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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:54 pm 
Lebom
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Three pages ago, when I first posted this thread I had just finished my world map, which was about seven days in the making. Thus was completed my first week of conworlding. This was a month ago. Thanks to the creative ideas and constructive feedback I got from this thread, I now have a clear idea of how I am going to tackle the project. At this point the problem which necessitated this thread has been overcome. However, rather than create a new thread for each situation that arises during the ordeal, I will confine my work to this thread.

earlier, I wrote:
three-dimensional map made of paper mâché

I have started this. It's a slower process than I anticipated, however. It'll be pretty cool when it's done. I need to buy some paint and miniature vegetation from hobby lobby though.
Image

I have been focusing on culture from a people who existed 150,000 years ago. This is ridiculous. There is no way of knowing anything about a people who lived that long ago except for archaeological findings. Cultures will be covered more thoroughly as they approach the present, because more knowledge of them would be likely to exist. With the advent of writing in about 130,000 years, my workload will grow exponentially!
I've got a lot of buns in the oven with this project at the moment; I'll post them as they become thoroughly cooked. Probably an update on progress every 10,000 years or so, with questions posted in between.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:41 pm 
Avisaru
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blank stare II wrote:
I have been focusing on culture from a people who existed 150,000 years ago. This is ridiculous. There is no way of knowing anything about a people who lived that long ago except for archaeological findings.


that's true for RL cultures...but when it comes to one you create, you know all.

(that said, the archaeological-style amounts of knowledge about the concultures, is intriging)

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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 
Avisaru
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blank stare II wrote:
I plan on having an urnfield culture as the first one to leave behind artifacts.


modern humans have even older artifacts - fishing spearhooks from east African lakes, for example. the "earliest artifact" is something of a slippery slope.

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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.


the Tasmanians were isolated for 40,000 years. archaeologists still debate how long humans have been in the Americas.

I understand that you're going for authenticity by emulating the timespans here on Earth...but use them as a guide, not as iron rules that you dare not ignore.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:21 am 
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Earlier I mentioned a glyptodont-like creature earlier, this is what it looks like. It has a furry body, and a shell. Its thick strands of hair are more akin to feathers than to mammalian fur. It is taller than a full grown man, and despite being over-hunted, it is not particularly aggressive. These creatures are believed to be magical. They are not. The native word for them is boro. A cousin to the boro has scaly skin and a more leathery shell with bristly hairs on top. A picture of the latter will be posted tomorrow(it is finished but not uploaded and it's like 4 AM so screw it)
The left side of this picture shows the pencil strokes a lot lighter than they should be; all lines on the original are of the same darkness. I need to get a scanner.

Image

Rodlox wrote:
I understand that you're going for authenticity by emulating the timespans here on Earth...but use them as a guide, not as iron rules that you dare not ignore.


Actually, you're very right. It's just unnerving diverging heavily from the real-world timeframe because it's our only reference - plus unattested events have so many possibilities that it is hard to settle on one that seems right. For instance, I want to introduce writing to my conpeople very early on in their history, whereas in our own history writing didn't show up till the last (i think) six thousand years. Humanity would have turned out very differently if writing had been around 100k years ago, but in what ways - I don't know.

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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 boomerang 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 kemba 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.

Image

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 
Avisaru
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blank stare II wrote:
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.


you mean bags and baskets?
:)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:31 pm 
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blank stare II wrote:

That is nice! 8)


blank stare II wrote:
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]

"kya" is also used for "thousand(s of) years ago".


blank stare II wrote:
After harvesting, the grasses grew again from seeds sewn by the wind, encouraging the group to return to the area year after year.

Sown not sewn. They're homophones.


blank stare II wrote:
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.

Why are there "countless artifacts from the [130-115 K BP] period" in your conworld, when there aren't here on Earth-prime?


blank stare II wrote:
Towns were now becoming the standard of human settlements.

By way of comparison, when did they become standard in real life?


blank stare II wrote:
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.

Moats not motes. More homophones.


blank stare II wrote:
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.

Are you distinguishing between cities and towns? If so, isn't the oldest RL city about a tenth that age? (The oldest RL town could be a lot older FAIK.)


blank stare II wrote:
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.

I heard about such a settlement IRL. I'm not sure of its age and I'm not sure it would count as a "city".


blank stare II wrote:
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.

Realistic; things like that did happen IRL.


blank stare II wrote:
As I described in the body of this post, this is where animal husbandry and, to an even greater extent, agriculture(=civilization) developed.

Not sure that agriculture=civilization.

I have been told that there's a settlement in Greenland that deserves to be called a city but that got to that size without any agriculture. If so there can be civilization without agriculture.

Most agriculture today occurs in rural areas, not urban areas. In some areas, farmers live in farmhouses; in other areas, farmers live in villages. Some of these farm villages have grown to be towns. But, for those that became cities, by the time they were cities, agriculture was no longer the major industry. So, there can be agriculture without civilization.

The first cities in real life were, and most cities in real life still are, built near navigable bodies of water and near sources of fresh water.

Besides cities, metallurgy (copper or arsenuous bronze or stannous bronze) and/or writing may also be necessary to "civilization".


___________________________________________________________________________________________


I find this very interesting and entertaining. Keep it up! Thank you.


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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blank wrote:
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.
tom wrote:
Are you distinguishing between cities and towns? If so, isn't the oldest RL city about a tenth that age?


I've been using them interchangeably, or if there's any difference at all a town is a group of homes and a city has walls. But at this point in their history the fences holding the animals in are just evolving into walls to keep enemies out. There was a city called something like Catal Huyuk which existed for eight hundred years, and was destroyed twelve times - being rebuilt each time but the last.

blank wrote:
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.
tom wrote:
Why are their "countless artifacts from the [130-115 K BP] period" in your conworld, when there aren't here on Earth-prime?


Earlier in this thread rodlox said there were fishing spearhooks found in east african lakes, which would make them pretty old. But as for these artifacts, they are mostly urns buried in the plains, depicting all sorts of animals and events. This makes them an urnfield culture.
The timeline matches earth's history closer than you might think. Studies are showing that a hundred-fifty thousand years ago, people were completely modern humans. It's just that for some reason it took them more than two thirds of that time to figure it out. In this conworld, things such as farming and writing came along a little earlier. I don't know yet if this will effect technology at the present. I still have over 100K years of history to work out before I get to that!

tom wrote:
Most agriculture today occurs in rural areas, not urban areas. In some areas, farmers live in farmhouses; in other areas, farmers live in villages. Some of these farm villages have grown to be towns. But, for those that became cities, by the time they were cities, agriculture was no longer the major industry.


This is true, but in the situation outlined, I can easily see agriculture being the catalyst for people settling in one place permanently, leading to towns.

From this point, the number of cultures will have to grow exponentially. If they each split into two, and the new ones do likewise, I will always have double the number of cultures to cover. This does not bother me, but the years on the timeline are gonna creep by frustratingly slowly.

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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)

Image

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 
Avisaru
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blank stare II wrote:
Catal Huyuk

Yes, IRL, Çatalhöyük seems to have been a town much like you described the earliest towns in your conworld.
But it no proof has yet been published that the motivation for building Çatalhöyük was similar to that your conpeople had.
Also, Çatalhöyük seems to have been thriving before agriculture was the main source of food -- apparently hunting and gathering were still the main way of getting food for at least the early part of Çatalhöyük's existence. They had begun to develop agriculture, but it was not yet their "main industry".

However I think your conworld is still plausible. Things didn't have to develop exactly as they did. And besides that, we're not sure exactly how they did develop.


blank stare II wrote:
(freshwater oceans :wink: )

CaesarVincens wrote:
... if you want your inland sea to be freshwater, water-out has to equal water-in pretty closely.

Did you ever get that worked out right?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:03 pm 
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blank stare II wrote:
Image

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


fish. never underestimate the appeal of fresh(ish) fish for people who don't live near the water.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:55 pm 
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TomHChappell wrote:
Also, Çatal höyük seems to have been thriving before agriculture was the main source of food -- apparently hunting and gathering were still the main way of getting food for at least the early part of Çatal höyük's existence. They had begun to develop agriculture, but it was not yet their "main industry".


I've been saying that agriculture lead to "civilization" because it encouraged people to group together, but I'm probably only going to make that the case in the southern peninsula. Probably, people who migrated northward from the plains went a slightly different direction. That is, banding together before the advent of agriculture.

tom wrote:
blank stare II wrote:
(freshwater oceans :wink: )

CaesarVincens wrote:
... if you want your inland sea to be freshwater, water-out has to equal water-in pretty closely.

Did you ever get that worked out right?


I've been operating under the assumption that pretty well all the water is fresh(apart from some inland seas) since caesar told me that. I had planned on doing what he advised, but that would mean that people would have to migrate almost a thousand miles before finding that river and setting up their cities. In order to have people on the western coast, I guess I felt like the ocean would have to be freshwater after all.
Do you guys think they would have settled there anyway?

I am simultaneously writing up a quick history of how and when those city-states came to be, and their relationship to each other, plus designing/drawing a typical dwelling on the plains, at least between like 150K BP and 130K BP.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:27 pm 
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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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