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I went out walking a few days ago as I normally do, and I came across some Neolithic stones at a long barrow site.  I stood touching one of the stones and thought about the people who would have stood touching that stone over 5,000 years ago, and I felt sad.  The Long barrow is older than Stonehenge, and it is said that people came over from Europe and built those Long barrows and buried their dead in them, along with having other rooms that had pottery within them. They had taken the flesh from the bones and put the bones in the long barrows, it is not thought that this wasn't cannibalism but ancestral worship. The land was a victim to deforestation as farming took over. It is still a beautiful place, but it's shocking that only 11.8 % of the UK now has forest. I wonder what happened to us, I wonder what made us give up our freedom of hunter gatherers, our closeness to nature for Little boxes on the Hillside, taxes, debt and consumerism? What do you think?

5 Answers


You were educated, learned how to prevent disease. Too many people to hunt for, so you had to domesticate animals (cattle) for food, and grow grain to feed the masses. 1900 in the UK, life expectancy, at birth was 47 years. 1800 it was about 35 years. Why?

katherine24 Korvo

But we lived on this earth for 2 million years Korvo, so are you saying that we had a sudden spurt of babies and had to cultivate the land? Surely, the things that would have killed us then as hunter gatherers, would have killed us still keeping the population at a level.  When we started farming it made us vulnerable to take over, as whoever controls the food supply controls the people.  With more people living in close proximity disease spreads quicker and stays in the community because there is more people, same as when meningitis affects student colleges because of close proximity. Hygiene also becomes a problem.  The population only grew when we settled and starting farming.  If you live away from other groups of people, you can only get sick if you come into contact with a group of sick people, (discounting things like sepsis from wounds).

Korvo Korvo

Did the population grow when you started farming and settling, or did you start farming and settling because the population grew?  I know the reason the life expectancy was so low in 1800, and 1900. It was not because people lived longer, it was because so many young people (especially children) died. If you lived past 21, you probably lived to 60 or 70.  Better food, more balanced diet, and cures for childhood diseases caused the increase in life expectancy. Now it is getting higher as we are learning to cure adult diseases (heart problems etc.) and the diets are becoming more balanced. In my opinion!!!

katherine24 Korvo

Interesting answer Korvo thank you


Hi Katherine,

I do not have an answer for you as such, but I do have some observations:

1. I heard a scientist say once (perhaps an anthropologist?) that settled agriculture began only about 10,000 years ago, and that makes it so new that we STILL cannot be sure it is sustainable for humankind; the last lifestyle known to really 'work' on the Earth was the hunter-gatherer.

2. In North America, the European society that replaced the Native American may actually be a more immature society, emotionally and spiritually. One standard of measurement is which of the three stages of womanhood is the ideal - for European Americans the ideal is the youthful maiden stage, while for Native Americans, they tend to give more honour to the mother or the crone.

3. A British author, Elizabeth Goudge in her novel THE SCENT OF WATER, she described a craftsman hand-making beautiful chairs, and was talking about the Industrial Revolution when she wrote, "They have stolen our silence."

4. I myself, in 1997 my first trip to the spectacular American Southwest, the great deserts there...I had a strong impression; that we (i.e., Europeans) have come here and imposed ourselves and our ways on the land, but in 500 years we have never made a true connection with this land.

5. West Kennet Long Barrow, construction begun ~ 3600 B.C.


katherine24 Virginia

A fascinating answer Virginia, the people you have quoted had very valid points. Maybe our seek to dominate and search for immortality or at least longer and longer lives, has come at a price, anything without a boundary has too. Most animals live in harmony with their environment but we do not. Animals tend to live by instinct and in the moment, where as we are able to have thoughts about our thoughts and so therefore analysis and shape things differently, we don't adapt we change things to suit us.  Most of our thinking either exists in the past or in the future, I wonder if we all stopped and looked at what we are doing or the way things are whether we'd be courageous enough to challenge things to live differently.

Virginia Virginia

Hi Katherine, what you describe, the stopping and looking...idk but I have to believe that may be already starting to happen...I hope so...

The times changed.

Yes, in very ancient times, humans, as hunters-gatherers, enjoyed more freedom, although they were more exposed to accidents, diseases, climatic and natural disasters, etc., which prevented these populations to grow too fast:


But their life was certainly not so idyllic, if referring to certain more recent findings:








The domestication of plants and animals involved the sedentarisation of tribes, clans and groups, the rise of civilisations, and with them, the "creation" of territorial properties and domination, hierarchies, cultures and increased performance requirements, which also involved overexploitation with the growth of the populations.








Human impact on the environment:





Yes, even if we have more comfort, improved tools and instruments, sophisticated technologies, knowledge and resources (which are also creating dependence), the evolution of mentalities, education and philosophies did not follow up with medical, psychological and spiritual sciences and findings, as precarity, poverty, abuse, insecurity, lacking rights and unsustainable systems, rules and requirements are still widespread and feeding crime and violence.

And some main causes of the depletion of natural resources are:








I think we traded a less certain lifestyle for a physically safer and more predictable one.