Official 52 Passage 3


Early Food Production in Sub-Saharan Africa


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The technologies of food production may have already been employed by some sub-Saharan peoples by the end of the Pleistocene.

正确答案: A B E
  • A.
    Food production started with the cultivation of root plants and developed to include the cultivation of cereal crops.
  • B.
    Pastoralists who moved south across the Sahara to find suitable land for cattle grazing may have also cultivated some crops for food.
  • C.
    In order to avoid human and animal sleeping sickness, which posed a danger to herders and cattle, more and more herders took up cultivation.
  • D.
    Hunter-gatherer groups in eastern and southern Africa raided their herding neighbors to acquire cattle and other domesticated animals.
  • E.
    By 1500 B.C. cereal agriculture was widespread throughout the savanna belt south of the Sahara, and shifting agriculture was used effectively and widely by farmers.
  • F.
    Slash-and-burn agriculture was initially rejected by farmers because it was too labor-intensive, but once the technique was improved, it expanded gradually to eastern and southern Africa.

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  • 译文
  • At the end of the Pleistocene (around 10,000 B.C.), the technologies of food production may have already been employed on the fringes of the rain forests of western and central Africa, where the common use of such root plants as the African yam led people to recognize the advantages of growing their own food. The yam can easily be resprouted if the top is replanted. This primitive form of "vegeculture" (cultivation of root and tree crops) may have been the economic tradition onto which the cultivation of summer rainfall cereal crops was grafted as it came into use south of the grassland areas on the Sahara`s southern borders.

    As the Sahara dried up after 5000 B.C., pastoral peoples (cattle herders) moved southward along major watercourses into the savanna belt of West Africa and the Sudan. By 3000 B.C., just as ancient Egyptian civilization was coming into being along the Nile, they had settled in the heart of the East African highlands far to the south. The East African highlands are ideal cattle country and the home today of such famous cattle-herding peoples as the Masai. The highlands were inhabited by hunter-gatherers living around mountains near the plains until about 3300 B.C., when the first cattle herders appeared. These cattle people may have moved between fixed settlements during the wet and dry seasons, living off hunting in the dry months and their own livestock and agriculture during the rains.

    As was the case elsewhere, cattle were demanding animals in Africa. They required water at least every 24 hours and large tracts of grazing grass if herds of any size were to be maintained. The secret was the careful selection of grazing land, especially in environments where seasonal rainfall led to marked differences in graze quality throughout the year. Even modest cattle herds required plenty of land and considerable mobility. To acquire such land often required moving herds considerable distances, even from summer to winter pastures. At the same time, the cattle owners had to graze their stock in tsetse-fly-free areas. The only protection against human and animal sleeping sickness, a disease carried by the tsetse fly, was to avoid settling or farming such areas- a constraint severely limiting the movements of cattle-owning farmers in eastern and central Africa. As a result, small cattle herds spread south rapidly in areas where they could be grazed. Long before cereal agriculture took hold far south of the Sahara, some hunter-gatherer groups in the savanna woodlands of eastern and southern Africa may have acquired cattle, and perhaps other domesticated animals, by gift exchange or through raids on herding neighbors.

    Contrary to popular belief, there is no such phenomenon as "pure" pastoralists, a society that subsists on its herds alone. The Saharan herders who moved southward to escape drought were almost certainly also cultivating sorghum, millet, and other tropical rainfall crops. By 1500 B.C., cereal agriculture was widespread throughout the savanna belt south of the Sahara. Small farming communities dotted the grasslands and forest margins of eastern West Africa, all of them depending on what is called shifting agriculture. This form of agriculture involved clearing woodland, burning the felled brush over the cleared plot, mixing the ash into the soil, and then cultivating the prepared fields. After a few years, the soil was exhausted, so the farmer moved on, exploiting new woodland and leaving the abandoned fields to lie fallow. Shifting agriculture, often called slash-and-burn, was highly adaptive for savanna farmers without plows, for it allowed cereal farming with the minimal expenditure of energy.

    The process of clearance and burning may have seemed haphazard to the uninformed eye, but it was not. Except in favored areas, such as regularly inundated floodplains, tropical Africa`s soils were of only moderate to low fertility. The art of farming was careful soil selection, that is, knowing which soils were light and easily cultivable, could be readily turned with small hoes, and would maintain their fertility over several years` planting, for cereal crops rapidly remove nitrogen and other nutrients from the soil. Once it had taken hold, slash-and-burn agriculture expanded its frontiers rapidly as village after village took up new lands, moving forward so rapidly that one expert has estimated it took a mere two centuries to cover 2,000 kilometers from eastern to southern Africa.

  • 在更新世末期(大约公元前10000年),食品生产的技术可能已经在非洲西部和中部的热带雨林的边缘地区使用,在那里非洲山药等根茎型植物的普遍使用,使人们认识到自己种植食物的好处。山药的顶部如果被再植的话,很容易再次发芽。这种原始形式的“蔬菜栽培”(块根植物和树本作物的种植)可能已经成为了一种经济传统,基于这种传统,夏季降水谷类作物的种植也采用嫁接的办法,这种种植技术已经在撒哈拉沙漠南部边界地区的草原南部被使用。




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    18 感谢 不懂



                   1)非洲中西部热带雨林边缘地带种植root plants

    2)撒哈拉沙漠南部边界草原地区种植cereal crops

    第二段: 牧民迁徙活动介绍:

    after 5000 B.C. 撒哈拉沙漠干涸,游牧民族南迁到西非和苏丹,

    By 3000 B.C. 他们最终定居在the East African highlands(适宜游牧)

    第三段: 牧民养牛的要求及条件(饮水、牧区及草原,注意事项:避免在舌蝇出没地区放牧)

    第四段: 介绍迁徙牧民除了放牧之外,还进行耕种,并介绍一种农耕方式:shifting agriculture

    第五段:承接上一段,shifting agriculture这种方法的使用并不是偶然的,因为需要合理判断土壤fertility,农耕效率等等问题









    选项F:“was initially rejected by farmers...but once the technique was improved”表述错误,原文并未提及。