When civilizations lived in hunter/gatherer communities there were a number of important innovations that were critical for human survival. Devices whose existence we today take for granted.
However, all discoveries have their origin somewhere. According to Archeology.Org (2017), the first creation of stone-tipped tools finds their origin some 460,000 years ago in Africa. And some of these tools were not just crudely put together without thought or reason. Take for example the spear. Evidence suggests that tips were meticulously sharpened as to penetrate the thick hide of some animals that were to be hunted. Moreover, the lower half of the spear tips had been filed down and flattened as to attach more easily to the shaft.
Such differences may seem like minor details, but they are what determines the difference between functional and non-functional technology. This is evidence that even ancient people strived to come up with creative solutions to their problems, not just their modern counterparts. And how was this achieved? The answer is simple. It was achieved by pondering on the right questions. This allowed them to disassemble a problem and come up with creative ways to overcome it. This process of problem, curiosity, asking questions and innovation is one that can be traced throughout the timeline of humanity.
After stone-tipped tools and similar innovations came into being in the stone-age, there were other problems that humanity needed to overcome. Take for example the problem of food supplies. As populations grew and tribal villages were starting to be replaced by larger communities that would eventually grow into the cities we know today, the need for inventions that could support a growing population, in terms of food, was desperately needed. According to the National Geographic (2019), the agricultural age started around 12,000 years ago, and is also sometimes referred to as the Neolithic revolution because of the drastic changes brought to human lifestyles.
Two of the largest contributing and complementing technologies that were brought about by curiosity were the domestication of plants, and using animals as a workforce through different methods such as yoke plowing.
Ancient hunter-gatherer tribes were largely nomadic. They would often leave their settlements during different seasons in order to benefit from wild growing plants and moving herds . The ability to localize such plants would be the difference between living in one place, or moving for the rest of their existence.
While it is not known who exactly planted the first type of domestic crop, it is known that some such as einkorn wheat, hulled barley, peas, and lentils were grown by ancient populations in the middle east.
According to Zeder (2011) in Current Anthropology, this started around 9500BC. And while we may take for granted the fields of wheat and corn that we drive past occasionally, it is important to remember that at some point there had to be a person who saw wild-growing plants, and thought that there could be a way to harness it to feed their own family.