Sedentary and Nomads

The main difference between nomadic and sedentary is that the former migrates to hunt and gather food, while the latter remains for a long period of time in the same place, opting for cultivation, construction and sedentary lifestyles. Read on for more differences about these groups.

SedentaryNomads
DefinitionIt refers to those people who inhabit the same locality throughout their lives, opting for sedentary habits.It refers to a group of people who live in different places, constantly moving in search of food.
Population growthPromotes population growthLimits population growth
MealEncourage a narrow focus on fewer food sourcesPromote the diversity of food sources.
Social inequalityTends to social stratificationTends to social egalitarianism
Age12,000 years agoFrom the earliest periods of human prehistory.
Impact of environmental factorsMore exposed to the forces of the weatherMore protected from environmental factors

What are sedentary

A sedentary lifestyle is one in which people spend long periods of time in a certain area . The best known sedentary societies have been the agricultural ones , although other hunter-gatherers are also common in history and in the archaeological record. A way of life defined by being sedentary is often referred to as sedentary lifestyle .

Origins of sedentary lifestyle

While it is not known when the first permanent settlements arose, in Eurasia, for example, houses made of mammoth bones have been found dating back 20,000 years. Additionally, humans have built temporary shelters throughout history and prehistory. The first permanent structures appear to have been built as public structures rather than residences. These include the Gobekli Tepe and the Tower of Jericho . It is possible that these structures were ritual centers where mobile societies met.

The earliest evidence of true sedentary lifestyle dates back to about 12,000 years ago in the ancient East with the Natufians . These were a hunter-gatherer population represented by the Natufian archaeological culture. 10,500 years ago, this lifestyle had turned into agrarianism and led to what were probably the first true agricultural societies. The emergence of sedentary lifestyle is often associated with the rise of agriculture. Permanent agricultural settlements also appear independently in South America, North America, Africa, and China early in the archaeological record. This indicates that there was not a single place from which civilization flourished. People seemed to have come up with the idea independently in many parts of the world.

Effects of sedentary lifestyle

The transition to a settled lifestyle has a significant effect on the economy, food production, socio-political structure and health conditions of a society. Examples of traits associated with sedentary societies include agriculture, large populations, craft specialization, social inequality, and slavery . None of these, however, necessarily require a sedentary lifestyle and are not necessary for such a life. Living in one place can also lead to dependence on less diverse food sources . This consequence of sedentary life combined with high population growth can lead to unsanitary conditions and the spread of disease in densely populated settled communities.

Future of sedentary lifestyle

Most of the people living in the world today practice a sedentary way of life. This trend is likely to continue as cities get larger and the percentage of the world’s population living in cities increases.

What are nomads

A nomadic lifestyle is one defined by mobility . Nomadism does not imply a random or directionless movement, but a movement based on access to the supply of food and other resources . Nomads will travel between specific areas that have the food and natural resources necessary to survive. There are several different types of nomadism, three of them are hunter-gatherer nomadism, pastoral nomadism, and boilermaker and merchant nomadism.

Hunter-gatherer nomadism

More than 12,000 years ago, it is likely that most, if not all, humans were nomadic hunter-gatherers, although the exact degree would vary from community to community. The Kalahari San, for example, moved from place to place on a daily basis. Other hunter-gatherers could only move a few times a year. Because nomadism is favored by low numbers, nomadic hunter-gatherers separated births to avoid adding too many people to a group. They usually consist of small bands that travel in search of food and water.

Pastoral nomadism

Many nomadic groups raised livestock and migrated in search of pasture and water for their animals . Nomadic herders also used to practice a form of agriculture or hunting and gathering to supplement their diet. Others traded with farmers to gain access to grain.

A specific form of nomadism is transhumance , which consists of the practice of migrating between higher and lower altitudes , or latitudes in some cases, at different times of the year. These generally migrated to a higher elevation during the summer so that their cattle could graze and then returned to the lowlands during the winter, when the mountains are not suitable for grazing. The Kohistanis of Central Asia, an example of a transhumant group, migrate between 600m and 4300m in altitude throughout the year. Families have at least four or five houses throughout the year. At any time of the year, the entire population will be at a particular altitude level consistent with the season.

Nomadism of merchants and bunglers

Another type of nomad is one who lives an itinerant lifestyle within a larger society that may or may not be nomadic.. These often earn a living as artisans or itinerant workers. A well-known nomadic group of this type are the Roma, also known as Gypsies. The Roma are a nomadic people that originated in northern India, but are now known throughout the world. They have practiced this form of nomadism for centuries, traveling to distant lands and finding a job that supports their itinerant lifestyle. Historically, men used to work as cattle traders, traveling artisans, and musicians. Women would be inclined to tarot, selling potions and working as cheerleaders. Nomads of this type are often misunderstood and mistrusted by the host society and they often become scapegoats and targets for persecution and expulsion.

Future of nomadism

Modern trends such as urbanization, land development for agriculture, urban development and industry, and the imposition of political boundaries between nation-states will likely make the nomadic lifestyle more difficult in the 21st century. Some nomadic groups still exist, but this ancient way of life can become increasingly difficult as the world gets smaller. Unless humans begin to leave the Earth’s surface and become interplanetary or interstellar vagrants, the future of the nomadic lifestyle is uncertain .

Similarities between sedentary and nomadic

Sedentary and nomadic lifestyles are similar in that they can both involve farming, herding, or hunting and gathering .

Differences between sedentary and nomadic

Although there are similarities between sedentary and nomadic lifestyles, there are also important differences. Some of them are:

  • Nomadic lifestyles limit population growth, while sedentary lifestyles tend to encourage population growth.
  • Nomadic lifestyles encourage dependence on a variety of food sources, while sedentary lifestyles tend to promote dependence on a narrower range of food sources.
  • Nomadic lifestyles encourage egalitarianism, while sedentary lifestyles promote social stratification.
  • Nomadic lifestyles date from the earliest periods of human prehistory, while sedentary lifestyles only appear in the last 12,000 years according to the archaeological record.

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