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The spread of the sedentary way of life began with the invention of agriculture

The permanent or at least long-term living in a place known as a settlement is referred to as sedentariness (from “sitting, [firmly] adhering”) . The degree of sedentariness depends on the availability of food resources. In this respect, it can be assumed that some prehistoric and early history ethnic groups who lived in the wild and who lived in biomass-rich areas lived at least temporarily well before the invention of agriculture and cattle breeding (see also archaeological finds ). As long as the prevailing way of life still contains a nomadic component, people also speak of semi-sedentariness , as is still common today in transhumance , ranching or other forms of mobile animal husbandry .

Today 99.9% of the world population is sedentary.

Origins and causes

Model of Çatalhöyük (7500-5700 BC) - one of the oldest permanent settlements in the world (Museum of Prehistory and Early History in Weimar)

According to the current state of archeology , fixed agriculture - which requires a significantly greater amount of work and in its original form involves greater risks compared to the appropriating economic form - was not the cause of sedentarism, but its consequence. It is well documented that in the Levant (Western Asia Minor) - where the Neolithic revolution ( cultural change as a result of the development of productive economies) took place for the first time in human history - there were permanent settlements many millennia before the Neolithic in the Epipalaeolithic . This is not uncommon, as more or less sedentary lifestyles are known even from recent specialized hunters and gatherers (for example made possible by fish , seafood or water rice ).

In the mild climate of the Alleröd interglacial period (approx. 12th to 10th millennium BC), a great diversity and density of species flourished in the coastal Levant , which enabled people to significantly reduce their tailing areas and to live longer in one place (Dies also applies to some habitats of Mesolithic Europe). Large populations of gazelles and fields with wild grain led to the first permanent settlements. As early as 11,000 BC It is proven that wild grain was planted in the 4th century BC, presumably to compensate for the overhunting of the gazelle herds in the vicinity of the settlements. In the middle of the 11th millennium, the drastic cold snap of the Younger Dryas period led to a rapid impoverishment of the Levant's biodiversity . People were now forced to bridge seasonal food shortages. Since people were probably no longer willing or able to give up the sedentary lifestyle - which u. a. was characterized by an accumulation of material possessions and the formation of social classes and completely new structures - grain cultivation had to be intensified in order to ensure food. The research results at the Kharaneh IV site in Jordan show that the beginning of village structures even before the verifiable beginning of arable farming . This development began an estimated 17,000 years ago. From the Levant, agriculture spread to Europe, Africa and Central Asia. Whether the ethnic groups acculturated there were already (semi) sedentary or whether they took over as part of the new way of life must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Also from the Orient starting spread with specialization in the animal husbandry of Pastoralism in Eurasia and Africa, especially in arid areas where no crops was possible to Subsistenzgrundlage offered, but none or only a partial sedentary allowed.

See also


Individual evidence

  1. Oliver Samson: Nomads - the first victims of climate change. In: Deutsche Welle . July 6, 2010, accessed May 17, 2020.
  2. ^ A b Marion Benz: The Neolithization in the Middle East: Theories, archaeological data and an ethnological model. 2nd, hardly changed edition. Freie Universität Berlin, 2008, ISBN 3-9804241-6-2 , pp. 7, 16, 19–20, 73 and 90–91 ( PDF: 9.6 MB, 274 pages on
  3. Hermann Parzinger: The children of Prometheus: A history of mankind before the invention of writing. Beck, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-406-66657-5 . Pp. 113-118.