From Blight we Rise

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by General_Finley, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. General_Finley Liberty Prime

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    From Blight we Rise


    I give you Apios Americana, this legume grows a potato-like tuber and produces edible seeds; it grows in an abundance across eastern North America; from as far north as Nova Scotia to as far south as Florida. It was never domesticated and cultivated by cultures who had domesticated many plants that existed in the Eastern Agricultural Complex. With the Mesoamerican crops we see the Eastern Agricultural Complex disappear could something have been done to prevent the obliteration of the EAC? Could the EAC agricultural package have harmonized with the introduced Mesoamerican agricultural package and created a more sustainable and stable agricultural package that would foster the rise of civilizations in eastern North America that would rival those in Mesoamerica? This is an attempt to answer the questions that are posed above. This is a diverhistoric [1] North American cradle of civilization; this is From Blight We Rise.


    --


    Our story begins in a place that in another time would be known as Ohio. Future diverhistorical archeologists will call the Late Archaic -Early Formative transitional Period between 1500 BCE and 800BCE. The people of the Ohio Valley [2] have begun to settle, shifting from hunter-gatherer bands to horticultural tribes. It is during this era that the eastern North America agriculture package [3] begins to be cultivated by the sedentary people of Ohio River Basin. Diverhistorical botanists and archeologists never know what sparks the domestication and cultivation of Apios Americana, they can approximate the beginning of the plants domestication in the Ohio River Basin, but they will never know the cause that led to the cultivation of the legume. Some speculate a shift in climactic conditions made the basin more conducive to the growth of fatter tubers, but there isn’t proper climatological or sedimentary evidence to show any kind of dramatic shift that made the valley more conducive to the cultivation of the Hopniss [4]. There is a young theory that proposes a fungal blight devastated the population of Hopniss in and around the Ohio River Basin thus prompting the cultivation of the Hopniss by the native people around the northern reaches of the Ohio River Basin.

    Over time the people of the Basin learned to farm Hopniss. The cultivation of the Hopniss requires Direct-seeding; seeds took between 10 to 30 days to germinate. Unfortunately seedlings were small and early seedling growth was not vigorous. Seedling death, presumably from insects or diseases, plagued this technique; after germination, when the shoots began elongation, the plants were pinched back to the first leaves. This prevented the plants in a flat from twining on each other, allowing for better root development prior to planting and permitted plants from slower germinating seed to reach sufficient size to transplant. Along with transplant was the division of tubers into sections, thus allowing for the safer production of greater crop yields. Along with the development of a method of domestic cultivation came farming techniques that allowed for larger growth of the Hopniss tuber, because while Hopniss is found native growing in water-logged and acidic soils it soon became evident that the tuber grew best in well-drained soils; while moisture was important, excess moisture resulted in longer rhizomes.


    ***


    The transition from a purely hunting and gathering way of life to a more settled farming way of life sometimes is referred to as the "Neolithic Revolution," but in Ohio, the process was more evolutionary than revolutionary. The increased level of control over their food supply, along with the necessity of cultivating their crops during the growing season, allowed (or required) the Early Formative people to settle in one place for longer periods of time. During the Late Archaic-Early Formative transitional period we see the rise of the Adena [5] in southern Ohio. The Adena lived in small villages near their gardens, but they moved frequently as they continued to follow a hunting and gathering way of life, which they supplemented with the harvest from their gardens. Adena pottery consisted of large, thick-walled vessels that were used to cook the ground-up seeds of many of the Eastern Agricultural Complex into a gruel something like oatmeal. With the advent of Hopniss farming the switch from horticulture to permaculture was far faster and far more drastic amongst the Aden than the “Neolithic Revolution”. The advent of permaculture in the Ohio River Basin definitively marked the beginning of the Formative Period. During the early to middle Formative era we see the Adena domesticate more plants to supplement their diets. With more the more sedentary lifestyle came larger towns and with the larger town came a sense of permanence that fostered the domestication and cultivation of new crops. Of these new crops the one that would affect the Adena the greatest would be the Corylus Americana [6]. Corylus Americana’s cultivation did not drastically affect the lives of the Adena in itself it was the secondary effects of its domestication that changed affected the Adena so greatly. While the Adena had become sedentary and had begun to build larger and larger sedentary towns, meat was still an important part of the diet of the Adena, but it became harder to supply meat year round for the populous of the sedentary villages. Fishing the Ohio River did not provide enough and hunting game was not a stable enough source of meat to be dependable. This is where Corylus Americana comes in; it was noticed that in fields where the multi-stemmed shrub were grown wildlife was attracted. During the winter months Ruffed Grouse [7] (Bonasa umbellus) flocked to the Corylus fields. At first the grouse were merely killed, but overtime the male grouse were fed by the Adena. Female grouse captured in the summer months were bred with male grouse, which had overtime developed to stay around the almost never ending food supply that the Adena threw their way. The eggs of the grouse were both eaten and raised by the Adena providing both a stable food source and a source of ceremonial feathers. Not long after the domestication of the grouse we see the domestication of the larger Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris). Like the grouse the Turkey provided a source of food and feathers that would make them vital aspects of the Adena’s food supply. One plant that was not truly domesticated by the Adena, but played a large role in the hierarchy and art of their culture was Sambucus Canadensis [8]. Though the berries of the tree were edible they were most often crushed and used with the sap of the tree to create a dark purple dye. This dye would be used in early Adena artwork as well as in early Adena tattooing [9].

    --

    [1]: Diver coming from the Latin word for different “Diversus”.

    [2]: For the sake of convenience I’m going to refer to geographical locations by their OTL names.

    [3]: The diverhistorical package is pretty OTL; it has Cucurbita pepo (already long since cultivated), Hordeum pusillum, Chenopodium berlandieri, Polygonum erectum, Phalaris, Iva annua, Helianthus annuusm, and the diverhistorical addition of Apios Americana.

    [4]: As other members of the Apios genus will be cultivated later, Apios Americana will be identified as the Hopniss.

    [5]: The Adena culture was a semi-sedentary culture that rose during this era in OTL. They are fairly similar to their OTL counterparts in the beginning but will diverge more and more as time passes.

    [6]: The American Hazelnut (Corylus Americana) produces edible nuts that are smaller than the more commonly grown filbert of OTL. In OTL It is planted by wildlife enthusiasts to attract and keep game in an area.

    [7]: The male catkins of Corylus Americana are a food staple of ruffed grouse throughout the winter.

    [8]: Sambucus canadensis (American Elderberry) produces edible berries but other parts if the plants are toxic and contain calcium oxalate crystals.

    [9]: The art of tattoo has independently evolved all over the world, it is believed that the stylized zoomorphs or curvilinear geometric designs that are prominent in the Adena stone tablets are stamps that were used to imprint on to clothing, animal hides, and skin. It is believed that the imprint on the skin was an outline for a tattoo.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
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  2. Troyer IV Instant Pirate - Just Add Rum

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  3. Domoviye Well-Known Member

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    Interesting.
     
  4. General_Finley Liberty Prime

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    thank you.

    might I ask what aspect is interesting?
     
  5. General_Finley Liberty Prime

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    From Blight we Rise 2nd Update


    Welcome to Wisconsin, it is the Early Formative Period and for a civilization that will never be known to diverhistorical archaeologists as the Old Copper Complex the Chalcolithic era [1] is in full swing. Thousands of years before the dawn of the Chalcolithic in the eastern North America, the people of the Copper Culture used the copper veins and nuggets they discovered in gravel pits and streams to craft tools and weapons. Yet, Overtime this practice began to dissipate and was replaced by the use of copper for jewelry and other status-symbols. This trend that almost strangled the Chalcolithic would be halted and reversed with the spread of Adena Hopniss farming. For the Adena of the Ohio River Basin copper farming tools were a rarity with stone slabs being in the labor intensive process of farming Hopniss, but as their method of farming spread east and south the use of copper tools in Wisconsin spread as well. For Copper Culture the most beneficial aspect of Hopniss farming was that it provided a stable food source during the winter. It is unknown by diverhistorical archeologist how the Copper Culture stumbled upon the process of preservation that allowed them to stock up on Hopniss tubers, but it emerged not long after the arrival of Hopniss farming to the area [2]. Though diverhistorical archaeologists will never know the Copper Culture name for the preserved tubers it is commonly called pkon'wisnawen [3] by the modern people of the region. With the emergence of a more sedentary lifestyle amongst the Copper Culture we see the reemergence of copper tool use in the form of both knives and garden tools. For much of the Early Formative the method of tool making never get more advanced than hammered tools, but these tools spread eastwards with trade between the Copper Culture and the Adena Culture.

    Although some Archaic cultures originated the techniques for making ceramics, Early Formative people, with their more settled ways, found pottery vessels to be very efficient for storing and cooking food. Though originally these pots were undecorated it is not long after the rise in trade between the Adena and the Copper cultures that we see the rise of artistic pottery. This Formative pottery displayed gracefully composed and exquisitely stylized zoomorphic figures and curvilinear geometric designs in deep relief. Diverhistorical archaeologists have discovered that these designs were painted with Elderberry sap based purple paint. As time goes on we begin to see the use of these stylized zoomorphs and curvilinear geometric designs to indicate ownership [4]. From this primitive indication of ownership and family relationship we see the rise of the written word in North America. For the time being [5] the symbols are nothing more than an indication of ownership amongst the people that helps the elite of villages settle disputes, but by 350 BCE the a written language of the Adena people had evolved into a system of writing that was just as complex as that used by the Egyptians[6]. With the beginning of writing we see the first stories written down by the Adena. What diverhistorical archaeologists have glimpsed from the stone tablets that the Adena scribes wrote on tells of chiefdoms, of crop harvests, and of the religion of the Adena.

    The Adena believed in a great Dreamtime [7] when men could become animals and animals could become men. Stories cover many themes and topics, as there are stories about creation of sacred places, land, people, animals and plants, law and custom. It is a complex network of knowledge, faith, and practices that derive from stories of creation. They believed that every person that existed was going to eternally exist in the Dreaming. This eternal part existed before the life of the individual began, and continued to exist when the life of the individual ends. Both before and after life, it was believed that this spirit-child existed in the Dreaming and is only initiated into life by being born through a mother. The Shaman of the Aden believed they could reconnect with the Dreamtime by smoking the hallucinogenic plant Nicotiana rustica [8]. During these excursions to the Dreamtime the Shaman were said to connect with nature and be able to communicate their findings with the corporeal world.

    Along with knowledge of Adena religion written proof of Social stratification within the Adena Culture is exposed by the Adena tablets. This increased social stability and reinforced sedentism, social stratification, specialized use of resources and probably, population growth. The Adena peoples had leaders, but they were not like powerful rulers who could command armies of slaves and soldiers. In most of the cities and towns of the time these leaders were families. These families acquired their position because of their ability to persuade others to agree with them on important matters such as trade and religion [9]. They also were able to develop influence by the by the creation of reciprocal obligations with other important members of the community.

    At this point in the Formative Period we see a number of Adena towns throughout the Ohio River Basin as well as three major cities which take tribute from the smaller towns. The largest of these cities lies in a relatively flat terrace in an area of hilly terrain in the southeastern Ohio’s Hocking River valley. It is the city of Shkupkujigwe. At the center of the urban environment of Shkupkujigwe is a massive burial mound [10]. It was supposedly to tomb of a great hunter who fought with black bear during the dreamtimes and tricked him into teaching man how to farm Hopniss. Around the great city are smaller mounds that are the mortuaries of the great families of Shkupkujigwe. The second largest city is WishkIs'nsoegen. WishkIs'nsoegen lies in the Paint Creek Valley just a few miles from what in another world would become Chillicothe, Ohio. WishkIs'nsoegen is run much like Shkupkujigwe; the family factions struggle for dominance and control over a stratified city each trying to prevent another from exerting to much control on the city.


    ***


    In our world Maize came into the Ohio River basin and changed the native people’s way of life dramatically. It surpassed the Eastern Agricultural Complex as the main source of food and became a dietary staple to the people of the Ohio River Basin. The only plant Maize did not supplant was the sunflower. This would lead to a dependency on the plant and eventually the rise of the Fort Ancient and Mississippian Cultures who would collapse, never giving rise to a civilization that matched those of Mesoamerica and the Andes.

    Things are very different in what we would call the Eastern United States in the world of “From Blight we Rise”. By the time Maize came to the Ohio River Basin and to the Great lakes region sedimentary life had already taken hold and Hopniss was the staple of the Adena culture’s diet. Thanks to Hopniss more plants had been domesticated by the Adena and they had moved from horticulture to permaculture in the blink of an eye. Maize didn’t supplant the Ohio River Basin Agricultural Package, instead it added to it. Maize added yet another stable and reliable crop to the ranks of domesticated flora that grew in the fields of the Adena.

    Along with Maize the Adena had started cultivating more crops since the start of the Early Formative. The cultivation of Prunus serotina (the Black Cherry) started around 500 BCE and by the start of the Middle Formative Period was grown by many of the Adena farmers. Cyanococcus (the Blueberry) had come to be grown in both the city and in farm fields all over the Ohio River Basin. Towns did not necessarily grow the same crops allowing for trade and greater interaction between various town and cities of the Ohio River Basin.

    For centuries the Adena had domesticated turkeys and grouses, but by the middle formative they had domesticated their first mammal. Like the ruffled grouse Corylus Americana was a staple of Odocoileus virginianus ‘s (the white-tailed deer) diet. Following a pattern similar to that set up by the domestication of the grouse and the turkey the Adena slowly domesticated the deer adding a much larger meat staple to their food supply [11]. The deer became a multi-purposed animal, supplying the Aden with food, clothing, jewelry, and a plow animal. The Adena’s capability to till the soil became greater allowing for larger fields and the deer made trade between cities faster now that the deer were able to carry the brunt of the load. The time was right for a technological revolution.

    ***

    [1]: The Chalcolithic is the term used to describe the Copper Age. The Chalcolithic period is known to have independently arisen in Europe, South Asia, South America, and East Asia. It was previously believed that Africa never had a Copper Age and went simply from Stone Age to Iron Age, but this has since proven falls, the oldest African Copper Age site goes back to 2000 BCE.

    [2]: The preservation process is very similar to the process of making Chuño which evolved in the Andean mountains. Small tubers were gathered. These small tubers were spread closely on flat ground, and allowed to freeze with low night temperatures. Between the freezing nights, they were exposed to the sun, and they were trampled on by foot. This process eliminated what little water was still retained by the tubers, and removed the skins, enabling successive freezing. This process provided a food supply during times of famine as well as giving rise to Hopniss flour based, which provided yet another use for the Hopniss in the diet of the native peoples.

    [3]: With the rise to prominence of the Adena and the advance of their culture around the great lakes region and the Ohio River Basin we see the Algonquian languages sub-family being the most prominent in the region. Pkon'wisnawen translates to “Snow Food”, reflecting both the fact that it is largely eaten during the winter months and its white coloration.

    [4]: We do know that the Adena used stylized zoomorphs and curvilinear geometric designs in their tablets and nested-diamond designs on their pottery in a larger more sedentary society these glyphs could, and likely would, be used to identify ties between families and ownership of goods. It starts out almost as branding, but overtime symbols are used to describe more than ownership they are used to describe attributes and animals eventually evolving into a written language.

    [5]: The time being roughly 500 BCE.

    [6]: The written language of the Adena is a combination of logographic and alphabetic elements.

    [7]: Many pieces of Adena art seemed to revolve around shamanic practices, and the transformation of humans into animals—particularly birds, wolves, bears and deer—and back to human form. Early Adena Shaman in OTL wore pieces of animals to reconnect with the world before them. The religion of the Adena featured in From Blight we Rise uses what we know about early Adena religion and combines it with later religions of the region as well as adding in new elements.

    [8]: The OTL Adena Shaman used a distinctive tubular smoking pipe, with either flattened or blocked-end mouthpieces, to smoke the hallucinogenic plant.

    [9]: In OTL we don’t really see this until the Hopewell Tradition, but with the earlier and faster rise of sedentary lifestyle as well as a larger populous we see it occur earlier and with greater pronouncement.

    [10]: In OTL we don’t really see the building of cities around the mounds until the Mississippian Culture. For the most part The Adena and the Hopewell of OTL had their town separate from their burial mounds. The difference here is that the Adena have developed large cities and towns earlier than OTL. The mounds are not what they once were; they have now become vanity projects of the elite families who govern the cities.

    [11]: The Fallow Deer (Dama dama) was domesticated in the Mediterranean around 100 BCE, so the domestication of deer can be done. The domestication, for the most part, ended after the Europeans domesticated better beasts of burden. Since the Aden don’t really have access to better pack animals the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) won’t be getting pushed aside anytime soon. Like the fallow deer it is used for its meat, its hide, and its antlers; but unlike the fallow it is also used to help plow fields and carry equipment and food.

    ***
    Comments? Questions? Thoughts?
     
  6. Screvier20 Well-Known Member

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  7. Cuāuhtemōc Instagram Fiend Banned

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    I feel that is going to be loads of win.
     
  8. mjanes Active Member

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    Awesome. Reminds me of some of Dale Cozort's stuff that I greatly enjoyed.

    My one criticism is that I'm a skeptical as to whether or not a white-tailed deer could be used as a plow or a pack animal, even after being domesticated as a food animal. Even if it that were possible, I imagine it taking a ridiculously long time.
     
  9. General_Finley Liberty Prime

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    thank you and I hope it lives up.

    I'm glad you like it. As for the White-tailed deer, its domestiction and use as a pack animal has been an ongoing process that first started not long after the domestication of the grouse. My writing style may make it seem like it was a quick process, but it has taken several hundred years to go from tamed White-Tailed Deer to the Pack Deer of the 3rd century BCE. It wasn't achieved in a generation or even three, it was a long process that lasted roughly 450 years
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  10. General_Finley Liberty Prime

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    I'm not avery good map maker so the quality of any maps for this TL will be nothing like the quality of maps produced by EDT, Are96, or any of the other great map makers on this forum. None the less I will try; here is a map depicting the Copper and Adena Cultures by the Middle Formative Period. The map does not show any specific chiefdoms or cities only the broads area covered by the cultures. The green an white area on the southern edge Lake Erie is series of Adena settlements.

    If you have any questions about the map or the update feel free to ask.

    Copper and Adena.png
     
  11. Troyer IV Instant Pirate - Just Add Rum

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    So by this point, I would assume that they've begun breeding for specific traits? Size, strength, stamina, speed, obedience, etc? That could be interesting by 1000 CE...

    Alright, quick question, as I misunderstood the Copper Culture bit. There are two distinct and separate cultures now, one called the Copper and one called the Adena? I read the "Old Copper Complex" and the following "Copper Culture" as kind of the same thing, hence the confusion.

    However, bot the Copper and Adena have knowledge/access/use of copper tools, yes?

    Oh, and Nicotiana rustica... isn't that a super-potent tobacco native to South America?
     
  12. General_Finley Liberty Prime

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    Yah, at this point the they have bugun breeding specific traits into the domesticated deer. For example, in the wild it is rare to see a male deer larger than 290Lb, but in the domesticated deer you can get males that wiegh in excess of 350 lbs. This course will continue, so by 1000 CE things will be interesting indeed.

    The Old Copper Complex is the Copper Culture, sorry if that was confusing. it is a distinct entity from the Adena Culture of the Ohio River Basin. As contact between the two has progressed they have become more similar to each other thanks to trade and extensive contact.

    Both the Adena and the Copper culture use Copper tools, but the Adena rely heavily on trade with the Copper culture for the copper that they work into tools.

    The oldest recorded evidence of Nicotiana rustica in Eastern North America appears around 100 CE, but evidence of the same type of pipes predates this by 1000 years. I've several sources that verify that the Adena shaman smoked Nicotiana rustica as far back as the OTL North American Archaic Period.
     
  13. Troyer IV Instant Pirate - Just Add Rum

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    Interesting... how'd it get there, I wonder? Of course, I suppose it could have been traded, but I doubt locally grown due to the environment required...

    Of course, I'm no expert. I remembered the name, so I Wiki'd it. Just an observation.

    Kudos, though, you have me highly interested in what's to come of the Americas.
     
  14. Domoviye Well-Known Member

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    I find the premise interesting, and some of the places you've led it to as well.
    I'm not a big fan of the domesticated deer, but it can be handwaved.
    Please continue.
     
  15. General_Finley Liberty Prime

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    I've yet to find a source that says how it got their, they all seem to completely gloss over that fact, which I find fairly annoying.

    Glad you like the TL so far.

    Glad you like most of it, can I ask why you aren't a fan of the idea of domesticated deer?
     
  16. Domoviye Well-Known Member

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    They seem to solitary to make good domestics.
    If they were domesticated I'd see them living in small herds like llama's, putting more than 10 or so in a herd would cause too much stress.
     
  17. General_Finley Liberty Prime

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    From the data I've been able to get on Fallow Deer Farms in Pennsylvania and Texas as well as the data on ideal herd size from Buck Manager and the Michigan Fish and Game department it seems to stress that herd size depends on the property and can be somewhat subjective at the beginning, and that it largely depends on keeping them from being malnurished due to inadequate food resources. Herd size will very with farm sizes and the food supply. As long as conditions are good in the Ohio River Basin the conditions will be conducive to herds between 20 and 50 animals. When conditions get bad you will only see herds of 10 at the max.
     
  18. Domoviye Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough, you know a lot more about it than I do.
    Now that that's out of the way get writing. :D
     
  19. sprite King of the Faeries

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  20. chr92 Well-Known Member

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    Enjoying this time line.

    Hope I'm not going on too much about the deer. But do their herders have a way of ranging them, like our sheep and cattle, or do they use heavy fences, like our red deer? If they do fence them, does such property become a highly desirable prize of war, or are there customs to keep it out of the fray? Do they castrate most, any, or no males? How do they handle rut?

    And how does the society handle the effects of the nicotine plant, especially on overdose?

    Not trying to discourage you. I hope this tl goes on a long time.