Agricultural Age
The formative period for civilized humanity on Old Earth, from about 7000 BT (4000 b.c.e.), when the first societies transformed by agricultural technologies appeared, to about 270 BT (1700 b.c.e.) when the first societies transformed by Industrial technologies arose, bringing about the Industrial Age.

Agricultural technologies permitted humans to harness a significant fraction of the biosphere's output through the use of domesticated animal and plant species. The resulting energy subsidy supported unprecedented population densities and societal complexity. Cities, written records, organized religions, monetary systems, formal governments, armies, bureaucracies, and the other trappings of civilization were the result. These led in turn to the discovery of the more potent energy sources that permitted the Industrial Age.

Subdivisions of the Agricultural Age are sometimes named for notable technologies of the period (Iron Age, Bronze Age, Neolithic). The term "Agricultural Age" may also be used for the characteristic technologies of this period, for Terragens who live at a comparable level of technology, or for similar periods in the development of xenosophont species.
 
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    The first stage of the Kardashev Type 0 Civilization, in which people move away from living as bands of gatherers and hunters, and begin to cluster into villages and develop culture. Cultivation of crops and tending of livestock enables a much higher population density than is possible with nomadic tribalism, and also allows specialization of labor, the development of skills and urbanization, writing, priesthood, slaveholding, taxes, a standing army, and other aspects of civilized culture.
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    A practitioner of agricultural science who advises agriculturalists. This is a rare profession. Where it s customary to produce all goods via nanofac, nanofab technology can produce sufficient quantities of any desired organic commodity, provided the templates are available. Where agriculture is part of the local system of production, and in those large orbitals that for romantic, culture or memetic reasons set aside areas of land surface for cultivation, ai governors, expert systems, and subsentient and turingrade bots, synsects, and gengineered organisms do all the work of cultivation and preparation of foodstuffs; agriculturalists' primary role is creative and managerial, and they rely primarily on their own knowledge or on consultation with expert systems rather than on the services of an agricultural scientist. Prim worlds and habs where old-style agriculture is still predominant are generally closed to outsiders, and rely on well established traditional methods, and there too an agricultural scientist has no particular role.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Stephen Inniss

Initially published on 31 December 2007.