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Re: SV: [ANE-2] Population of Canaan?

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  • Ariel L. Szczupak
    ... One of my pet peeves :( A few years ago (2000?) I found some 2nd mbc population estimates in a paper to be strange and I looked more deeply into the
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 4, 2007
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      At 12:16 AM 2/4/2007, Niels Peter Lemche wrote:
      >... It has to do with the maximum amount of people that the land
      >itself can support, the state of agriculture in mind. Of course
      >there will be regional and periodical fluctuations. ...

      One of my pet peeves :(

      A few years ago (2000?) I found some 2nd mbc population estimates in
      a paper to be strange and I looked more deeply into the subject,
      tracing publications and references and running some population
      models. Unfortunately I archived my photocopies and notes in some box
      - but didn't index the location. So generalities from memory ...

      Many of the more recent papers (80's & 90's) used "magic" numbers,
      coefficients in calculations, taken from much older publications
      which made assumptions that were more romantic than realistic. Some
      of the recent publications tried to correct certain of these
      assumptions, but one at a time so the overall calculations were still
      off. Some examples:

      Minimal per day caloric intake was estimated too high, as if the ANE
      people lived on modern western middle class standards. Flock herding
      and sedentary agriculture are not high energy expenditure jobs, and
      there are no Pyramids in the Levant.

      There are estimates of food yield per surface area. If I recall
      correctly some of the more recent publications changed those figures
      for cultivable lands based on real life examples. But these estimates
      were for agricultural fields. What I didn't see in any publication is
      taking into account that the Levant is not only the home of wheat but
      of other very high energy foods that grow practically everywhere (and
      require very little labor) - olives, almonds, etc.

      Another type of estimate is people per building. My impression was
      that they were low.

      And I didn't like the way the estimates were calculated as static
      numbers per long period.

      First reason - the Levant is at the mercy of climate. I didn't find
      population estimates coupled with climatic evidence.

      But the worst is the total disregard to natural population growth. If
      I recall correctly, given optimal conditions human populations double
      every 12 years. The only real data we have on realistic conditions
      that reflect various conditions of living are from the last century
      or so - during which the overall human population doubled about every
      40 years .

      That means that an estimate of a Canaan population of 100,000 for the
      1st year of the 13th cbc will result, using today's population growth
      rate, in a population of 600,000 people by the end of that century
      and 3,600,000 by the end of the 12th CBC.

      I find these population estimates misleading because they ignore the
      rate of reproduction driving the population growth on one hand, and
      the factors that curb that growth, or cause major drops in the
      population size, on the other. It's the interplay between these
      opposing factors that reflects what is historically interesting, not
      average numbers.

      What is more informative, to a point, are "the maximum the land can
      support" estimates. My impression back then was that the maximum
      numbers, when given, were low.

      As I was going to finish this message I saw coming in ...

      >At 07:22 PM 2/4/2007, Yigal Bloch wrote:
      >Magen Broshi's [...] the maximum possible number of the inhabitants
      >of Palestine (Cisjordan) under the conditions of pre-industrial
      >economy being c. 1 million persons

      Just speculating out loud ... The current population of Israel & the
      Palestinian Authority is (I think, unchecked) around 9 million.
      Remove all the major and medium urban centers and I'm pretty sure
      you're left with over 2 million, maybe over 3 million. My gut feeling
      is that given an average-to-wet climate a population that size can
      exist without an industrial infrastructure. And the agricultural and
      pastoral parts of that population would leave very little material
      evidence, if any, for us to find. But that's just a gut feeling.


      Ariel.

      [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

      ---
      Ariel L. Szczupak
      AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
      POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
      Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
      ane.als@...
    • Niels Peter Lemche
      Dear George, Maybe as important will be the fluctuations of the climate, that in an area like Palestine, droughts are rather common (remember from my reading
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 4, 2007
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        Dear George,

        Maybe as important will be the fluctuations of the climate, that in an area like Palestine, droughts are rather common (remember from my reading some two or three years in a decade). Then we have deceases, plagues and the like (like the one that decimated Asia Minor after Suppiluliumas' campaign in Syria). Rate of child deaths upon all of that, and you end up with a population that may be more stable than your figures express.

        Isn't 9.000.000 a bit high from Palestine today? Rather some 6-7.000.000. but that is also an awful lot in such a small country (about the size of Danish Jutland where you only find 1.000.000 to 1.500.000 although the climate and soil is much more favourable).

        Niels Peter Lemche


        -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
        Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Ariel L. Szczupak
        Sendt: 4. februar 2007 21:44
        Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
        Emne: Re: SV: [ANE-2] Population of Canaan?

        At 12:16 AM 2/4/2007, Niels Peter Lemche wrote:
        >... It has to do with the maximum amount of people that the land
        >itself can support, the state of agriculture in mind. Of course
        >there will be regional and periodical fluctuations. ...

        One of my pet peeves :(

        A few years ago (2000?) I found some 2nd mbc population estimates in
        a paper to be strange and I looked more deeply into the subject,
        tracing publications and references and running some population
        models. Unfortunately I archived my photocopies and notes in some box
        - but didn't index the location. So generalities from memory ...

        Many of the more recent papers (80's & 90's) used "magic" numbers,
        coefficients in calculations, taken from much older publications
        which made assumptions that were more romantic than realistic. Some
        of the recent publications tried to correct certain of these
        assumptions, but one at a time so the overall calculations were still
        off. Some examples:

        Minimal per day caloric intake was estimated too high, as if the ANE
        people lived on modern western middle class standards. Flock herding
        and sedentary agriculture are not high energy expenditure jobs, and
        there are no Pyramids in the Levant.

        There are estimates of food yield per surface area. If I recall
        correctly some of the more recent publications changed those figures
        for cultivable lands based on real life examples. But these estimates
        were for agricultural fields. What I didn't see in any publication is
        taking into account that the Levant is not only the home of wheat but
        of other very high energy foods that grow practically everywhere (and
        require very little labor) - olives, almonds, etc.

        Another type of estimate is people per building. My impression was
        that they were low.

        And I didn't like the way the estimates were calculated as static
        numbers per long period.

        First reason - the Levant is at the mercy of climate. I didn't find
        population estimates coupled with climatic evidence.

        But the worst is the total disregard to natural population growth. If
        I recall correctly, given optimal conditions human populations double
        every 12 years. The only real data we have on realistic conditions
        that reflect various conditions of living are from the last century
        or so - during which the overall human population doubled about every
        40 years .

        That means that an estimate of a Canaan population of 100,000 for the
        1st year of the 13th cbc will result, using today's population growth
        rate, in a population of 600,000 people by the end of that century
        and 3,600,000 by the end of the 12th CBC.

        I find these population estimates misleading because they ignore the
        rate of reproduction driving the population growth on one hand, and
        the factors that curb that growth, or cause major drops in the
        population size, on the other. It's the interplay between these
        opposing factors that reflects what is historically interesting, not
        average numbers.

        What is more informative, to a point, are "the maximum the land can
        support" estimates. My impression back then was that the maximum
        numbers, when given, were low.

        As I was going to finish this message I saw coming in ...

        >At 07:22 PM 2/4/2007, Yigal Bloch wrote:
        >Magen Broshi's [...] the maximum possible number of the inhabitants
        >of Palestine (Cisjordan) under the conditions of pre-industrial
        >economy being c. 1 million persons

        Just speculating out loud ... The current population of Israel & the
        Palestinian Authority is (I think, unchecked) around 9 million.
        Remove all the major and medium urban centers and I'm pretty sure
        you're left with over 2 million, maybe over 3 million. My gut feeling
        is that given an average-to-wet climate a population that size can
        exist without an industrial infrastructure. And the agricultural and
        pastoral parts of that population would leave very little material
        evidence, if any, for us to find. But that's just a gut feeling.


        Ariel.

        [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

        ---
        Ariel L. Szczupak
        AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
        POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
        Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
        ane.als@...




        Yahoo! Groups Links
      • Rod Nicholas
        Josephus claims 600,000 to 1,300,000 were killed when the Romans destroyed the 2nd Temple and sacked Jerusalem, 70 ce. A further 580,000 were reputedly killed
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 4, 2007
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          Josephus claims 600,000 to 1,300,000 were killed when the Romans
          destroyed the 2nd Temple and sacked Jerusalem, 70 ce. A further
          580,000 were reputedly killed [Cassius Dio] during the Bar Kokhba
          uprising in 135 ce alone!
          One can readily find claims of a Palestine population from 25,000 to
          6 million leading up to the Christian [sic] era.
          The claimed deaths in wars during the Seleucid era would even wipe
          out most of those numbers?
          Pompeii in 63 BCE killed a 'quick' 12,000.
          What of natural attrition; high infant mortality, disease
          drought and pestilence?
          Logic would surely dictate the lower end of estimates for all these
          demographics?

          Rod Nicholas
          Melbourne
          Australia
        • Ariel L. Szczupak
          ... George, Ariel, what s in name? :) ... Occasional dry and wet years are part of the climate . The climate changes when multi-year average indicators
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 4, 2007
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            At 10:54 PM 2/4/2007, Niels Peter Lemche wrote:

            >Dear George,

            George, Ariel, what's in name? :)


            >Maybe as important will be the fluctuations of the climate, that in
            >an area like Palestine, droughts are rather common (remember from my
            >reading some two or three years in a decade).

            Occasional dry and wet years are part of the "climate". The climate
            changes when multi-year average indicators (temperature,
            precipitation, etc) change significantly. If I recall correctly in
            geological terms we are now in a drier-than-average climate for this
            area. A few drought years in a row is something that can be endured -
            but when it gets to 7 drought years in a row ... :)

            >Then we have deceases, plagues and the like (like the one that
            >decimated Asia Minor after Suppiluliumas' campaign in Syria). Rate
            >of child deaths upon all of that, and you end up with a population
            >that may be more stable than your figures express.

            The 20th century growth rate includes two world wars and assorted
            others, the Spanish Flu pandemic, the spread of the Sahara to what
            were once fertile lands, child deaths in Africa and Mao's
            one-child-per-family, etc. It's a "real" growth rate.

            I don't believe that the population in Canaan grew by a factor of 36
            in 200 years - but it should have. Stating "static" population
            estimates per archeological period of several hundred years hides the
            historically interesting question - why didn't the population grow so
            much. Whatever happened back then, it wasn't some kind of stable
            population utopia.


            >Isn't 9.000.000 a bit high from Palestine today? Rather some 6-7.000.000.

            Yep, I was wrong. Israel's population is 7.1 million (Nov 2006,
            Israeli bureau of statistics). Palestinian Authority - 3.9 million
            (mid 2006, Palestinian bureau of statistics). Total - 11 million.
            [But there are reservations concerning the Palestinian number, saying
            it's inflated by at least 1 million - I have no idea if that's true or not]

            Since the Israeli bureau of statistics has a spreadsheet with
            population per location ...

            http://www.cbs.gov.il/population/new_2007/table3.xls

            ... I calculated the number of people in places that have less than
            25,000 people - about 2 million. [For those familiar, 25K people is
            about the size of Ofakim or Yahud].

            >but that is also an awful lot in such a small country

            Tell me about it :)

            >(about the size of Danish Jutland where you only find 1.000.000 to
            >1.500.000 although

            Western Europe is a negative factor in the global population growth
            rate. I'm too tired to check if it's because it's a slower growth
            rate or actually a negative growth rate (population shrinking).

            >the climate and soil is much more favourable).

            Denmark favorable to human habitation? You mean the Vikings went
            raiding for fun and not out of necessity?



            >Niels Peter Lemche
            >
            >-----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
            >Fra: <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            >[mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Ariel L. Szczupak
            >Sendt: 4. februar 2007 21:44
            >Til: <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            >Emne: Re: SV: [ANE-2] Population of Canaan?
            >
            >At 12:16 AM 2/4/2007, Niels Peter Lemche wrote:
            > >... It has to do with the maximum amount of people that the land
            > >itself can support, the state of agriculture in mind. Of course
            > >there will be regional and periodical fluctuations. ...
            >
            >One of my pet peeves :(
            >
            >A few years ago (2000?) I found some 2nd mbc population estimates in
            >a paper to be strange and I looked more deeply into the subject,
            >tracing publications and references and running some population
            >models. Unfortunately I archived my photocopies and notes in some box
            >- but didn't index the location. So generalities from memory ...
            >
            >Many of the more recent papers (80's & 90's) used "magic" numbers,
            >coefficients in calculations, taken from much older publications
            >which made assumptions that were more romantic than realistic. Some
            >of the recent publications tried to correct certain of these
            >assumptions, but one at a time so the overall calculations were still
            >off. Some examples:
            >
            >Minimal per day caloric intake was estimated too high, as if the ANE
            >people lived on modern western middle class standards. Flock herding
            >and sedentary agriculture are not high energy expenditure jobs, and
            >there are no Pyramids in the Levant.
            >
            >There are estimates of food yield per surface area. If I recall
            >correctly some of the more recent publications changed those figures
            >for cultivable lands based on real life examples. But these estimates
            >were for agricultural fields. What I didn't see in any publication is
            >taking into account that the Levant is not only the home of wheat but
            >of other very high energy foods that grow practically everywhere (and
            >require very little labor) - olives, almonds, etc.
            >
            >Another type of estimate is people per building. My impression was
            >that they were low.
            >
            >And I didn't like the way the estimates were calculated as static
            >numbers per long period.
            >
            >First reason - the Levant is at the mercy of climate. I didn't find
            >population estimates coupled with climatic evidence.
            >
            >But the worst is the total disregard to natural population growth. If
            >I recall correctly, given optimal conditions human populations double
            >every 12 years. The only real data we have on realistic conditions
            >that reflect various conditions of living are from the last century
            >or so - during which the overall human population doubled about every
            >40 years .
            >
            >That means that an estimate of a Canaan population of 100,000 for the
            >1st year of the 13th cbc will result, using today's population growth
            >rate, in a population of 600,000 people by the end of that century
            >and 3,600,000 by the end of the 12th CBC.
            >
            >I find these population estimates misleading because they ignore the
            >rate of reproduction driving the population growth on one hand, and
            >the factors that curb that growth, or cause major drops in the
            >population size, on the other. It's the interplay between these
            >opposing factors that reflects what is historically interesting, not
            >average numbers.
            >
            >What is more informative, to a point, are "the maximum the land can
            >support" estimates. My impression back then was that the maximum
            >numbers, when given, were low.
            >
            >As I was going to finish this message I saw coming in ...
            >
            > >At 07:22 PM 2/4/2007, Yigal Bloch wrote:
            > >Magen Broshi's [...] the maximum possible number of the inhabitants
            > >of Palestine (Cisjordan) under the conditions of pre-industrial
            > >economy being c. 1 million persons
            >
            >Just speculating out loud ... The current population of Israel & the
            >Palestinian Authority is (I think, unchecked) around 9 million.
            >Remove all the major and medium urban centers and I'm pretty sure
            >you're left with over 2 million, maybe over 3 million. My gut feeling
            >is that given an average-to-wet climate a population that size can
            >exist without an industrial infrastructure. And the agricultural and
            >pastoral parts of that population would leave very little material
            >evidence, if any, for us to find. But that's just a gut feeling.
            >
            >Ariel.
            >
            >[100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]
            >
            >---
            >Ariel L. Szczupak
            >AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
            >POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
            >Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
            ><mailto:ane.als%40gmail.com>ane.als@...
            >
            >Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >

            Ariel.

            [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

            ---
            Ariel L. Szczupak
            AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
            POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
            Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
            ane.als@...
          • Ariel L. Szczupak
            ... The Roman period added public works - roads, aqueducts, etc. I suppose that increased the maximum number of people the land could support. It is also the
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 5, 2007
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              At 01:13 AM 2/5/2007, Rod Nicholas wrote:

              >Josephus claims 600,000 to 1,300,000 were killed when the Romans ...

              The Roman period added public works - roads, aqueducts, etc. I
              suppose that increased the maximum number of people the land could
              support. It is also the time of the Nabateans which may indicate more
              rainfall in the area. But I don't know much about that period so I'll
              leave this to others.

              [later ...]

              Found this:

              http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0010/001036/103637E.pdf

              Arie S. Issar, "Impacts of climate variations on water management and
              related socio-economic systems", UNESCO 1995.


              P.24:

              "From about 2,300 to 1,700 BP a global cold period occurred. In the
              opinion of Issar (1990a) this was the early stage of a mini-glacial
              period ... The more benign climate in the desert of Judea and Edom promoted the
              flourishing of the Nabatean kingdom which was established in the
              first century B.C."

              >What of natural attrition; high infant mortality, disease
              >drought and pestilence?

              These are included in the 20th century global growth rate. The point
              is that if the Canaanite population did not grow at the rate we know
              from the 20th cad, what were the causes?

              >Logic would surely dictate the lower end of estimates for all these
              >demographics?

              [I associate "logic" with formal, strict arguments, which is not the
              case. I'd prefer something like "reason".]

              Why? The material evidence doesn't suggest stagnant societies. It
              suggests cycles of expansions followed by destructions or
              abandonments. Fluctuations.

              "I have water at 50C" is correct both for me having a glass of water
              at 50C and for me having two glasses, one with ice sludge and the
              other with boiling water. The statement is statistically correct in
              both cases, but it is misleading in the second case. I find
              statements of "population per archeological period" to be similarly misleading.



              Ariel.

              [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

              ---
              Ariel L. Szczupak
              AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
              POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
              Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
              ane.als@...
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