Saturday, August 3, 2019
Culture and the Advancement of Technology :: Technological Cultures Essays
Culture and the Advancement of Technology Once humans became settled into their environment and managed to manipulate agriculture until they were able to sustain their population, they were able to spend more time focusing on enhancing the primitive technologies that had already been developed, as well as begin to search for answers about things that were not understood. Thus came the development of religion and engineering. The more developed culture became the more answers and technologies it demanded. Essentially, with human development, culture became the modus operandi for the advancement of technology. Easter Island is a very small island off the coast of South America. (Ponting) Although Easter Island has few permanent residents today, it is the graveyard of one of the worlds greatest early civilizations. The island is small enough that you could walk around the entire thing in just one day. There are no permanent freshwater sources and the soil is not accommodating to agriculture. When settlers from Mesoamerica arrived at the island in the fifth century there were no other mammals on the island. The population peaked at about 7,000 and was mainly supported on the chickens that the settlers had brought with them and an abundance of harvested sweet potatoes (Ponting). Because the harvesting of sweet potatoes requires so little care, the islanders were left with a considerable amount of idle time. In this time they developed one of the most advanced civilizations of the time period. Large stone sculptures and wide disc-like platforms (ahu) are relics of this ancient culture. (Pontin g) The large sculptures are artistically crafted and required a great deal of technological skill and understanding. Additionally, the sculptures were then placed on the ahu's, which was no small task considering that they were twenty feet in length, weighed several tons, and had to be transported all the way across the island. The people of Easter Island clearly had a developed understanding of astronomy and the cosmos as well; each of the ahu are astronomically aligned towards a solstice or equinox. All of this was down in the name of religion, to fulfill a complex system of beliefs. Unfortunately, the people of Easter Island died because they "hit a wall", running out of natural resources. Because of warring people, they were unable to create a "tech fix" to transport them selves off the island. Still, Easter Island is a good example of the way idleness of time leads to culture which demands technology (Ponting).