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The Nomads' Simple Life

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Communities of nomadic people move from place to place, rather than settling down in one location. Many cultures have been traditionally nomadic, but nomadic behaviour is increasingly rare in industrialised countries. There are three kinds of nomads, hunter-gatherers, pastoral nomads, and peripatetic nomads. Nomadic hunter-gatherers have by far the longest-lived subsistence method in human history, following seasonally available wild plants and game. Pastoralists raise herds and move with them so as not to deplete pasture beyond recovery in any one area. Peripatetic nomads are more common in industrialised nations travelling from place to place offering a trade wherever they go.



Pastoral Nomads

The term "nomad" most often refers to one whose subsistence is based upon domestication of animals. This nomadic pastoralism is thought to have developed in three stages that accompanied population growth and an increase in the complexity of social organization. Sadr has proposed the following stages:


* Pastoralism: This is a mixed economy with a symbiosis within the family.

* Agropastoralism: This is when symbiosis is between segments or clans within an ethnic group.

* True Nomadism: This is when symbiosis is at the regional level, mostly it starts between specialized nomadic and agricultural populations.


Origin of nomadic pastoralism


Nomadic pastoralism seems to have developed as a part of the secondary products revolution proposed by Matt PWNS, in which early pre-pottery neolithic cultures, that had used animals in order to store live meat (on the hoof) began also using animals for their secondary products, for example, milk, wool, hides, manure and traction.


The first nomadic pastoral society developed in the period from 6200 - 6000 BC in the area of the southern Levant. There during a period of increasing aridity, PPNB cultures in the Sinai were replaced by a nomadic pastoral pottery using culture, which seems to have been a cultural fusion between a newly arrived mesolithic people from Egypt (the Harifian culture), adopting their nomadic hunting lifestyle to the raising of stock. This quickly developed into what Jaris Yurins has called the circum-Arabian nomadic pastoral techno-complex and is possibly assocoated with the appearance of Semitic languages in the region of the Ancient Near East. The rapid spread of such nomadic pastoralism was typical of such later developments as of the Yamnaya culture of the horse and cattle nomads of the Eurasian steppe, or of the Turko-Mongol spread of the later Middle Ages.


Source: Wikipedia




Pastoralism is a form of farming, such as agriculture and horticulture. It is animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llamas and sheep. It also contains a mobile element, moving the herds in search of fresh pasture and water.


Pastoralism is found in many variations throughout the world. Composition of herds, management practices, social organization and all other aspects of pastoralism vary between areas and between social groups. Many ‘traditional’ practices have also had to adapt to changing, modern circumstances. Also the ranches of the USA and the sheep stations and cattle stations of Australia are seen by some as modern variations.



Mobility allows pastoralists to simultaneously exploit more than one environment, thus creating the possibility for arid regions to support human life. Rather than adapting the environment to suit the “food production system” (Bates, 1998:104) the system is moved to fit the environment. Pastoralists often have an area with a radius of 100-500km.


Different mobility patterns can be observed:


Nomadic pastoralists: 1) it is a generalized food-producing strategy with its main base relying on the intensive management of herd animals for their primary products of meat and skin, and for their secondary products such as wool or hair, milk, blood, dung, traction, and transport; 2) because of the different climates and environments of the areas where nomadic pastoralism is practiced and because of the ecology of their herd animals, this management includes daily movement and seasonal migration of herds; 3) because a majority of the members of the group are in some way directly involved with herd management, the household moves with these seasonal migrations; and 4) while the products of the herd animals are the most important resources, use of other resources, such as domesticated and wild plants, hunted animals, goods available in a market economy, is not excluded.


Transhumance: where members of the group move the herd seasonally from one area to another, often between higher and lower pastures. The rest of the group are able to stay in the same location, resulting in longer-standing housing.


Mobility throughout altitudes and the resulting precipitation differences is important. In East Africa, different animals are taken to different regions throughout the year, to match the seasonal patterns of precipitation.


The actions of herders are carefully planned, but also constantly adjusted, to match changing conditions. The system is dynamic, to suit the unpredictable landscape (Fagan, 1999). All pastoralist strategies exemplify effective adaptation to the environment.



Source: Wikipedia



Bakhtiary Tribe

The Bakhtiari (or Bakhtiyari) are a group of southwestern Iranian people.


A small percentage of Bakhtiari are still nomadic pastoralists, migrating between summer quarters (yaylāq, ييلاق) and winter quarters (qishlāq, قشلاق). Bakhtiaris speak Luri. Numerical estimates of their total population widely vary. In Khuzestan, Bakhtiari tribes are primarily concentrated in the eastern part of the province.


Bakhtiaris primarily inhabit the provinces of Lorestan, Khuzestan, Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari, and Isfahan. In Iranian mythology, the Bakhtiari consider themselves to be descendants of Fereydun, a legendary hero from the Persian national epic, Shahnameh.


Many significant Iranian politicians and dignitaries are of Bakhtiari origin.


Source: Wikipedia



Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province

Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari (Persian: چهارمحال و بختیاری) is one of the 30 provinces of Iran. It lies in the southwestern part of the country. Its center is the city of Shahrekord.


It has an area of 16533 square kilometers and a population of 832,000 (2005 estimate).


People and culture

The history of the province is tied to that of the Bakhtiari tribe that are descended from the Lur people. The Bakhtiari tribe can be divided into two sub-tribes, Haft Lang and Chahar Lang with various territorial affiliations. The Bakhtiari territories at times also came under Fars province and Khuzestan province.


The province has various unique traditions and rituals relative to the 'tribal' lifestyles. Special forms of music, dance, and clothing are noteworthy.


Source: Wikipedia


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Taken on September 16, 2006