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Ch. 1- Sec. 1
One of the major questions that this reading focuses on is the use of the term revolution to describe the changes in agricultural development that occurred during the Neolithic revolution. Revolution implies sudden, drastic, changes over a short period of time, and is often used by historians to describe periods of history. The use of the word revolution, however, may be a misnomer in this case. The textbook defines the Neolithic Revolution as occurring between the years 8,000 BC and 4,000 BC. The development of domesticated agriculture, foods that could be planted and harvested on a yearly basis in a controlled manner to provide food, was a process that took many generations to complete, from the selection of the proper grains and cereals, to refining methods of planting the crops, to eventually entering the phase of surplus food production. This is a crucial step in human history, as it allowed for human populations to increase, and for humans to develop specialized trades. It was no longer necessary for all humans in a given society to produce food; some could begin to specialize in other trades. This period in human history is truly remarkable as it sets humanity on the path towards modern civilization. However to use the term revolution implies the sudden and drastic change associated with historical events such as the Russian Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the Cultural Revolution in China. The term revolution is used broadly by historians, anthropologists, and archeologists to describe seemingly any change that is deemed significant by those writing the history. Often times these are self-serving descriptions of time periods meant to attract attention to their subject of study.