View Full Version : Ancient Peoples and how they would affect a map/history making project.

12-12-2010, 03:35 AM
Good day to all of you, I am Zack Zing. I come from Reddit after a member so graciously mentioned this place.

My first project is this one: http://www.reddit.com/r/worldbuilding/comments/ejekq/my_first_fantasy_map_using_pixelmater_not/

I got some solid advice there, specifically things like how to do rivers.

So I plan to take this and I want to make another map/history combo that starts off from the beginning of man inhabiting it. Something such as a man with family or a couple families end up on the coast and they come from a time equivalent to 10ka b.p. in technology.

A few details that I am not sure I can do entirely realistically these people may have agriculture but would a few (say max 10 to 15 people, including children) have the resources to engage in that sort of thing? Would it be more likely for them to become hunter gatherers?

Eventually, presuming they survive (sort of the point) they will spread out. What is a realistic method for them to spread? Could they develop a sort of permanent village at first and then once the population got to a certain point could some leave and found another village a certain distance away?

I love the general style of this map: http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=3&attachmentid=20419 and curious how it was made. I have photoshop available to me (CS4), and illustrator.

I think I want to go for a sort of regional map to begin with, enough to have the people spread for a while.

12-12-2010, 04:45 AM
So what you're essentially doing is making your own garden of eden thing where god makes a man and woman and they have kids but yours might be that god made 5 couples, either way same deal. How do they fend for themselves and then provide enough for more than just getting by and eventually spread out and and form a culture and civilization? There's no one answer and that's the sort of thing that writers, philosophers, and anthropologists do. My short story/theory would be that they hunted/gathered for a few generations and, evolution being what it is, someone was born smarter or more clever than the others and came up with some new ideas on how to do things. This person could have either been exalted or exiled depending on how conservative the "elders" were. This person took the spouse/family and moved over the hill into the next valley (or a few valleys over) and did their thing. They could have died or they could have flourished, either way makes for more story and starts the spreading out process. Some families have lots of kids and therefore need more food and space so they have to venture further out to find food and maybe they find a better place. Maybe they find the clan of the exiled dudes and are kidnapped forcing the others to go looking for them and this starts a fight. At any rate as the populace grows you need more and more things starting with more food then fancier bones to hang around your neck and fancier sticks with which to beat each other up with then fancier homes to provide for defense against those with bigger sticks and if you can't get a fancier house you move further away from the trouble-makers but some will stay because they think they're tough or something and others will try to be trickier and others will try to outsmart everyone and some just take the power. Those with power tend to stay put and those without power tend to move away from the "jerks". Those staying put see their way as being the best way and so they become stale and more conservative in their thinking while the "wimps" that moved away tend to be more open to new ideas if it will help them beat the other guys. So now we have the beginnings of different cultures among tribes (they could also evolve into separate races) and also early hierarchies or politics. As soon as one person crushes up some berries and rubs it on his face and wins a battle he gets superstitious and this starts mysticism or religion or magic. Some dudes are better at fishing and some dudes are better at building huts and this starts specialization among people. The more things you have the more other people are going to have different opinions and they either leave to make new clans or they stay and try to figure out how to get on top. The old "you've got something that I want but I can't beat you up" leads to crime. This is envy, and really, it's the seven deadly sins that drive folks apart but new ideas and change play a decent-sized part as well even though those willful enough to move away and test their ideas are still doing it because of pride. Some people are born deformed and so are shunned but they're otherwise as smart or funny as anyone else but if they are forced to leave they can start up a new culture (provided they can get a spouse) in which such prejudices are not tolerated...but maybe they shun the pretty faces or the slow-witted (shrug). Anyway, once you have enough people to assert some sort of dominance over an area that area becomes off-limits to others and you now have a kingdom (or some other type of geo-spatial-political name). Once those bone necklaces start having fancy rocks in them or shiny metals you start getting a currency - this can come at any part in the story. Maybe the folks never get that far before they get a barter system - maybe the fisher dude says he'll catch some fish if the other dude builds him a hut but, more often than not, it has something to do with material possessions. "Nice necklace there, I'll trade you my fur boots for it". Now we have trade, trade usually leads to an interchange of ideas between peoples, whether they be in the same village or different kingdoms. This interchange of ideas opens new avenues of thought and the most clever and smartest excel and this leads to education. One dude banging a stick on a hollow log makes a sound and others bang rocks and we get music. Just put your brain to work on what's important to your story and think your way through it. This is my short story, everyone will have their own ideas as well...and I shun them heh heh :)

12-12-2010, 12:24 PM
My version would probably feature a rendition of 'duelling banjos' in there somewhere :)

12-12-2010, 12:30 PM
A society of 10 to 15 in a relatively isolated area would likely find hunting and gathering to be the most efficient way to obtain food. You don't start to see agriculture until the population density reaches a point where competition for resources begins to be a factor. If you have to travel half a day to find your food, then you'd better be able to bring back enough to feed yourself and your family for at least three days. If it gets to the point where the entire community is spending more than 60% of their waking time on acquiring food, they're going to start looking for ways to change things. Either that's going to be a conversion to a nomadic living pattern—follow the food like the Lakota—or some enterprising individual is going to figure out how to bring self-replicating food to the village—they'll capture large animals or transplant the food plants.

As soon as agriculture and/or livestock breeding has been invented, the community will see an abrupt drop in total man-hours required for food production, and you'll start to see a more pronounced division of labor, where some are farmers, some take care of the livestock, and the rest devote their time to improving living conditions.

Communities split when the number of people in the community can no longer be supported by the resources the community has access to. As resources grow scarce, conflict over those resources will arise, and eventually there will be a schism in the village that will cause one or more families to depart. They will travel far enough away to minimize the overlap in resource gathering areas, but they will almost certainly maintain some level of communication with the original community. Eventually, once the culture has grown accustomed to this kind of split, relationships between groups will be formalized through patterns of trade and marriage. Most small hunter-gatherer and horticultural cultures have customs that encourage inter-community marriages. This helps to keep the culture unified and reduces conflict between neighboring villages: you aren't as eager to attack your neighbor when your daughter or brother lives over there.

Obviously, there are hundreds of ways that a culture can solve resource and population problems, and there are very few universal patterns. I'd suggest you read a few anthropologists' field studies and maybe pick up an introductory textbook on cultural anthropology just to familiarize yourself with a few ways in which contemporary groups approach these issues. The "Faces of Culture" video series is also a pretty good resource. http://www2.dsu.nodak.edu/users/cummiskclasses/faces_of_culture_videos.htm

12-12-2010, 07:43 PM
I think for the most part agriculture will start off by accident. Remember when we camped here last year and ate all that fruit? The seeds have started growing into berry bushes and fruit trees. We should come back here every summer. Hey, look, the trees grow more easily since that huge oak tree fell over and stopped hogging all the sunlight. If we can clear the area a bit, the plants we want will grow and be ready for us when we make our camp.

12-12-2010, 11:11 PM
In the world where I come from (Bob Ross land) we call these happy accidents :) and I'm sure that there are far more of these types things than any planned things that have evolved our understanding of the world.