Both in what is now the eastern and the southwesternUnitedStates, the peoples of
the Archaic era (8,000-1,000 B.C) were, in a way, alreadyadapted to beginnings of
cultivationthroughtheirintensivegathering and processing of wildplantfoods. In bothareas, there was a well-establishedgroundstonetooltechnology, a method of pounding
(5)and grindingnuts and otherplantfoods, thatcould be adapted to newlycultivatedfoods.
By the end of the Archaic era, people in easternNorthAmerica had domesticatedcertainnativeplants, includingsunflowers; weedscalledgoosefoot, sumpweed, or marshelder;
and squash or gourds of somekind. Theseprovidedseedsthatwereimportantsources of carbohydrates and fat in the diet.
(10) The earliestcultivationseems to havetakenplacealong the rivervalleys of the
Midwest and the Southeast, withexperimentationbeginning as early as 7,000 years ago
and domesticationbeginning 4,000 to 2,000 years ago. Although the term “Neolithic” is
not used in NorthAmericanprehistory, thesewere the firststepstoward the samemajorsubsistencechangesthattookplaceduring the Neolithic (8,000-2,000 B.C.) period
(15)elsewhere in the world.
Archaeologistsdebate the reasons for beginningcultivation in the easternpart of the
continent. Althoughpopulation and sedentarylivingwereincreasing at the time, there is
littleevidencethatpeoplelackedadequatewildfoodresources; the newlydomesticatedfoodssupplemented a continuingmixedsubsistence of hunting, fishing, and gathering
(20)wildplants, Increasingpredictability of foodsupplies may havebeen a motive. It has beensuggestedthatsomeearlycultivation was for medicinal and ceremonialplantsratherthan
for food. One archaeologist has pointed out that the earlydomesticatedplantswere all
weedyspeciesthat do well in open, disturbedhabitats, the kindthatwouldformaroundhumansettlementswherepeople cut downtrees, trample the ground, deposittrash, and
(25)dig holes. It has beensuggestedthatsunflower, sumpweed, and otherplantsalmostdomesticatedthemselves, that is , theythrived in human –disturbedhabitats, so humansintensivelycollectedthem and began to controltheirdistribution. Women in the Archaiccommunitieswereprobably the mainexperimenterswithcultivation, becauseethnoarchaeologicalevidencetells us thatwomenwere the maincollectors of plantfood
and had detailedknowledge of plants.
【題組】12 According to the passage, when did the domestication of plantsbegin in NorthAmerica?
(A) 7,000 years ago
(B) 4,000 to 2,000 years ago
(C) Longafter the Neolithicperiod (D) Before the Archaicperiod
Hunting is at best a precarious way of procuringfood, evenwhen the diet is supplementedwithseeds and fruits. Not longafter the last Ice Age, around 7,000 B.C. (during the Neolithicperiod),
somehunters and gatherersbegan to relychiefly on agriculture for theirsustenance. Otherscontinued the old pastoral and nomadicways. Indeed, agricultureitselfevolvedover the course of
(5) time, and Neolithicpeoples had longknown how to growcrops. The realtransformation of humanlifeoccurredwhenhugenumbers of peoplebegan to relyprimarily and permanently on the graintheygrew and the animalstheydomesticated.
Agriculturemadepossible a morestable and securelife. With it Neolithicpeoplesflourished,
fashioning an energetic, creative era. Theywereresponsible for manyfundamentalinventions and
(10)innovationsthat the modernworldtakes for granted. First, obviously, is systematicagriculture---
that is, the reliance of Neolithicpeoples on agriculture as theirprimary, not merelysubsidiary,
source of food.
Thustheydeveloped the primaryeconomicactivity of the entireancientworld and the basis of all
modernlife. With the settledroutine of Neolithicfarmerscame the evolution of towns and
(15)eventuallycities. Neolithicfarmersusuallyraisedmorefoodthantheycouldconsume, and theirsurplusespermittedlarger, healthierpopulations. Populationgrowth in turncreated an evengreaterreliance on settledfarming, as onlysystematicagriculturecouldsustain the increasednumbers of people. Sincesurpluses o foodcouldalso be bartered for othercommodities, the
Neolithic era witnessed the beginnings of large-scaleexchange of goods. In time the increasing
(20)complexity of Neolithicsocieties led to the development of writing, prompted by the need to keeprecords and later by the urge to chronicleexperiences, learning, and beliefs.
The transition to settledlifealso had a profoundimpact on the family. The sharedneeds and
pressuresthatencourageextended-familyties are lessprominent in settledthan in nomadicsocieties. Bonds to the extendedfamilyweakened. In towns and cities, the nuclearfamily was
(25)moredependent on its immediateneighborsthan on kinfolk.
【題組】 1. Whatdoes the passagemainlydiscuss?
(A) Why manyhumansocieties are dependent on agriculture (B) the changesagriculturebrought to humanlife (C) How Neolithicpeoplesdiscoveredagriculture (D) Why the firstagriculturalsocietiesfailed
【題組】10. Which of the following is trueabout the humandietprior to the Neolithicperiod?
(A) It consistedmainly of agriculturalproducts (B) It variedaccording to familysize.
(C) It was based on hunting and gathering.
(D) It was transformedwhenlargenumbers of people no longerdepended on the graintheygrewthemselves.