An essay for my Anthropology class. It was fun, so I want to share.
|So there I was, leaning against the fig tree, looking down into the valley. Pulling my fedora down to keep the windblown sand out of my eyes, I made my way down the trail. Seeing the ruins in front of me, I stopped and looked for hidden traps. As I stared into the unknown, the professor tapped me on the shoulder and told me to get moving. We had been on this dig in Israel for a number of years trying to find how cultures lived 11,000 years ago.
Since being interested in Anthropology since childhood, watching the Indiana Jones flicks and taking some awesome classes in college, I decide to pursue this course and find out what Archeology was about. All of my perceptions of Archeology were dreams that came true. I found myself searching the globe to find cultures that once existed. Unlocking the Pictish language from the pre-Celtic days to digging up biblical artifacts in Iraq, I have been everywhere. This recent dig which brought me to Israel was about to open a new can of worms. The can was a village that was covered long ago (about 11,000 years) from wind-swept sands and the worms were the domestication of animals.
Finding the usual artifacts of pots and relics of jewelry, we discovered another find. This find exposed bones. Of course this will strike anyone’s fancy, but this was odd. The bones were found in a little dwelling outside of a home that we uncovered earlier in the week. “What on earth could this be?” The professor looked at them and decided to send them off to be analyzed at the University. As we uncovered more dwellings, we found more bones in smaller dwellings. I looked at the professor and said they are probably dog bones. He eyed me with suspicion as I told him it was simple. “If you look at the homes, you find small dwellings right outside of the building. It is a small hut and it has bones in it. What more could it be?”
With the analysis in hand, the professor looked at all of us and announced that we had found dogs. I snickered because I was right. It seems those 11,000 years ago, the people of Israel domesticated dogs. It was an amazing find due to the fact that dogs are wolves. Dogs had evolved from wolves and our ancestors domesticated them. I have seen some [dogs] in my time that if you could domesticate them, you had better eat them. Actually, dog is a tasty treat. It is good with potatoes.
Throughout the research site, we found on the outskirts, more bones within a small area. The bones were later dated at 10,000 years ago. The bones turned out to be sheep. With the help of dogs, the people were able to domesticate and keep sheep contained. We found evidence that the bones were secluded to a small enclosed area. Wood was found in a circular pattern around the bones. We were all excited about our find and then we got a call to come to another site being excavated.
As we made our way to the next site, we all speculated as to what was found. We thought we had the great find, but I was taken back when we arrived. At the site, the grids were laid out nice and neat with one part particularly deep. The lead archeologist stood up with dirt and a big smile all over her face. The area, which was partitioned off, was a building. Stored within this building were lentils, wheat, and barley. The grains were stored in clay pots and placed here in this make shift pantry. This was truly a find. We had discovered the domestication of animals and when people started to cultivate and store food. This was cause for celebration. We celebrated into the night for we knew that these finds would definitely help us receive more funding for the future digs at this location.
The next day, we were put in touch with a local farmer whose family came from this land. With his help we were able to piece together the life of this village within the dig site. The farmer showed us old scrolls that came from his family. With his permission we were allowed to date the scrolls. The scrolls did not match up to the dates of our discovery, but it did lead us to later dates. It described who owned what lands and animals. Who lived where and when those people moved on and those who died which is another story to be told at a later date.
So it is interesting to see that people finally did domesticate animals and start producing crops close to home. We learned a lot from the sites we excavated and our theories have proven to help us understand our past and appreciate the things that they did without all this technology, but with the best computer in the world, the brain.
Park, M. (2008). Introducing Anthropology. New York: McGraw-Hill