters, a division of the work according to age and sex was determined and described ethnographically . Men are predominantly responsible for hunting large land and water animals; while women, children and sometimes young people concentrate on collecting vegetable food and killing small animals, as well as helping to drive and process the big game that has been hunted. The only documented exception is the Aeta in the Philippines, where women hunt a lot - there is no recognized explanation for this yet.

Caring for children inevitably restricts women's mobility ( Yanomami woman with child)
With the Nordic peoples (here Micmac from Canada) the tasks of the women revolved primarily around the supply of fuel and water and the manufacture of clothing and equipment
Archaeologists assume that the Neanderthals did not know any division of labor

The tasks for individual persons can change depending on the circumstances and the opportunities that arise. There are reports of widows or brotherless daughters who became hunters. If there was a good opportunity or if the food source was almost entirely plant-based, men would also collect plant-based foods. The role of children is less well documented and appears to have been more variable. Sometimes older children were responsible for a certain part of their own nutrition, sometimes they even became specialists for a while.

The division of labor between men and women was not purely physiological or psychological , but learned to a significant extent . Explanations for the gender division of labor are:

  • The division of labor is the result of differences in parental effort and lack of clarity regarding the family relationship with a child. In some cases, the supply of food by men has more to do with social standing and prestige and functions than with feeding their own children.
  • Avoiding dangerous food procurement by women and children protects the reproductive core of a population.
  • Pregnant women and mothers with young children limit their food procurement to activities that can be interrupted and do not require great mobility .

Three general trends in the division of labor in food procurement play a particular role:

  • Large game and animal foods in general are more important in higher latitudes than in tropical regions. For example, in some arctic areas there are hardly any plants or small animals. Although, on average, the proportion of plant-based nutrition is greater near the equator, there is greater variation there. Some tropical hunters and gatherers also mainly hunt.
  • Groups whose diet consists largely of plants focus on certain combinations of seeds, nuts, and tubers. Collecting, processing or cooking these foods is relatively time-consuming. In contrast, the meat of large game supplies significantly more energy per unit of time invested (see: physiological calorific value ).
  • The third tendency concerns women's activities in higher latitudes such as the Arctic, where food-gathering options are few. Instead of food, women tend to procure water and fuel and are involved in the manufacture of housing , tools and clothing.

As the ethnologists Leacock and Etienne postulated - albeit not without meeting with opposition from Sherwood L. Washburn and CS Lancaster, for example , who assume that male dominance is part of the genetic makeup of all primates - men and women were equal in hunter-gatherer cultures ( egalitarian ) , provided they were not yet under the influence of colonial rulers . The advancing Christianization also often led to a changed relationship between the sexes.

A clear division of labor probably did not occur until 40,000 BC. At the beginning of the Upper Palaeolithic . The extensive archaeological finds from the Middle Paleolithic (300,000 to 40,000 BC) show that men and women previously performed relatively similar tasks. In the Middle Paleolithic, greater differences emerged first in the eastern Mediterranean region and later in the rest of Eurasia and Africa. The changes in behavior in the Upper Paleolithic meant an expansion of the economic and technological roles of hunters and gatherers. This gave the "modern man" (Homo sapiens) an advantage over other genera of the Hominini (human lineage). Compared to these hunters, the Neanderthals , for example, apparently did not know any division of labor.

Property and Property Rights

The North American north-west coast cultures formed very complex hunting societies: They were sedentary, lived in large villages, operated stockpiling and had differentiated ideas about property

This difference in consumption pattern also marks important differences in property and property rights as well as in the distribution structure of the hunter-gatherer societies. . Contrary to the thesis Morgans from their original propertylessness or from collective ownership in the so-called primitive communism research is now believed that it stepped in hunter-gatherer societies property - and property rights ( " Property rights ") were and are. Their objects include the disposal of land, water and places of worship (particularly well observed among the Aborigines, whose social relationships are closely linked to access to certain territories), also movable property (tools, etc.), then the disposal of natural ones Resources and possibly stored supplies (who owns the hunted game?), The disposal of others and their abilities (who is obliged to give others a share of their hunted prey?) And finally the disposal of knowledge (who is allowed to perform which rituals? Etc.) ).

James Woodburn distinguishes between societies or groups of hunters and gatherers who only work for daily needs and those who make provisions for a longer period of time and build supplies. The former group, while making their devices with great skill, does not invest a lot of labor in them; they are only created for short-term use (as for example with the San and the Mbuti ). The societies of the second group (e.g. the Inuit ) use their artefacts, which they have produced with great effort, sometimes for years. This differentiation, which, according to Woodburn, goes back to the time before the Neolithic, is evidently dependent on the physical (biotope, climate, seasonality and storage capacity of natural resources, etc.), but later also on the social environment, e.g. B. from the pressure of sedentary groups or nomadic ranchers in the area, who force the hunters and gatherers into isolation and try to seize their resources, which forces the hunter-gatherer groups to be more mobile. Ownership and property rights in companies that do not build inventories are therefore weak. There are hardly any large collections of movable property there. In the case of societies that accumulate stocks, however, they are often very complex and carefully graduated. They serve u. a. to limit the risk of overexploitation of scarce commons, which increases significantly due to the possibility of storing (and thus also spoiling or excessive individual appropriation) of supplies.

So traditional Bronislaw Malinowski a tradition of the inhabitants of the Trobriand Islands , the already long intensive horticulture operated some of their yam store roots in memory until they rotted. This was often only achieved through voluntary competitive fasting. In this, Malinowski recognized an older form of regulation of common goods, which dates back to the time of insecure food supply and aims to maintain the resistance of the community in the event of famine by maintaining its display value for as long as possible. In doing so, it gives every member of the community the opportunity to behave in an exemplary manner.


Kirikoraha ceremony of the Veddas (Sri Lanka) to appease the god of hunting Kande Yaka

The original beliefs of all hunter-gatherer societies scattered around the world have far-reaching similarities. They were (and in some cases still are) predominantly animist : Practically all natural phenomena were considered to be animated or inhabited by spirits . Often a mythical-family connection to animals, but also to plants, mountains, springs and much more - the so-called totems - was established, which as symbols had an important meaning for the establishment of identity - either in the sense of a profane group badge or a sacred symbol. Central was possibly the idea of ​​a natural order, which consisted above all in the fact that certain living beings were the "property" of certain higher beings, who are referred to as lord or mistress of animals . From the relationship to the other beings or the fear of acts of revenge on the part of the "owners", food and hunting taboos as well as forgiveness rituals were often derived, some of which had an important function in preserving resources. There was no separation between spirituality and everyday life; “Life was religion”, ritual acts consisted, for example, of animal mimes, ritual transformations into animals or incantation rites before hunting expeditions.

Land use and nutrition

Traditional hunters like the Hadza often have to travel very far to find food. Nevertheless, the care is generally safe and balanced
In the warm regions, bulk food makes up the bulk of the food
The Mongongo nut, nutritious and abundant in the San territory
The Anishinabe Southern Canada have primarily on the Wild Rice specialized

The economic form of unspecialized hunting and gathering usually requires (depending on the respective food supply in the inhabited climatic zone ) sufficiently large tail areas which, due to their extent, can only be used extensively . In the occupation economy that is common among hunters and gatherers, a person needs an area of ​​about 20 square kilometers in which to roam in search of food. The vegetation and the naturally occurring species composition are not specifically changed.

In relation to the area, this subsistence system uses by far the least amount of energy. Unless modern technologies (weapons, tools, vehicles) are used, it is only metabolized energy in the form of muscle power. This leads to a low yield without surpluses , which is well below that of all agricultural systems; In contrast, however, the energy efficiency is very high and exceeds all technical economic systems many times over: The energy yield is approximately six times the use and the impact on the natural balance is extremely low ( HANPP <0.1%). These constellations allow only very low population densities with regard to an adequate food supply: For example, 0.8 to 2 inhabitants / km² is given as the maximum for southern and eastern Africa.

The composition of the food is very different in unspecialized groups and also fluctuates greatly over the course of the year. The more inhospitable the habitat, the larger the "cultivated" area, the longer the paths and the smaller the number of people in the hordes.

Some studies in recent peoples of the subtropics and tropics come to 60 to 70, in individual cases up to 80 percent of collective food (mainly vegetable). South and Southeast Asian jungle peoples feed almost entirely from the forage economy. Some Indian ethnic groups (such as the Malapantaram and Aranandan from Kerala ) do not even have bows or spears. In warm countries, the focus is often on vegetable food, even where game and fish are abundant. It can be assumed that the uncertain prey rates, the risks of hunting and the easy availability of bulk food are an important basis for decision-making. However, there are exceptions such as the Huaorani in the Amazon lowlands of Ecuador, who primarily eat meat. For other ethnic groups - especially in the far north - the average values ​​determined were 65 percent animal food, in extreme tundra regions up to 90 percent. Vegetable food is only available from May to September at the most.

The findings of paleoanthropology on the nutrition of the Stone Age people confirm that food is mainly plant-based; Animal diet did not play a decisive role and was often limited to insects as a source of fat and small game as a source of animal protein.

In the case of specialized hunters or field hunters who are primarily interested in hunting certain common large animal species (bison, caribou, marine mammals, small game), in fishing in permanently rich waters or in harvesting massive amounts of wild fruits (wild rice, black oak, sweet grass, Sago palm), different standards must be applied for both land use and nutrition. When there was a high resource density (deer crossing, densely populated grasslands, riparian zones of large bodies of water, etc.), they were semi-nomadic , semi- sedentary or sedentary , lived in larger, more socially more complex groups and used resources more intensively.

Such complex societies already existed 20,000 years ago (for example on the Dordogne , in Ukraine, in Japan, Denmark, the Levant). The finds there suggests higher population densities, division of labor and specialization, bartering and long-distance transport as well as a stronger social stratification .


Hunting methods

Chase as endurance hunt

The oldest hunting method used by humans is probably the hunt in the form of persistence hunting . This is based on the endurance of humans when running, which is superior to almost all mammals. A person who is sufficiently well equipped for longer, faster running can effectively cool his body due to his approximately two million sweat glands and weak hair and can therefore endure a longer run for hours. The hunters of the Khoisan in southern Africa still kill fast ungulates such as zebras or ibexes without weapons by running after them until they collapse exhausted. Even some American Indian tribes hunted pronghorn as endurance hunters. Some Aborigines in Australia hunted kangaroos this traditional way .

According to a model calculation published in 2020, endurance  hunts can be withstood for up to 5 12 hours under the climatic conditions in the Kalahari without the local hunters (anatomically modern humans and Homo erectus ) having or having to carry water with them.

This method of hunting is different from that of most predators. For example, cheetahs that briefly reach speeds of over 100 kilometers per hour can only maintain this speed for a few minutes and have to reach their game in one go, otherwise they will escape. Other predators can only hold out at high speeds for a short time or use other tactics such as pack encirclement .

Driven hunt

When Cabeza de Vaca came into contact with many Indian tribes in North America as the first white man in 1528, he experienced driven hunts , including driven hunts with all-round fire. He describes hunting with fire as follows: “They also kill deer by enclosing them with fire; and they also use this method to take away the food from the animals, so that distress forces them to look for it where the Indians want it ... In this way they satisfy their hunger two or three times a year ... ". Another very old hunting method is probably the “cliff driven hunt”, in which the game was panicked and driven over the edge of a cliff.


The trapping is documented among other things, the Aborigines of Australia.

Hunting weapons

Hunting with throwing sticks is very old, especially for birds and smaller animals, and with spears for larger game.

Throwing wood

Throwing sticks of Aborigines in Australia

In addition to humans, monkeys have also been observed to throw sticks or hard fruit down from trees at approaching predators. It is therefore assumed that the use of throwing sticks is older than that of the spear , a stick sharpened at least at one end that flies and penetrates the game or the opponent. The wood that rotated during flight could, for example, stun a bird with the force emitted on impact (hit zone head), or prevent it from flying away if the wings were hit by temporary paralysis or broken bones. Well-engineered constructions in the hands of an experienced hunter also kill other and larger prey.

The first find during the excavation in Schöningen ( see below ) was a presumed throwing wood: a stick pointed at both ends and about 50 centimeters long. The throwing sticks that the Australian Aborigines used for hunting ( boomerangs ) are impressive and have also been proven in ancient Europe . They could weigh up to 2 kilograms and be 1.30 meters long; experienced throwers can throw such a boomerang up to 100 meters. These hunting boomerangs do not return to the thrower, but are optimized for a straight and stable flight. They were also used as a digging stick to dig up roots. Throwing woods 20,000 years old have been found in the European Carpathian Mountains . There are also images from ancient Egypt that show a bird hunt with throwing sticks.


Spears were already used by early representatives of the Homo genus such as Homo erectus ( Homo heidelbergensis ).

The oldest hunting weapons found so far are the 300,000 year old Schöninger spears . During lignite mining in Schöningen, Lower Saxony, 7 spears made of spruce were found in the midst of 18 wild horse skeletons . These javelins had a length between 1.82 and 2.50 meters and were made of the harder base wood, their focus was on the point. The throwing properties of replica spears are similar to those of modern women's competition javelins, with a hunting range of around 15 meters. At that time Europe was inhabited by Homo heidelbergensis , from which the Neanderthals later emerged; modern man (Homo sapiens) spread to Europe at the earliest 45,000 years ago.

Thousands of bones were found in the discovery area of ​​the early Stone Age hunting camp in Bilzingsleben , 60 percent of which were large animal bones, as well as wild cattle and wild horses, as well as the bones of bears , rhinos and elephants calves.

Lance and harpoon

Harpoon shapes from the Stone Age, here the Magdalenian (18,000–12,000 BC):
1  Mas d'Azil
2  Bruniquel
3, 4, 5  La Madeleine
6, 7  Lortet

The Neanderthals, who emerged from the European occurrence of Homo erectus , also hunted with lances , i.e. sharpened wooden sticks as stabbing weapons , which could, however, also be provided with a leaf-shaped stone blade. In German Lehringen, for example, a 2.38 meter long yew wood lance was found in the chest of a forest elephant skeleton . Neanderthal skeletons often show traces of broken bones on the arms and head. Archaeologists found a similar frequency of bone fractures among all historical and modern groups of people only in modern rodeo riders - the cause of the bone fractures is not mainly due to the falls, but rather originate from the hooves of the animals. The Neanderthals were also exposed to this danger when they hunted big game at close range.

The lance was used as a hunting weapon until modern times, especially for hunting wild boars (compare Saufeder ).

As a thrust weapon, mostly with barbs for hunting fish, people developed the harpoon .

Spear thrower

People achieved a doubling of the range of spears through the development of the spear thrower . The spear thrower was developed in Europe during the last Ice Age . It is a hunting weapon that consists of the projectile and the throwing device. The oldest find can be assigned to the late Solutréen (around 24,000 to 20,000 years ago). The predominant part from stratigraphically secured connections comes from Magdalenian IV (about 15,400-14,000 years ago). The main focus of their distribution is southwest France , some finds come from Switzerland , Germany and Spain . Worldwide the spear thrower is archaeologically and ethnographically documented in Micronesia , Australia , New Guinea and among the Eskimos . In Central America the spear thrower was used as a weapon of war.

bow and arrow

Hunters with bows and cattle as prey (rock carvings in the Sahara )

The bow extended the hunting range of humans over even greater distances and into the tops of trees and flying birds . Some tribes learned to poison the arrowheads so that they could kill large animals with small arrows, for which spears were previously required.

Nets and slings

As people began to process fibers, they also began to hunt animals with snares and to catch birds and fish with nets .


A few tribes of hunters and gatherers also used blowguns , with which they mostly shot poisoned arrows. In the rainforest of South America, for example, Indian tribes hunt primates in the highest tops of the trees with blowguns about three meters long and curare - or poison dart frogs - poisoned arrows .


Mandan girl picking berries (Edward S. Curtis, around 1908)

People collected what the local nature had to offer. Due to its ability to digest animal and vegetable food, humans have a wide range of food sources at their disposal.

Certain fruits , nuts , seeds , wild vegetables , herbs , roots , rhizomes , maggots , caterpillars , insects , eggs , honey , mollusks , reptiles , amphibians , algae , berries and mushrooms were collected . Despite the indicated diversity, depending on the area, a small number of food sources were often in the foreground. In the Middle Stone Age of Europe (Mesolithic), hazelnuts in particular were an essential part of the diet in winter.

In order to bring the collected food to the camp and to store it, people used, for example, hollowed out pumpkins and the hides and skins of hunted animals. But they also started from grass and rushes baskets to other containers and braiding and weaving . These techniques were also useful in taking possession of land outside the tropics when protective and warm clothing was needed.

Example: The fertile crescent

In the area of ​​the so-called “ fertile crescent ” (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Mesopotamia) the wandering groups of people found themselves at the end of the Ice Age - in the Natufian culture between 12000 and 9500 BC. BC - an open forest landscape with oaks, pistachios and almond trees . They collected pistachios and almonds, but also the wild grain that is native to the region, such as various wild wheat varieties, such as wild einkorn (Triticum boeoticum) and wild emmer (Triticum dicoccoides) , as well as wild barley and wild rye species . Legumes such as peas , flat peas , beans and lentils were also found there . Aurochs , deer and wild boar lived in the alluvial forests of the valleys, while savannah-like park landscapes with gazelles and wild asses emerged on the edge of the mountains and deserts . These “almost paradisiacal conditions” favored the transition to sedentarism, agriculture and livestock farming, the fundamental turning point in prehistory from the Pleistocene to the Holocene (Post Ice Age).

“The nature of the hunter” in the distorting mirror of civilizations

Romantic images use the cliché of the paradisiacal life of the so-called "primitive peoples" ("A smoky day at the Sugar Bowl", Edward Curtis , 1923)

During the colonial period , many researchers started from an ever growing, expanding and progressive cultural development whose highest level is in the West saw (→ see culture stage theory ). Up until the 1940s, some scientists believed that in the simplest of poaching societies they recognized the “primordial culture” of humanity as the starting point for this development. Today the idea of socio-cultural evolution is only very cautiously expressed. Mark Münzel wrote about this with a view to the modern ethnological knowledge: "If there is a law at all [note: of cultural development], then at most this: Low technical level is compensated for by higher intellectual development." Nevertheless, the term "low cultural level" is used in The connection with hunters and gatherers is still widely used even in literature.

“Non-civilized” ethnic groups without permanent residence, without writing, without machines and without state order - often called “ primitive peoples ” - undoubtedly form the “greatest possible alien ” in contrast to modern global culture. It is assumed that humans have spent at least 90% of their previous development history as hunters and gatherers. The exotic foreign becomes known relatives and this contradicting constellation leads to ambivalent prejudices and projections : On the one hand there is the image of the noble savage - an unspoiled, ethically and ecologically acting, peace-loving and paradisiacally living do-gooder - and on the other hand the image of the primitive - of an uncivilized, abrupt or uninhibited instinctual acting, warlike and miserable barbarian . These two extreme positions are particularly evident in the areas of “War and Peace”, “Environment and Ecology” and “Everyday Life and Life Expectancy”. In the following, these three areas will be considered in more detail in the interests of more objective opinion-forming.

“War and Peace” in pre-state societies

Is hunting related to the beginning of the war? (Australian hunters 1901)

The American anthropologist Sherwood L. Washburn assumed around 1960 that human destructiveness arose with the beginning of hunting. The “predatory character” of the hunter and the “lust for killing” have always been passed on without hindrance through appropriate education and training, and this has resulted in a tendency towards sadism (mainly in men) over the centuries of hunting history .

In research ( sociology of conflict , conflict research ), however, there have been controversial views since Washburn. The reason for this is not infrequently due to the different definitions of “ war ”: If this is understood to mean only organized, interstate conflicts, violent clashes between local groups are not included.

One can assume that already Stone Age groups of hunters competed with other groups for resources in certain situations and also used violence. On the other hand, the extremely thin settlement of habitats used for hunting in all probability gave hardly any opportunity for war. Among other things, this consideration led to the popular theory that warfare began with the Neolithic Revolution (larger sedentary population, denser settlement, dispute over territories).

For recent indigenous local groups , many forms of armed conflict such as blood revenge , manslaughter and feuds , in which each aggressor acted out of personal motives, have been documented. Organized wars of conquest with manipulated , trained and equipped warriors, which were ordered by a ruling institution without the participation of those involved, were, according to some authors (such as Sue Mansfield and Alexander Lesser), unknown.

Even before the Neolithic , archeology has enough finds as evidence of deaths due to acts of violence. The behavioral researcher Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt accordingly criticizes the widespread thesis that wars only began with the invention of agriculture and considers the idea of ​​peaceful hunters and gatherers to be an idealizing myth .

Some authors have tried to determine the probabilities of death from warlike events for different epochs and cultures. The calculations come to a probability of 9 to 15 percent for groups of predators of falling victim to an armed conflict. According to Steven Pinker , the probability in the 20th century is less than one percent worldwide. However, critics consider such calculations to be highly speculative, since the underlying values ​​are already extremely uncertain: Archaeological finds only represent a tiny section of reality and can be interpreted in different ways; ethnographic records are mostly based on estimates, and even the death tolls in recent wars are based on rough estimates. In addition, the historical armed conflicts in which groups of hunters were involved are attributed by some ethnologists to different influences from the encounter with the imperialist colonial powers.

The American political scientist Quincy Wright examined records of 653 different races regarding war and peace in the 1960s and came to a completely different conclusion: “The gatherers, primitive hunters and farmers are the least bellicose. The more advanced hunters and farmers are more bellicose, and the highest standing arable farmers and shepherds are the most bellicose of all. "

The Mbuti Pygmies expected Erich Fromm to the peace-loving, "life-companies"
The New Zealand Māori , formerly a warlike people of hunters, fishermen and field farmers: according to Fromm a "non-destructive-aggressive society"
According to Fromm, the Haida from Canada used to belong to the “destructive societies” among which violence in any form was normal

The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm (who himself examined 30 recent pre-industrial cultures with different ways of life) drew the conclusion that the “lust for war” had increased with the development of civilization: the more different things a person produces and possesses, the greater are greed and envy , which he understood as mandatory prerequisites for acts of war. In his study, Fromm found that at least destructive behavior (destructive rage, cruelty, greed for murder, etc.) was far more absent or less pronounced in egalitarian (unspecialized) hunters and gatherers than in civilized societies. In his opinion, the causes are the socio-cultural conditions, which he divided into three groups:

  • "Life-affirming societies" (strong sense of community, great social equality, friendly parenting, tolerant sexual morality, low tendency to aggression)
  • "Non-destructive-aggressive societies" (rank and rivalry, status and success, goal-oriented child rearing, regulated manners, tendency to aggression)
  • "Destructive societies" (strict hierarchies, egoism, envy and mistrust, hostility, ideological child-rearing, frequent aggressions with destructive rage and cruelty)

Nevertheless, he found socially tolerated, aggressive behavior among hunting peoples as well as non-violence ; but also the lust for destruction and cruelty among the specialized hunters of the North American Pacific coast and, on the other hand, very harmonious and peaceful ways of life among non-hunters such as the Toda in South India - who practice buffalo and agriculture - or the Zuñi in New Mexico - who traditionally live from irrigated agriculture and sheep breeding have a complex social structure. The mode of subsistence is an important basis for social behavior, but ultimately what is decisive is the respective value system on which the culture is based.

Even very traditional hunting peoples know personal property, even if only to a small extent. Since there is hardly any privacy and no profitable “market” for stolen property, envy can hardly be assumed to be the cause of violence. Rather, most of the disputes there revolve around the abduction of women and the “ good reputation ” of the group members. Often the cause is suspected that someone may have used black magic or violated moral norms. This can easily lead to bloody conflicts. In many cultures the respective shamans were important conflict solvers, although this is often not comparable with the modern legal conception.

Like Fromm, the study by Douglas P. Fry and Patrik Söderberg (2013) differentiates socio-economically between simple (unspecialized descent groups) and complex (specialized ranking societies ) hunters and gatherers as well as between fatal conflicts among groups and acts of violence within groups. Fatal feuds are generally much rarer with the simple groups of hunters than with any other culture; Homicides, on the other hand, have high rates. Feuds are already more common among the complex forager cultures. Only a small minority of hunter-gatherers (of the pre-colonial era) waged deadly wars.

It is evident that the conflicts of interest and the methods of preventing violent confrontation in predatory cultures differ significantly from other societies. The anthropologist Marvin Harris cites three main reasons for this:

  • the small size of the horde and village societies in which everyone knows each other,
  • kinship relationships as a central factor in social structures ( reciprocity , shared values and interests) and
  • the widespread lack of inequalities in access to (group-owned) technology and natural resources.

Harris also notes that it was much easier for nomadic groups in very large territories than for settled ones to avoid a conflict or, in the event of war, to flee.

"Environment and Ecology"

Hunters of extreme habitats in particular require highly specialized knowledge and skills
The permanent engagement with the direct environment sharpens the senses of the "ecosystem people" for connections
Hunger and zeal for hunting are human motivations that have always vied with reason and a spiritual bond with nature

Since hunters and gatherers only use natural resources selectively and because the population density of largely isolated ethnic groups is extremely low, their forms of use were comparatively environmentally friendly and sustainable. (see also: Optimal foraging ). Their influence on the natural balance still does not extend beyond one or a few ecosystems (see also: "Ecosystem" versus "Biosphere people" ). Their traditional knowledge is primarily characterized by knowledge of the relationships between the nature of their habitat.

In addition, many hunter cultures around the world - especially in areas with a low game density - had complex, traditional norms, religiously based rites , myths , taboos and values , which, among other things, were supposed to ensure careful use of the environment. However, this “ritualized ethic ” has always been opposed to “human nature”: Hunger, inventiveness or zeal can be powerful motivators. This is also proven by the knowledge about the early hunting peoples, because there is solid evidence for both sustainable and plundering use of the environment. However, the extent of the environmental destruction at that time was far less extensive because of the small number of people and above all because of the limited technical possibilities. Modern machines, the chemical industry, the use of crude oil and modern wars mean that the earth is exposed to incomparably more massive human influences.

However, the hunter-gatherer societies did not necessarily live in complete "harmony with nature". During the spread of Homo sapiens across the earth, colonization of unknown, isolated - and therefore particularly sensitive - ecosystems (such as islands) led to the extermination of entire animal populations. Well-known examples are the original large mammals on Cyprus (around 9500 BC) and the giant flightless bird Moa in New Zealand (13th / 14th centuries), which were completely destroyed when the hunters arrived.

According to the controversial overkill hypothesis , humans are also responsible for the dramatic Quaternary changes in the flora and fauna of the continents of Australia and both of the Americas, seen from a distance , as they occurred directly in the centuries to millennia after the first human settlement. It is assumed that, for example, hunting by setting fires had a massive impact on the ecosystems encountered. Thus, among others, Procoptodons and marsupial lions gradually disappeared from Australia, as well as mammoths and primitive horses (such as the Hippidion ) on the American double continent. Other authors see climatic changes as the main cause. At least human involvement through overhunting can hardly be dismissed out of hand.

Only over time did the hunter cultures develop the above-mentioned - fragile and latently unstable - traditions that enabled them to use their resources in a more sustainable manner. They were also always tempted to react to population stress, which was exacerbated by climatic deterioration, by overexploiting natural resources.

Even today's hunters and gatherers (who are not or only slightly influenced by the modern way of life) mostly pay attention to the integrity of their environment, as they are directly dependent on it. However, as soon as other sources of livelihood emerge, the traditional sustainability strategy will not be maintained in every case , as the positive reactions of some hunting communities to cash receipts from logging or mining activities show.

"Everyday life and life expectancy"

Happiness and prosperity are perceived very differently and are difficult to measure (Shuar children from Ecuador)

Numerous studies show that even hunters and gatherers in barren drying rooms generally suffered no shortage and had significantly more free time on average than modern workers. The American anthropologist Marshall Sahlins therefore called the historical hunter cultures the "original affluent society". Older studies relate only to the activities of hunting and gathering (for the San a little more than 2 hours a day, shared between all members of society) and do not take into account the time spent on food preparation, childcare and consumer goods manufacture. If this is taken into account, the times are around 6 hours a day for the San to a maximum of 7 hours for the Aborigines. By comparison, the average American worker in the 1980s spent at least 11 hours a day on gainful employment and the other aforementioned activities. But even these differentiated values ​​are doubted by some authors:

  • Sahlins already speculated that the times for hunters and gatherers of more productive areas would have to be below the values ​​determined for desert hunters, but again higher for subarctic and arctic hunters according to Klaus E. Müller ,
  • Steven A. LeBlanc criticizes the inadequate methods of the older studies (questioning instead of accompaniment) and speculates that the time required by the San must have been higher in the past , as they have been using more efficient iron tools and not self-made cotton clothing as well as drilled water holes by neighboring shepherds for decades and save time.
  • Christian Lauk also points out that the values ​​are averaged over all members of a society, although in no society all people are involved in the acquisition of food (it is probably hardly possible to take into account the time of modern retirement in a comparable way).

The average age of death of adults ( without taking child mortality into account) in 2007 for hunters and gatherers was between 47 and 58 years. For comparison, a modern affluent society: Germans who were 20 years old between 2009 and 2011 will live to be around 80 years old on average according to the mortality table ; and a developing country: Botswana's 20-year-old residents will only live to be 54.

Today's hunter-gatherer races

The San or "Bushmen" probably lived in more fertile areas earlier than farmers
The Ainu of Japan have turned the former subsistence fishing into a commercial economy
Aka mother with children from the Republic of the Congo
The traditional hunt of the Aborigines was extinct for decades and is experienced today - e.g. Sometimes in a modernized form - a comeback for some groups
The Cree are among the peoples of Canada, some of whom live at least partially from hunting and fishing
The Sámi of Northern Europe lived from hunting until the 17th century before they switched to reindeer herding

With some of these tribes or peoples , it should be noted that they were originally not necessarily hunters and gatherers, but were instead driven or pushed into areas where, due to the climatic conditions (drought or cold), no soil cultivation is possible. A possible example of this are the San in southern Africa (formerly known as "Bushmen"). Until recently, some Aborigines lived in Australia as hunters and gatherers and, like the San, achieved an astonishing degree of adaptation to extremely inhospitable desert areas. The last group of hunters and gatherers in Australia were the Pintupi Nine , who first came into contact with Western culture in 1984.

Hunting and gathering, like shepherd nomadism , requires large, abandoned and natural areas. The expansion of industrial societies - in connection with their capitalist notions of property for land - into increasingly remote areas therefore makes this form of economy increasingly difficult. Even groups from the most remote regions are now at least temporarily connected to the economy in some way , for example through the sale of handicrafts, barter deals, wages for services (tracking, herding animals, guiding tourists, etc.) or government money transfers. The vast majority of today's hunters and gatherers make a living from a variety of sources. This also includes barter, occasionally practiced as a silent trade , with arable neighbors. The traditional foraging is often a buffer strategy for times of need, which is sometimes more and sometimes less important. (see also: Bushmeat ) With some already assimilated ethnic groups (such as Siberian peoples or Aborigines) a retraditionalization of the hunting and gathering economy can be observed today . (see also: Bush Food )

How many wild and harvesting ethnic groups still exist today is controversial. This is mainly due to the different definitions of the criteria used to assign groups to these in the various studies. If, for example, it is assumed that all of the food has to be hunted and collected without exception, then there are no longer any hunters or hunters. The different definitions and views in this regard crystallize their differences primarily in their answers to criteria questions such as the following:

  • What is the minimum amount of food required?
  • Can modern technology be used?
  • Does the group only have to operate subsistence farming?
  • Is it only the acquisition of food that is decisive or are the traditional socio-cultural and ideological conditions of the ethnic group more decisive?

These are four examples of questions that need to be clarified before data collection; and they are currently answered very differently depending on the country and author. A globally uniform definition - which would also be legally important in order to safeguard the rights of these people - does not yet exist.

The following figures from the book "Hunters and Gatherers in the Modern World" from the year 2000 come from censuses, human rights groups, scientific authors in various fields or from the local communities themselves. They are therefore only to be understood as rough guidelines. The ethnic groups listed were compared with the information from three other current books and substantiated.

Hunting and gathering play an important role for around 3.8 million people from local groups of the following ethnic groups:


a total of 2,836,000 people


a total of 450,000 people

Australia and Oceania

300,000 people in total

North America (excluding Central America)

a total of 180,000 people

Middle and South America

a total of 3,500 people


In the temperate climates of Europe, poaching ended with the beginning of the Neolithic in the respective regions. It lasted longest in Scandinavia (→ Sami 17th century) and Russia (→ Komi 20th century, Nenets 17th / 18th century) , where it was largely replaced by reindeer herding.

Arctic and sub-arctic regions

The way of life of hunting and gathering persisted for a particularly long time in areas near the Pole . Examples are the Siberian peoples of the Aleutians , the Itelmenen , the Evens (up to the 17th century), the Eskimos from the Chukchi Peninsula via Alaska to Greenland and the Athabaskan and Algonquian Indian tribes of Alaska and Canada. Some of these hunter peoples bred dogs for hunting and transportation ( dog sledding ).

In tundra and taiga agriculture is not possible, so that the original inhabitants were pure hunters and gatherers. In Eurasia around 1000 B.C. From the reindeer hunt, the reindeer pasturage , for example among the Koryaks , Chukchi , Nenets and Sami . Livestock farming was added relatively late, including horses and other animals.

Very few people of the Nordic peoples live exclusively from hunting and gathering. For many, however, it represents an important sideline, both for self-sufficiency and for selling furs and other products.

Transition to arable farming or cattle breeding from around 10,000 BC. Chr.

According to current knowledge, the beginnings of systematic farming and settling down are in the Golden Triangle in Upper Mesopotamia. In the vicinity of the Karacadağ mountain there , the origin of our cultural grain (einkorn) was located through genetic studies. Around 10,000 BC A period of fundamental upheaval began in this area, during which the monumental temple complex Göbekli Tepe also had an important central function. The large temple complex, which was only discovered and excavated in the 1990s, with many pillars and T-pillars weighing tons was created in the transition period to agriculture and cattle breeding and was maintained for over a millennium. The discovery of Göbekli Tepe has radically changed the image of the semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers of this time period: “[...] until now it was not even possible to imagine that humans were around 9,000 BC. Chr. Were already able to chisel stones weighing tons, to transport them and to arrange them into large ensembles ”(Parzinger 2014). The early agriculture there required a collective organization of protective measures against the gazelles and wild asses living there. An original connection is assumed between the organization of large festivals, the provision of large amounts of vegetable and animal food and the emergence of agriculture. Large piles of animal bones were found in Göbekli Tepe, and huge numbers of animals must have been eaten. What is striking about the many animal sculptures found there is the dominance of threatening species in aggressive posture. In the much older cave paintings of the Magdalenian , for example in the famous caves of Lascaux and Altamira , in which, according to Parzinger, aggressive depictions of animals are still completely absent: “What is interesting is the fact that the animals are mostly depicted in quiet positions, sometimes also in motion but never in an aggressive posture. ”The transition to sedentarism was perhaps the most drastic change in human history; it has undoubtedly radically changed the relationship between man and nature.

In southern and central Europe the transition to sedentary life , to agriculture and livestock farming, or to pastoral nomadism took place between 7500 and 4000 BC. And then also entered Eastern Europe (compare Neolithic Revolution , Neolithization ). In parts of Central America today it is generally used from the period 5100 to 4200 BC. Started out.

Some communities stayed in the same, relatively small area for several years. They did not change their economic methods , but - depending on the climate - were displaced by farmers or ranchers, for example by Khoisan peoples in the Kalahari desert, who possibly switched back and forth between the hunter-hunting and ranching economy several times.

In the opinion of some anthropologists and evolutionary biologists, the transition from the community of hunters and gatherers to agricultural societies is reflected in the myths about the origin of mankind ( anthropogonies ), especially in the ancient oriental ideas of the expulsion of people from a primeval garden or paradise and painful compulsion for regular work (compare 1. Book of Mose ). Obtaining a certain amount of calories by growing grain required far more man-hours than gathering or hunting, and initially led to a lack of protein-rich food. The domestication of cattle also increased the transmission of diseases from animals to humans. The forced transition to sedentariness in the Fertile Crescent can possibly be explained by overpopulation, excessive hunting and the subsequent extermination of the post-glacial big game fauna. With the emergence of larger and more complex societies with individual property rights to equipment, cattle, fields and crop yields, the development of the idea of ​​a deity is connected, who increasingly enforces social norms through the threat of punishment. According to the supernatural punishment hypothesis , punishing gods are not to be observed in a generalized form in hunters and gatherers. They therefore do not represent a human universality, but can be regarded as a product of cultural evolution.

Research history

The history of research into hunter and gatherer cultures is linked to the emergence of British social anthropology , US cultural anthropology (especially Franz Boas ) and German ethnology . Since the 1960s, it has been closely related to social development and even to current political developments, for example in South Africa: There, the South African Republic armed members of the San people in the fight against the South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) and functionalized archaeological finds as evidence of the existence of different tribal cultures and as arguments for the formation of their own homelands (“homelands”). Many research results had and therefore have a projective character or are not politically neutral.

Meetings of the International Conference
on Hunting and Gathering Society (CHAGS)
Surname year place
Man the Hunter 1966 University of Chicago
CHAGS 1 1978 Maison des Sciences de l'Homme , Paris
CHAGS 2 1980 University of Laval , Université du Québec
CHAGS 3 1983 bad Homburg
CHAGS 4 1986 London School of Economics
CHAGS 5 1988 Northern Territory University , Darwin
CHAGS 6 1990 University of Alaska Fairbanks
CHAGS 7 1993 Russian Academy of Sciences
CHAGS 8 1998 National Museum of Ethnology , Osaka
CHAGS 9 2003 The University of Edinburgh
CHAGS 10 2013 University of Liverpool
CHAGS 11 2015 University of Vienna
CHAGS 12 2018 Universiti Sains Malaysia
CHAGS 13 2022 University College Dublin

Systematic comparative research into these cultures began in the 1960s. Until then, hunter-gatherers were centuries as a "primitive", depending on the approach in the heavenly or raw, uncivilized-nonhistotical original state located primitives been considered, the assessment varied "just above apes" and between "successfully primitive communism". A prelude was the Man the Hunter conference in Chicago in 1966 , the results of which were published in a conference proceedings by Richard Lee and Irven DeVore . The productive cooperation of North American archaeologists and anthropologists led to a leap in knowledge that overcame the culturally relativistic approach of the American Boas School and Margaret Meads , which was oriented towards individual cultures , and produced an ecological-functionalist-comparative approach that created space for an understanding of evolutionary processes and a Insight into alternative forms of adaptation and lifestyles.

With the upgrading of these cultures and the insight into their optimal adaptation to changing ecological conditions, the insight into the limitations of technical civilization and its weapons (the Vietnam War played a role here), its environmental problems and the decay of its cities (in view of the ghetto riots in the USA). In contrast to Richard Lee's emphasis on the productive activity of gathering and the role of women as the source of the relative food surplus of the hunter-gatherer societies, Washburn and Lancaster, as well as Laughlin, stressed the role of male hunters and male dominance and aggression in the diet and survival of the tribe especially among the savannah peoples.

The 1978 Paris conference on the same subject was dominated by European anthropologists. Under Marxist influence, the discussion came to a head, among other things, on the question of whether the hordes and tribal societies of hunters and gatherers belong to the category of the ( egalitarian , non-possessory) primitive society and whether or not the needs economy is a mode of production in the Marxian sense. Attempts to differentiate between primordial-egalitarian societies and hierarchically stratified societies that were only influenced by the outside in modern times , however, failed. The primordial society theory obviously does not give access to an understanding of social change and social development towards more hierarchy and statehood. The question therefore arose as to the external or internal causes of social inequality in an originally egalitarian, above all gender-equitable society. Eleanor Leacock saw the main causes in the ability to organize marriage alliances - generally a task for women - as well as to control rituals and initiation rites (and thereby labor), and criticized the myth of biologically based male dominance. This only came about through the external exchange with European settlers and traders.

Further conferences followed in 1980 in Québec, Canada and in 1983 in Bad Homburg, Germany . There, external (environmental and political) causes of social change towards peasant societies and contacts between hunter and gatherer peoples on the one hand and farmers on the other were emphasized. At this conference, which was mainly attended by North American and South African anthropologists and ethnologists , it became clear that some South African peoples and tribes on the Indonesian island of Borneo had switched back and forth between the hunter-gatherer existence and a peasant way of life, some centuries old External contacts played a role.

At a further conference in London in 1986 it became clear that the financial and ideological limitations of social science field research had meanwhile led to an increase in purely theoretical discussions, split up into many approaches from different schools, among scholars mainly from the First World (the industrialized countries ). Attempts were made to draw a dividing line between long-term, mostly ecologically conditioned, evolutionary adaptation processes and short to medium-term social development paths ( trajectories ) - but where exactly it should run remained open.

In 1978, Richard Lee, resuming the discussions in Paris, tried to tie in with the old concepts of Lewis Henry Morgan and Friedrich Engels (and those of the Rochester School) in order to give the hunter-gatherer peoples their identity, history and inner logic stolen from colonialism . In the same context, Tim Ingold reflected on the difference between the terms subsistence mode and mode of production , between (animal, purely "extractive") foraging and (human) hunting and gathering. A human characteristic is not (only) the sharing of food - in Marxian terminology a distribution phenomenon - but its collective production.

In the period that followed, the frequency of CHAGS (Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies) increased. The fifth conference took place in 1988 in Darwin , Australia , the sixth in 1990 in Fairbanks , Alaska . This conference, organized by Linda Ellanna , was attended by speakers from indigenous peoples as well as a large number of Soviet anthropologists and archaeologists. CHAGS VII met in 1993 in Moscow under the direction of Valery Tischkow and Viktor Schnirelman, CHAGS VIII under the direction of Shuzo Koyama and Jiro Tanaka in Osaka .

Further conferences were CHAGS 9 in Edinburgh 2003 and CHAGS 10 in Liverpool 2013 with a focus on violence and war among hunters and gatherers. The CHAGS 11 took place in September 2015 in Vienna, the CHAGS 12 then in 2018 in Penang , Malaysia. CHAGS 13 is scheduled for June 27 to July 1, 2022 at the School of Archeology at University College Dublin .

See also


  • Almut Bick: The Stone Age. 2nd, corrected and updated edition. Theiss, Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-8062-2589-1 , pp. 64–67: Chapter "Faster, further, more efficient" - the development of hunting weapons in the Paleolithic.
  • Gerhard Böck: Stimulants among hunters: drug use among hunters and gatherers. Self publication . Grin, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-656-09500-2 (doctoral thesis 1989 Philipps-Universität Marburg; reading sample in the Google book search).
  • Vicki Cummings, Peter Jordan, Marek Zvelebil (Eds.): The Oxford Handbook of the Archeology and Anthropology of Hunter-gatherers. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2014, ISBN 978-0-19-955122-4 (English; excerpt in Google book search).
  • Richard Barry Lee, Richard Heywood Daly (Eds.): The Cambridge encyclopedia of hunters and gatherers. 4th edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge u. a. 2010, ISBN 978-0-521-60919-7 . (Original 1999: excerpt from Google book search).
  • Monika Oberhuber: Gender Equality Societies. Or: "Same same but different". Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Vienna 2009 ( diploma thesis on hunter-gatherer societies; online at, with PDF download).
  • Georgia A. Rakelmann: Adaptation Artists: The Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. In: Peter E. Stüben, Valentin Thurn (ed.): Desert earth: the fight against thirst, drought and desertification. Focus, Giessen 1991, ISBN 3-88349-394-5 , pp. 31-42 ( online at
  • Marshall Sahlins : Notes on the Original Affluent Society. In: Richard Barry Lee, Irven DeVore (Eds.): Man the Hunter. The First Intensive Survey of a Single, Crucial Stage of Human Development - Man's Once Universal Way of Life. Aldine, Chicago 1968, ISBN 0-202-33032-X , pp. 85–89 (English; conference proceedings; trend-setting considerations on the “ affluent society ” among hunters and gatherers / hunters; 2nd edition from 2009 as full text in the Google book search ).
  • Trevor Watkins: The natural space in Anatolia, an interplay of climate, environment and resources. In: Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe: The oldest monuments of mankind. Theiss, Stuttgart 2007, p. 37 ff.
  • Sibylle von Reden: The island of Aphrodite. Cyprus past and present. DuMont Schauberg, Cologne 1969. (Reprint: Cyprus. 2nd edition. Cologne 1974, ISBN 3-7701-0797-7 .)
  • Veronica Tatton-Brown: Cyprus BC, 7000 years of history. British Museum, London 1979.


Web links


  1. Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, Shipwrecks: Report by Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca about what happened in the West Indies with the fleet of Governor Panfilo de Narvaez , 1542, eyewitness account of the Florida campaign and its multi-year migration to Mexico, many editions to this day. P. 104f.
  2. Traditional Life: Social Organization. ( Memento of March 22, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) In: 2007, accessed on April 17, 2020 (English): According to Warner, 28% of the adult men of the Murngin / Yolngu died in violent conflicts → Conversion to the entire group: Assumed ø 45 people per horde with an assumed "normal distribution" of the sexes of 100 women to 105 men = 23 men per horde. Assuming a linear age pyramid of around 65% over the age of 18 = 15 adult men. 28% of them are 4 people; in relation to the group as a whole, this is around 9%.
  3. The addition of the table on p. 5 in the book by "Schweitzer, Biesele, Hitchcock" resulted in an incorrect total, because Adivasi and Indians are already included in the total for South Asia and North America. In addition, the number of Eskimos (“Circumpolar Region”) was weighted according to population proportions and divided between Asia and North America.
  4. According to Lee et al. Daly, the Ainu have completely gone over to the commercial economy.
  5. According to Lee et al. Daly traditionally extinguished, however z. T. Retraditionalization of the hunting and gathering economy.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b c d Karl-Heinz Kohl : Ethnology - the science of the culturally foreign: An introduction. 3rd, revised edition. CH Beck, Munich 2102, ISBN 978-3-406-46835-3 , pp. 80-81.
  2. ^ A b c d Mark Münzel: Wildbeuter In: Bernhard Streck (Ed.): Dictionary of Ethnology. 2nd and extended edition. Peter Hammer Verlag, Wuppertal 2000, ISBN 3-87294-857-1 , pp. 295-299.
  3. a b c d e f g Klaus E. Müller: The better and the worse half. Ethnology of the gender conflict. Campus, Frankfurt am Main / New York 1984, ISBN 3-593-33360-0 , pp. 28-29, 35-36.
  4. a b Rolf Peter Sieferle: Lessons from the past. In: World in Transition: Social Contract for a Great Transformation. External expertise for the WBGU main report, Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Government on Global Change, St. Gallen / Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-936191-36-3 , pp. 1–2.
  5. Elisabeth Noll: Ethno-archaeological studies on mussel heaps. In: Tübingen writings on prehistoric and early historical archeology. No. 7, Waxmann Verlag, Münster 2002, ISBN 3-8309-1210-2 , pp. 57-62.
  6. ^ Alan Lomax and Conrad M. Arensberg: A Worldwide Evolutionary Classification of Cultures by Subsistence Systems. In: Current Anthropology 18.4 (1977) 659-708.
  7. Hans-Peter Müller: Discussion of the ATLAS map subsistence. ( Memento of June 9, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Chapter: 4. Non-agrarian subsistence types. In: Zurich / Bern, accessed on April 17, 2020.
  8. ^ Bernd Andreae: Agriculturalography. Structural zones and types of farms in world agriculture. de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1977, ISBN 978-3-11-008559-4 , pp. 69 ff. and 295-296.
  9. Bernd Andreae: The epochal succession of agricultural forms of operation in steppes and dry savannas (= publications of the Society for Economic and Social Sciences of Agriculture, Volume 14). Landwirtschaftsverlag, Münster-Hiltrup 1977, pp. 349–352.
  10. For a discussion of the origin of the San way of life see later, p. (2004): The Expeditions of the Marshall Family: An Investigation into the Ethnological Research of the Nyae Nyae! Kung. Münster 2004, pp. 26–28.
  11. a b c d Peter P. Schweitzer, Megan Biesele, Robert K. Hitchcock (Eds.): Hunters and Gatherers in the Modern World: Conflict, Resistance, and Self-determination. Reprint, Berghahn Books, New York, Oxford 2006, ISBN 1-57181-102-8 , pp. 4–11, especially p. 5. (see note)
  12. Bernd Marquardt: Universal History of the State. Berlin 2009, p. 14.
  13. Georgia A. Rakelmann: Adaptation Artist: The Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. In: Peter E. Stüben, Valentin Thurn (ed.): Desert earth: the fight against thirst, drought and desertification. Focus, Giessen 1991, ISBN 3-88349-394-5 , pp. 31-42, here p. 31 ( online at ( Memento from September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive )).
  14. a b c d e f g Dieter Haller: Dtv-Atlas Ethnologie. 2nd, completely revised and corrected edition. dtv, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-423-03259-9 , pp. 103, 165-169.
  15. Cowlitz. In: Database for Indigenous Cultural Evolution (DICE), University of Missouri, accessed July 18, 2015.
  16. ^ Richard Fox: Professional primitives: Hunters and gatherers of nuclear south Asia. In: Man in India , 49th vol. (1969), pp. 139-160; Nurit H. Bird-David: Hunters-gatherers and other people: A re-examination. In: Tim Ingold, David Riches, James Woodburn (Eds.): Hunters and Gatherers. Volume 1: History, Evolution and Social Change. Berg, Oxford / Washington 1991, ISBN 0-85496-153-4 , pp. 17-30 (English, first published 1988).
  17. ^ A b c Steven L. Kuhn, Mary C. Stiner : What's a Mother to Do? The Division of Labor among Neanderthals and Modern Humans in Eurasia. In: Current Anthropology. Volume 47, No. 6, December 2006, pp. 953-980, pp. ?? (English; PDF file; 299 kB; 28 pages on
  18. ^ S. Washburn, C. Lancaster: The evolution of hunting. In: R. Lee, I. DeVore (Ed.) 1968; critical see also Robert W. Sussman : The Myth of Man the Hunter, Man the Killer and the Evolution of Human Morality. In: Zygon. Volume 34, No. 3, September 1999, pp. 453-471.
  19. Researcher: Neanderthals weak due to lack of division of labor. In:, Posted in: Anthropology December 5, 2006.
  20. James Woodburn: African hunter-gatherer social organization: is it best understood as a product of encapsulation? In: Tim Ingold, David Riches, James Woodburn (Eds.): Hunters and Gatherers. Volume 1: History, Evolution and Social Change. Berg, Oxford / Washington 1991, ISBN 0-85496-153-4 , pp. 31-72, here: p. 21 (English, first published in 1988).
  21. ^ Alan Barnard , James Woodburn: Introduction. In: Tim Ingold, David Riches, James Woodburn (Eds.): Hunters and Gatherers. Vol. 2: Property, Power and Ideology. Oxford 1988, ISBN 0-85496-735-4 , p. 10 ff.
  22. Maren Möhring, Erhard Schüttpelz, Martin Zillinger: Scarcity. transcript Verlag, 2011, p. 108.
  23. Werner Sombart : The order of economic life. ; Reprint of the 2nd edition from 1927 in Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg / Wiesbaden 2007, p. 21, ISBN 978-3-540-72255-7 ; Bernd Andreae: Global economic plants in competition: economic scope within ecological limits. A product-related crop geography. De Gruyter , Berlin 2016, p. 67, ISBN 978-3-11-083977-7 .
  24. a b c d Christian Lauk: Social-ecological characteristics of agricultural systems. A global overview and comparison. In: Social Ecology Working Paper 78. Institute of Social Ecology, Vienna 2005, ISSN  1726-3816 , pp. 37–38, additional tables from p. 95.
  25. Frank Robert Vivelo: Handbook of cultural anthropology: A basic introduction. dtv, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-423-04470-5 , pp. 74-75.
  26. Interview with Loren Cordain: The Paleolithic Diet and its Modern Implications
  27. Boyd Eaton: Evolution, Diet and Health
  28. Terre des hommes Germany: The knowledge of the San. Namibia: How cultures meet. (No longer available online.) Own website, 2009, archived from the original on August 30, 2011 ; accessed on September 2, 2014 .
  29. ^ Martin Hora et al .: Dehydration and persistence hunting in Homo erectus. In: Journal of Human Evolution. Volume 138, 2020, 102682, doi: 10.1016 / j.jhevol.2019.102682 .
  30. Sibylle Kästner: Hunting foragers and foraging hunters: How Australian Aboriginal women capture animals. Lit, Münster 2012, ISBN 978-3-643-10903-3 . P. 343.
  31. H. Thieme: Old Palaeolithic wooden tools from Schöningen, district of Helmstedt. In: Germania. Volume 77, 1999, pp. 451-487.
  32. ^ Daniela Holst: Hazelnut economy of early Holocene hunteregatherers: a case study from Mesolithic Duvensee, northern Germany. In: Journal of Archaeological Science. Volume 37, 2010, pp. 2871-2880.
  33. About 116 hits in the Google Books search for: "Hunters and Gatherers" "Culture Level" (Only results for the 21st century). In:, accessed on July 15, 2015.
  34. Richard B. Lee, Richard Daly (Eds.): Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1999, ISBN 978-0-521-60919-7 (English; side view [cover text] in the Google book search).
  35. Marco Paukovitsch, Christoph Huber, Michael Narat: Interests and motives for choosing a soldier career. Team diploma thesis, pdf version Theresianische Militärakademie , Wiener Neustadt 2008, pp. 216–221.
  36. Stavros Mentzos: The war and its psychosocial functions. 2nd Edition. - New version, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2002, ISBN 3-525-01469-4 , pp. 42–45.
  37. a b Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Love and Hate. On the natural history of elementary behavior. Piper, Munich 1970., p. 422, quoted from : Stavros Mentzos: The war and its psychosocial functions. 2nd Edition. - New version, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2002, pp. 42–44.
  38. Alexander Lesser: War and State quoted from Fried, Harris, Murphy (eds.): Der Krieg , S. Fischer, Frankfurt 1971, p. 115 -and- Sue Mansfield: The gestalts of war: An inquiry into its origins and meanings as a social institution. 1st edition, Dial Press, New York 1982, no page number, both quoted from : Stavros Mentzos: The war and its psychosocial functions. 2nd Edition. - New version, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2002, p. 43.
  39. a b Violence today and yesterday. Burning cats is no longer possible. Article about Steven Pinker in from November 2, 2011.
  40. a b Mark W. Allen: The Short Chronology of War with reference to Douglas P. Fry, Patrik Söderberg, R. Brian Ferguson, Jonathan Haas and David Dye in: Mark W. Allen, Terry L. Jones: Violence and Warfare Among Hunter gatherers. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek (USA, CA) 2014, ISBN 978-1-61132-939-1 , pp. 19-20.
  41. Quincy Wright: A Study of War. 2nd ed., Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago 1965, without a page number, quoted from Erich Fromm: Anatomy of human destructiveness . Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1977, ISBN 3-499-17052-3 , p. 170.
  42. Erich Fromm: Anatomy of human destructiveness . From the American by Liselotte et al. Ernst Mickel, 86th - 100th thousand edition, Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1977, ISBN 3-499-17052-3 , pp. 170, 191ff, in particular 202-203.
  43. ^ Raymond Dasmann: Toward a Biosphere Consciousness. In: Donald Worster (Ed.): The Ends of the Earth: Perspectives on Modern Environmental History. 2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press, New York 1989, ISBN 0-521-34365-8 , pp. 277-288, especially 277-279.
  44. Anja von Hahn: Traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities between intellectual property rights and the public domain. Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Springer, Heidelberg 2004, p. 11.
  45. ^ Claude Lévi-Strauss: The wild thinking. 4th edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1981, ISBN 3-518-07614-0 , p. 270.
  46. a b Joachim Radkau: Nature and Power - A World History of the Environment. 2nd Edition. CH Beck, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-63493-2 , pp. 64-66.
  47. ^ Veronica Tatton-Brown: Cyprus BC, 7000 years of history.
  48. Jared Diamond: Rich and poor. The fates of human societies. Fischer-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2006, p. 54 ff.
  49. Peter P. Schweitzer, Megan Biesele, Robert K. Hitchcock (Eds.): Hunters and Gatherers in the Modern World: Conflict, Resistance, and Self-determination. Reprint, Berghahn Books, New York, Oxford 2006, ISBN 1-57181-102-8 , p. 9.
  50. ^ Marshall Sahlins : Notes on the Original Affluent Society. In: Richard Barry Lee, Irven DeVore (Eds.): Man the Hunter. The First Intensive Survey of a Single, Crucial Stage of Human Development - Man's Once Universal Way of Life. Aldine, Chicago 1968, ISBN 0-202-33032-X , pp. 85–89 (English; 2nd edition from 2009 as full text in the Google book search).
  51. Georg Kneer (Ed.): Sociology. Approaches to society. Part 2: Special sociologies Lit, Münster / Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-8258-2212-5 , pp. 128–130.
  52. Michael Gurven, Hillard Kaplan: Longevity Among Hunter-Gatherers: A Cross-Cultural Examination. In: Population and Development Review. Volume 33, No. 2, June 2007, pp. 321–365, here p. 349 (English; PDF file; 1.4 MB; 46 pages on
  53. 2009/11 mortality table. Federal Statistical Office, accessed on February 15, 2015.
  54. ( Memento from February 15, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) In: Human Life-Table Database. Max Planck Society 2015, accessed on April 17, 2020.
  55. Barry M. Pritzker: A Native American Encyclopedia. History, Culture and Peoples. Oxford University Press, New York 2000, ISBN 0-19-513877-5 . Information about the current hunters & Collectors of North America, pp. 482–555, chapter “The Subarctic” and “The Arctic”, there in the respective section “Contemporary Information” for the ethnic groups described.
  56. African Commission on Human and People's Rights - ACHPR and International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - IWGIA (ed.): Indigenous Peoples in Africa: The Forgotten Peoples ?: the African Commission's Work on Indigenous Peoples in Africa. IWGIA 2006, Copenhagen (DK) year, ISBN 87-91563-24-0 . Information about the current hunters & African collectors, pp. 9–13, 15–16.
  57. Sunna Kuoljok, John-Erling Utsi: The Sami - people of the sun and the wind. Ajtte - Svenskt Fjäll- och Samemuseum, Luleå 1995, ISBN 91-87636-10-7 . P. 28.
  58. ^ Maria Müller: Peoples of the Soviet Union: Culture and way of life. State Museum of Ethnology, Dresden 1977, p. 14.
  59. Natives of Kamchatkas. (No longer available online.) In: Tour Company Vision of Kamchatka, archived from the original on May 28, 2013 ; accessed on April 17, 2020 .
  60. ^ Samuel Bowles: Cultivation of Cereals by the First Farmers Was Not More Productive than Foraging. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Volume 108, 2011, pp. 4760-4765.
  61. Carel van Schaik, Kai Michel: The diary of humanity. Reinbek 2016, p. 100 ff.
  62. Barbara Bender, Brian Morris: Twenty Years of History, Evolution and Social Change in Gatherer-hunter-studies. In: Tim Ingold , David Riches, James Woodburn (Eds.): Hunters and Gatherers. Volume 1: History, Evolution and Social Change. Berg, Oxford / Washington 1991, ISBN 0-85496-153-4 , pp. 4-14, here: p. 4 (English, first published in 1988).
  63. Overview: CHAGS History. In: chags. . 2020, accessed on March 17, 2020 (English).
    International Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHAGS): Official website (English).
  64. chags 10: 10th Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies. University of Liverpool, June 2013, accessed March 17, 2020.
  65. a b CHAGS 11: Eleventh Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies. University of Vienna, 7. – 11. September 2015, accessed on March 17, 2020 (English; overview, program, archive).
  66. a b CHAGS 12: Twelfth International Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies. Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, April 23-27 July 2018, accessed on March 17, 2020.
  67. a b CHAGS 13: UCD School of Archeology to host CHAGS13. University College Dublin, June 27 to July 1, 2022, accessed March 17, 2020.
  68. This based on Lewis Henry Morgan and Friedrich Engels , who had the Iroquois as a model of society in mind. These Indians were not just hunters and gatherers, however, and even Morgan and Engels had not only included hunters and gatherers in their primitive society. Compare Barbara Bender, Brian Morris: Twenty Years of History, Evolution and Social Change in Gatherer-hunter-studies. In: Tim Ingold, David Riches, James Woodburn (Eds.): Hunters and Gatherers. Volume 1, Berg, Oxford / Washington 1991, p. 10 (English; first published 1988).
  69. Richard Lee, Irven DeVore (ed.): Man the Hunter. The First Intensive Survey of a Single, Crucial Stage of Human Development - Man's Once Universal Hunting Way of Life. Aldine, Chicago 1968 (English; proceedings).
  70. ^ S. Washburn, C. Lancaster: The Evolution of Hunting. In: Richard Lee, Irven DeVore (eds.): Man the Hunter. Aldine, Chicago 1968.
  71. ^ W. Laughlin: Hunting. An Integrated Biobavioral System and Its Evolutionary Importance. In: Richard Lee, Irven DeVore (eds.): Man the Hunter. Aldine, Chicago 1968.
  72. ^ Proceedings: Eleanor Burke Leacock, Richard B. Lee (Ed.): Politics and History in Band Societies. Cambridge University Press, New York 2009, ISBN 978-0-521-24063-5 (first published 1982).
  73. Eleanor Burke Leacock: The Myth of Male Dominance. Monthly Review Press, New York 1981.
  74. ^ Proceedings: Carmel Schrire (Ed.): Past and Presence in Hunter Gatherer Studies. Academic, Orlando 1984, ISBN 0-12-629180-2 .
  75. Barbara Bender, Brian Morris: Twenty Years of History, Evolution and Social Change in Gatherer-hunter-studies. In: Tim Ingold, David Riches, James Woodburn (Eds.): Hunters and Gatherers. Volume 1, Berg, Oxford / Washington 1991, pp. 17-30, here: p. 8 (English; first published 1988).
  76. ^ Proceedings: Tim Ingold, David Riches, James Woodburn (eds.): Hunters and Gatherers. Volume 1 & 2, Berg, Oxford / Washington 1988 (English).
  77. ^ Richard Lee: Reflections on Primitive Communism. In: Tim Ingold, David Riches, James Woodburn (Eds.): Hunters and Gatherers. Volume 1: History, Evolution and Social Change. Berg, Oxford / Washington 1991, ISBN 0-85496-153-4 , pp. 251-268.
  78. ^ Tim Ingold: Notes on the Foraging Mode of Production. In: Tim Ingold, David Riches, James Woodburn (Eds.): Hunters and Gatherers. Volume 1: History, Evolution and Social Change. Berg, Oxford / Washington 1991, ISBN 0-85496-153-4 , pp. 269-285.
  79. Proceedings: Megan Biesele, Robert Hitchcock, Peter Schweitzer (ed.): Hunter-Gatherers in the Modern World. Berghahn, Providence 1999.
  80. ^ Richard Lee: CHAGS History: Conferences on Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHAGS): A brief history. University of Vienna, 2014, accessed on November 18, 2018 (English).
  81. ^ Proceedings by Alan Barnard (Ed.): Hunter-Gatherers in History, Archeology, and Anthropology. Berg, London 2004, ISBN 1-4237-4720-8 (English).

A) Marvin Harris: Cultural Anthropology - A Textbook. From the American by Sylvia M. Schomburg-Scherff, Campus, Frankfurt / New York 1989, ISBN 3-593-33976-5 .

  1. Harris, pp. 437-438, 440-441.
  2. ^ Harris, p. 216.
  3. ^ Harris, p. 216 (with reference to en: Lloyd Warner )
  4. ^ Harris, p. 214.
  5. Harris, pp. 203-204, 205-207.
  6. Harris, p. 201.
  7. ^ Harris, p. 215.
  8. Harris, pp. 91-94.
  9. a b Harris, pp. 146–147 including footnote to DR Gross 1984.

B) Steven A. LeBlanc: Constant Battles. Why we fight. St. Martin's Press; Edition: First Edition July 23, 2013 (ebook), Chapter 5: Warfare among Foragers.

  1. LeBlanc, pp. 100-128.
  2. LeBlanc, p. 29 ff.
  3. LeBlanc, chapter. 2 (Was there ever an Eden?), Pp. 31–61, here p. 33 ff.
  4. LeBlanc, pp. 107-110, 119.
  5. LeBlanc, p. 119.
  6. LeBlanc, p. 110.

C) Walter Hirschberg (founder), Wolfgang Müller (editor): Dictionary of Ethnology. New edition, 2nd edition. Reimer, Berlin 2005.

  1. ^ Hirschberg, p. 412 (keyword: wild hunters ).
  2. ^ Hirschberg, p. 217 (keyword: war ).
  3. Hirschberg, p. 117. (Keyword: Extractive economic forms. )

D) Richard B. Lee, Richard Daly (Eds.): The Cambridge encyclopedia of hunters and gatherers. 4th edition. Cambridge University Press, New York 2010 (first printed in 1999), ISBN 978-0-521-60919-7 .

  1. Lee and Daly, p. 39.
  2. Lee and Daly, pp. 396-397, 419-422.
  3. Lee and Daly, Information on Current Hunters, et al. Collectors of the world: especially sections “Introduction”, “Economy” and “Current situation” for each ethnic group described.
  4. ^ Lee and Daly, p. 122.

E) Hermann Parzinger: The children of Prometheus. A history of mankind before the invention of writing , Munich 2014.

  1. Parzinger, pp. 113/114 (“paradisiacal states”).
  2. Parzinger, p. 138.
  3. Parzinger, p. 135.
  4. Parzinger, pp. 135ff.
  5. Parzinger, p. 133.
  6. Parzinger, p. 87.