When someone refers to a society which consistently hunts or gathers to obtain what it needs in-order to survive, it is a foraging society. Foraging societies were the first societies founded by humans. Today, many of the oldest foraging inventions or techniques are still used in some kind of form, for example, controlled burns and simple tools, etc. Throughout time, many different groups of people hunted and gathered differently due to their world location, which in turn breaks foraging into three different categories.
The pedestrian style of foraging consists mainly of hunting and gathering on foot. These people inhabited rich areas with a varied population of species such as woodlands. Controlled burns were a common practice among many of these pedestrian villages which helped fertilize and allow for new growth forest. Pedestrian foragers noted that big game mammals don’t tend to stay in one area so groups that were involved in this foraging practice moved with the migratory routes of certain species. Groups tended to be small in size, only around twenty-five to thirty members and stayed in brush huts and small wooden tee-pees. When looking at this style of foraging, we can see social roles evolving within this society. Women and men both played essential roles in the community, but their roles differed greatly. The men were to go out and hunt game and also protect the village against intruders or wild animals. Women were to gather items such as fruit and plants. The females were also the care takers of the group. But, once in awhile, the roles of men and women intertwined, such as making tools and grooming/cleaning furs. The male and female roles were both very key in keeping an orderly society and the people depended on each other to complete or help with certain task. Pedestrian foraging is the most commonly known style of foraging used by our ancestors. This kind of foraging still exists in rural parts of the world such as in the Yukon because people aren’t willing to conform with modern society and, in-turn, are facing a cultural lag.
This style of foraging was practiced mainly on the Great Plains and grasslands. The use of horses helped drastically in hunting big game due to their speed. Plains Indians were a group that relied on equestrian foraging in order to feed their tribes. Having horses created a new kind of hunting which enabled these societies to have greater numbers than pedestrian foragers. The numbers increased due to the amount of food that was able to be harvested. This kind of society also migrated along with specific species that were common to the area such as bison, buffalo, and also guanaco (Species related to the llama). One new tactic used in the hunting with horses was the running of animals off cliffs and corralling individual species out of a group or pack. Equestrian foragers tended to live in clay and hay huts because that was the most prevalent item around. These huts were strong in structure which helped against wind; they were also made from clay which was used as a heat insulator in the winter months. Many men of this society also used horses to rob other societies. A good example of this would be the old western days.
Aquatic foraging was by far the most successful foraging practice. These foragers lived close to water (typically an ocean) and depended highly on it to provide food such as fish, crustaceans, and marine mammals. They also depended on these animals for lots of other purposes such as the skins for clothing/housing, medical needs, and as a highly valuable trade source. The people that subsided in these villages were typically there all year long, unless the fishing went bad or they needed to travel for medical or other needs that weren’t available in the village. Since this kind of foraging group tended to stay in one area, the structure of the society usually was stronger with a designated leader amongst the group. The houses that lined the banks were made from wood and these homes provided for permanent shelter. Aquatic foraging societies were so successful with adapting to their surrounds that many groups still exist, but the aquatic societies have changed and have to sell their harvested seafood in order to live instead of living off nature’s resources.