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between living and dead.

FIGURE 7.1. THE HOMELAND OF THE NATUFIANS, THE FIRST FORAGERS TO SETTLE.

The Natufians built settlements on the east coast of the Mediterranean some 15,000 years ago. Later, they began to harvest wild stands of wheat and barley, laying the basis for others to develop domesticated forms of those cereals several thousand years after them.

Though it is impossible to reconstruct what was happening in the

FIGURE 7.1. THE HOMELAND OF THE NATUFIANS, THE FIRST FORAGERS TO SETTLE.

The Natufians built settlements on the east coast of the Mediterranean some 15,000 years ago. Later, they began to harvest wild stands of wheat and barley, laying the basis for others to develop domesticated forms of those cereals several thousand years after them.

Though it is impossible to reconstruct what was happening in the minds of late Upper Paleolithic people, it seems likely that settled life required developing mental concepts that were largely unfamiliar or alien to foragers. "The slow transformation of the foraging society into a Neolithic world of agriculturalists and herdsmen was associated with the creation of a new set of social and economic values centering around the house, the dead buried in and around the house, and the production and storage of staples," write Akkermans and Schwartz. It is hard not to admire the fortitude and intelligence that hunter-gatherers bring to the problems of survival. But the set of intellectual skills required for survival in the wild seem quite different from those needed to prosper in the jungle of urban life. Even if a hunter-gatherer were born with the innate intellectual ability of a Newton, Darwin or Einstein, it is difficult to see how he would profit from his gift or, in evolution's cold calculus, be able to turn it into the reproductive advantage of raising more children. But in an urban setting, gifts of calculation or abstract thought would translate much more easily into extra children, and the genes underlying such abilities would spread. The reason is that settled societies permit individuals to acquire extra property or status, both of which barely exist in hunter-gatherer societies and are in any case frowned on by their egalitarian ethos. Property, in turn, is a way of securing survival for oneself and one's family. For long periods of human history possession of excess property probably helped people raise more children, even though a direct relationship between wealth and progeny is not so evident in modern societies. Settlement, in other words, would have created a quite novel environment, to which people probably adapted by developing a different set of behaviors, including a range of intellectual skills for which there was no demand in hunter-gatherer societies. Property, value, number, weight, measurement, quantification, commodity, money, capital, economy—these concepts, however natural to the modern mind, would rarely have come into play in the life of mobile foragers. Could it be that the modern mind, the one capable of abstract thought, symbolic notation and writing, is indeed a quite recent development? Perhaps the process by which the modern mind emerged "has to be regarded as a more gradual one, operating in several phases and stages, and perhaps independently in different parts of the world," writes the

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