I have read that during the first hundreds of thousands of years of human civilizations, people were hunters and gatherers. Prior to them settling down as farmers and building towns, were there markets that they built?
Thank you,





This is pretty much a question of what came first (the chicken or the egg?). When Homo sapiens was hunting and gathering, the sharing of whatever was caught, butchered or gathered was usually for immediate or extended family, and later within the clan. As farm communities were settled and then expanded into permanent towns, people could afford to be more specialized, depending on each one’s talent, and start bartering their wares among each other. It was the economic stability made possible by farming and herding that led to the surpluses in food and other commodities that in turn made the forming of markets in the center of town—and later, the city— inevitable.



Jon Guttman

Research Director

World History


More Questions at Ask Mr. History


Don’t miss the next Ask Mr. History question! To receive notification whenever any new item is published on HistoryNet, just scroll down the column on the right and sign up for our RSS feed.