Sunday, March 26, 2017

No till farming in ancient Egypt

We learned proto farming on our way out of Africa: 
Wiki: The Egyptians took advantage of the natural cyclical flooding pattern of the Nile. Because this flooding happened fairly predictably, the Egyptians were able to develop their agricultural practices around it. The water levels of the river would rise in August and September, leaving the floodplain and delta submerged by 1.5 meters of water at the peak of flooding. This yearly flooding of the river is known as inundation. As the floodwaters receded in October, farmers were left with well watered and fertile soil in which to plant their crops. The soil left behind by the flooding is known as silt and was brought from Ethiopian Highlands by the Nile. Planting took place in October once the flooding was over, and crops were left to grow with minimal care until they ripened between the months of March and May. While the flooding of the Nile was much more predictable and calm than other rivers, such as the Tigris and Euphrates, it was not always perfect. High floodwaters were destructive and could destroy canals that were made for irrigation. Lack of flooding created a potentially greater issue because it left Egyptians suffering from famine
 The archeology show stone culture farming villages in India back to somewhere around 8,000 BC. That was about the time we start to see larger cities.

So, what was going on in Egypt in 10,000 BC?  It took time to make the migration, I doubt they hunted and gathered their way across the globe.  More likely the stopping off point ws the Nile and proto farming, and that skill enabled larger migrations.

Time periods are important, because the last ice age ended a little earlier, and in between was the Younger-Dryuas, the cold spell that interrupted the warming..

If we look at acreage, and co2 equivalent absorption, with and without proto farming, during the warming period, we will seem more rapid co2 absorption as plant life is deliberately spread immediately after the thaws. So, the timeline is too close to ignore the possibility that early human proto farming world wide could have caused the Holocene.  The Younger-Dryas event caused  a partial melt, the turn over on the ice cycle paused at the top.

The number are in the ball park if we assume carbon absorption in Nile like regions over the world, except North America and Northern Asia. We knew about primitive agriculture before the Younger-Dryas floods, but much of the archeology is under water.  Proto farming likely goes back 12,000 years.  There is not enough time for all the remote sites to have independently converged, they knew it before leaving Egypt. We are talking about primitive people learning about farming simultaneously over a two thousand year period. I doubt it, too short.

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