When it comes to understanding the origins of social surplus, V. Gordon Childe, an influential archaeologist and historian, introduced the concept of two key revolutions in human history. These revolutions played a significant role in shaping the development of society and the accumulation of surplus resources. Let’s delve into these two revolutions in Childe’s social surplus theory.

The Neolithic Revolution

The first revolution that Childe discusses is known as the Neolithic Revolution. This revolution occurred around 10,000 BCE when humans transitioned from a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a settled agricultural society. This shift marked a fundamental change in human existence and had far-reaching implications for social organization.

During the Neolithic Revolution, humans began to practice agriculture, cultivating crops such as wheat, barley, and rice. This allowed them to settle in one place instead of constantly moving to find food sources. The ability to grow crops provided a stable and reliable food supply for communities.

With the advent of agriculture, societies experienced several transformative changes:

The Urban Revolution

The second revolution discussed by Childe is known as the Urban Revolution. It took place around 3500 BCE and marked the transition from decentralized agricultural societies to complex urban civilizations. This revolution was characterized by the emergence of cities, writing systems, and advanced forms of social organization.

During the Urban Revolution, cities became centers of political, economic, and cultural power. Trade networks expanded, leading to increased specialization and the development of advanced crafts and technologies. The surplus generated through agriculture enabled the growth of these urban centers.

Key features of the Urban Revolution include:

In Conclusion

In his social surplus theory, V. Gordon Childe emphasized two major revolutions that shaped human society: the Neolithic Revolution and the Urban Revolution. The Neolithic Revolution marked the transition from a nomadic lifestyle to settled agriculture-based communities. The Urban Revolution witnessed the rise of cities as centers of power and innovation.

The concepts introduced by Childe provide valuable insights into understanding how surplus resources were generated in these revolutionary periods. By utilizing HTML elements such as underlined text,


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