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zompist bboard • View topic - On creating a timeline

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THIS IS AN ARCHIVE ONLY - see Ephemera
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:54 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:41 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:34 pm 
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I plan on having an urnfield culture as the first one to leave behind artifacts. The name comes from the custom of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in urns which were then buried in fields. Con-artifacts will be forthcoming at that point. How many thousands of years ago have artifacts of early man been discovered in our world? Fifty thousand years? More? I ask because I don't really know how much time I need to fast-forward. Remember I am looking at about 146,000 years ago now(the plains people have been around 4,000 now). Plains people have now migrated in two directions; I am making a map of that progression right now.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:54 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:21 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:41 pm 
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I'm about done with a map showing human settlement of the land over a period of about six thousand years. I rented two books from the library today about the earliest civilizations. I'm using them to base my early civilizations on, though I'm trying to keep from copying anything. There's a lot going on behind the scenes, but as time goes by I'll post detailed accounts of everything. There'll be at least a post a day in this thread showing everything that gets done. Here is a more reptilian-looking boro. It is a foot or so shorter than the furry boro I posted earlier. This picture is colored, but the colors didn't really show up by the time it was uploaded(neither did the shading).


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:27 am 
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The story in this post is of a form in which none of my other written material is written. My constuff is not written from the point of view of an outsider. This is the exception.

In the time I have spent with the plainspeople, I have seen them exhibit a marriage to nature and a closeness to the earth which I thought had left man completely. Their trapping and hunting skills continue to amaze me; on every hunt they show a seemingly impossible understanding of the minds of the animals they intend to(and invariably do) take home to eat.
But on this hunt I saw Et-lut do something that I still can't wrap my head around.
We had left the shelter sometime after mid-morning with the intention of checking two deadfall traps and one snare which had been set in the plain the previous evening. With any luck, we would find three meals ready to take home. I carried the extra material Et-lut would need to repair, bait and reset the deadfalls, and to set up another snare if the first one had been tripped. Et-lut had no doubts whatsoever. His traps were second to none. He carried a large, sharpened and a long bone knife in case one of his kills had already been found and claimed by a wandering beast. I only hoped he didn't plan on trying to fight a plainsbear or some such monster over a puny carcass.
My hair was still wet from the ritual quick swim and roll in the dirt which was meant to rid us of our scent, and the afternoon sun made me sweat a little. I was blinking hard from the sting of sweat in my eye when a large grey hare jumped almost straight in the air not ten feet ahead of Et-lut. It hit the ground running and disappeared into some tall grass.
"Must have scared it" he said. "It didn't hear us coming until we were almost on top of it".
Well, it's gone for good now, I thought.
Using only body language, Et-lut caused me to squat low to the ground, and I knew my only job now was to be scarce. Looking away from the rabbit(which I couldn't see, but I was sure he could), and taking long, slow strides, he made a wide circle around the grass in which his query was hiding. After a long time, he came full circle, still looking away from the rabbit. Et-lut kept walking until he came once again to the other side of the rabbit, and suddenly - he stopped - still as stone. Seeing this sudden change the rabbit panicked, and bolted straight for me. It had focused its attention solely on my companion for almost ten minutes, and had completely forgotten about me.
At this moment Et-lut gave chase, letting out the most uncanny imitation of a hawk I have ever heard, or even imagined coming from human vocal chords. The rabbit, already half scared out of its wits, simultaneously saw a new threat(me) and heard the unmistakable cry of its aerial nemesis just feet away. At that moment all built-in instincts and defense mechanisms failed. The pitiable creature layed at my feet and shook almost to the point of convulsion.
Before I could look up, Et-lut descended from a great flying leap. Both of his feet came down on the hare's neck, and in his eyes I saw the passion of the hunt so fiercely that a primal rage was stirred in me, and I felt like one of my ancestors for a brief moment.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:23 am 
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I just finished a slew of library books on the origins of civilization; I have consciously avoided relexing earth history but, as they say, people are people - on any planet, civilization will arise according to a pattern. For example, no conceivable people would invent the cart before the wheel.

Note: the notation I use for years is thus: xxK BP, where the x's are years, the K means thousand and BP = before present. Thus, 150K BP means one hundred fifty thousand years before present. K is short for kilo[thousand]

The earliest people on this planet were nomads, who roamed the great plains as early as 150K BP following animals searching for fresh grazing. Around 130K BP, as people began migrating past the mountains to their south(where the arrow is in the picture), this pattern began to change. A more settled way of life developed, based on farming. This transition occurred in different places at different times. It seems to have happened first in the Southern Peninsula about 125K BP. For the first time, plants were grown deliberately for food. People no longer just gathered suitable plants that just happened to be growing near their campsites. The beginning of agriculture came a little later to the people still living in the plains, who first started farming about 120 to 115K BP. A patch of edible wild grasses could feed a group of nomads for a month; it had only to be picked. After harvesting, the grasses grew again from seeds sewn by the wind, encouraging the group to return to the area year after year. This allowed people to stay in one place longer. The domestication of wild animals had begun thousands of years earlier on the plains, as evidenced by the countless artifacts from the period found on the much-trafficked yet seldom-settled plain. By 130K BP, hunters began catching very young wild animals to raise themselves. Once tamed, the animals provided a source of milk, hide and meat. The larger, more aggressive animals were killed off, and slowly, new domesticated strains emerged from the smaller, more docile animals. Food for the livestock was now grown on site, allowing for fences and eventually walls to protect settlements. Thus was born the Town. Living in a town was probably one of the greatest changes ever to occur in the evolution of human society, after some 20K years roaming the plains following herds.
Towns were now becoming the standard of human settlements. This notion of a single dwelling location necessitated a barrier of some kind, leading to the development of new defenses, such as fences and motes surrounding the town. These came in handy as different groups clashed with each other more and more. Though a high wall with gates was an obvious option, some early cities employed other defensive measures.
One such city, probably founded about 115K BP(and thus the oldest discovered city), was located in the west of the Southern Peninsula - and lasted nearly a millennium. The brick houses were built on a rectangular plan, one beside the other, with no room for streets. Access to the houses was through openings in the roofs, and the inhabitants went about the town by walking across the roofs. In the event of an attack, the ladders leading to the roof-entrances were drawn up, and the enemy was faced with solid, blank walls. The city was destroyed no less than ten times in its thousand year existence, and each time it was rebuilt(by the victors, as often as not) on the ruins. In this way it eventually came to be situated on a hill, making it impossible to take in open war.



The "150" on the left of the plains is ground zero for modern humans. The number means 150K BP(150 thousand before present). Ten thousand years later, around 140K BP, people had spread east over half the plains, and by 130K years before present they populated the whole of the plainsland, and even a little bit to the north, around the great lakes.
Hopefully the picture doesn't make this unclear, but by 120K BP the bigger part of the Southern Peninsula was populated by two different stocks of people - those from the western plains, and those from the eastern plains. The mountains kept them separate until they met again in the southland and established the first trade routes. As I described in the body of this post, this is where animal husbandry and, to an even greater extent, agriculture(=civilization) developed.
See that area in the east which became populated around 125K BP? They eventually made their way back up the sparsely populated eastern coastline and they will be the focus of the post after next. (the next one is about the city-states which arose in the Southern peninsula. Think: Babylon, Egypt, Sumer, etc)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:43 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:31 pm 
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Last edited by TomHChappell on Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:18 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:34 am 
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So as time went by these city-states began to develop like we've been talking about, mostly along the seashore(freshwater oceans :wink: ) and along the river to the east. The cities in this map did not all exist at the same time, but some were destroyed and rebuilt again under a different name. The two cities above the river were founded by eastern plains tribes migrating south; the ones below the river were founded by migrants from the two cities to the west. Ultimately the people of the four southern cities came from the western plains, though that was thousands of years before.
Dates given on this map are muddy in this picture, but they aren't very important ATM. I will be going over the six of them later, detailing
Agriculture
Architecture
Art
Culture
Economy
Fashion(!)
Government
Metallurgy(for some of them)



In the mean-time, this map is mainly to show trade routes. It's just a quick sketch to show visually what I couldn't have described well enough with words alone. I still need to figure out just what was being traded, and by whom. In the couple of thousand years following this map, at least one trading post will be set up along the way, become rich, and evolve into a large city.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:04 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:03 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:55 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:27 pm 
Lebom
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If you read Jane Jacobs, which I and Zompist would both recommend, she argues for the development of agriculture only after the development of cities. She uses a hypothetical city based on Çatal höyük for her example of how it may have begun. Of course, there isn't a lot of scholarship on that side, most people would argue that agriculture begets cities. But I agree with Jacobs reasoning in that developments in technology almost invariably begin in cities (until you get locations to specifically develop technology, but even then, the first practical applications often occur in a city context).

Also, I'm not sure how comfortable with graphics software you are, but using something like Photoshop or GIMP could save you a lot of effort going from one map to another (such as your trade routes and expansion of settlement).


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