The Riddle Of The World


6 X 60 Minutes

Shooting Script

Prog. 6

June 1999

Windfall Films Ltd.

22-24 Torrington Place



Tel : 0171 637 2666

Fax : 0171 637 2612

Part 6

The Cow That Ate The World

Time : 8,000BC to 2,000AD

Place : The World

Theme : How, with the thaw of the ice age, Eurasia's unique ecological and geographical landscape, rich with animals and crops, propelled it's inhabitants towards building  tehnologically advanced civilisations, capable of colonising the continents of Africa, America and Australia, whose lands and resources inhibited the growth and spread of similar empires.


1830.  Rocket's first journey from Liverpool to Manchester. Montage industrial machinery.

In the years following the Rocket's first journey from Liverpool to Manchester in 1830, foreign visitors to Britain were left wondering why their country had not seen the likes of such machines and industry before.

Accounts of foreign visitors, writing sup. on globe. Iconic images of foreign cultures from Progs 2-5

On our journey through world history so far, we have turned the clock back 1000 years to investigate why China - the land invention, Japan - an island off main land like Britain, Turkey and other Western European countries failed to steam up like Britain in 18th and 19th Centuries. But we've confined our investigations to just one continent : Eurasia.

What about other continents - Australia, America and Africa. Why did industrialisation not occur sooner here? Why did our ancestors evolving in the cradle of civilisation with a few million years head start on Eurasians, not take to building ocean going ships, invent firearms, intensively farm food or mass produce steel weapons to build world conquering civilisations?

State of the Planet : 8,000BC

The spinning globe. Rotatations slow down as the camera zooms ever closer to Africa's continent. Projections alight the continent....images of wild animals running the serengeti plains, tribes dancing rituals, desert communities, mountainous terrain....

Anyone looking down on the earth 10,000 years ago might have been forgiven for predicting that Europe would end up a set of vassal states of a sub-Saharan African empire. The sole cradle of human evolution for millions of years, perhaps the homeland of anatomically modern Homo Sapiens, a land of highly diverse climates and habitats, and of the world's highest human diversity; Africa should have been set for taking over the world.

Yet industrialisation passed it by. Native Africans, Australians and Americans alike found themselves landed, many eliminated,  by technologically superior Eurasians. Why was this?

To investigate these big questions, we need to trace back the history of two technologies central to the development and expansion of civilisations. Food and Communications.

Joel Mokyr picks up the argument in a MacDonald's restaurant in Chicago. A MacDonald's refrigerator car unloads supplies outside. Meat sizzles in the kitchen. Customers gorging.

Today, food is transported over the whole globe by ship, plane, train and truck. We take it for granted our meals are a geographical mishmash. This takeaway is made up of pork, farmed first in China, potatoes, first farmed in the Andes, flavoured with pepper from India, and washed down with a cup of coffee, brewed first in Ethiopia.

The story of how all these ingredients came together to be on this plate, available anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, involves espoinage, social manipulation and the mass slaughter of people.

Critical ingredients for the development of civilisation, the story of how humankind tamed the likes of the cow out of the wild into burger bars around the world is ultimately the story of how the world evolved into the place it is today.

So who was best suited then to put the first burger bar on the map? Africa, with it's plains teeming with wildlife?The Inca's farming potatoes in the Andes? We need to search for the world's first farmers.

Farmer Power

Hazy horizon, wheat swaying in the wind. A silhouette of wheat harvesting using scythe. Cows grazing, congregating around water oasis.

With the thaw of the ice age, hunter-gatherer groups in Europe and Asia  capitalised on the new fertile, river fed soils and blossoming supplies of sustinance turning gradually to a more reliable, sedentary existance. Wild animals gathered to graze the same opulent landscapes.

By 8,000BC, hunters had become farmers, the hunted the farmed.

We've seen how critical the farming and storage of food was for supporting expanding populations, armies, governments and religions in Eurasian countries like China (Prog. 5). But what about the second component of agriculture; rearing livestock?

Composited timeless images of horses coupled to winding mechanisms raising water from mines....a cow being milked....ox drawn ploughs cultivating the earth....nepal, pig being caught and roasted around the removed from hides and woven.

People with animals had more than meat. Animals preceeded electricity, steam, wind and water, as the prime source of power beyond that of the human body. From the traction required to pull ploughs, to the sturdy pillions needed to traverse unchartered terrain; the hide to shield our skins from the cold, to the energy giving proteins needed to stimulate the human mind and body.

Throughout history, the most useful animals have been big mammals -  horses, sheep, cattle, camels, buffalo, yaks and pigs. Such ivestock fed more people more efficiently than crops in four ways; providing meat, milk, fertiliser and ploughtraction, as well as transport and clothing.

Projected images onto the table onto books illustrating the evolution of animals bred for specific traits; line drawings of pigs, cows and sheep changing in size as reared etc.

The first farmers slowly learned to selectively breed the animals  that most efficiently delivered these goods. Along with crops, farming increased the yield of food off the land 100-fold, feeding more people with more certainty than ever before.

Countries able to rear these mammals could be warmer, faster, better nourished, more travelled and have more power to hand.

So where in the world around 8,000BC was animal power at its strongest?

A tri-split screen sequence using animals and their products to represent impact of farming in Africa, Eurasia and Americas.

Africa's sub-Saharan plains were teeming with elephants, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, pigs....over 50 prime mammalian candidates awaiting herding. America, with its bison, llamas, yaks, bighorn sheep, had less, just over 20. But Eurasia boasted over 70 such species. Fundamentally, it had the five most agriculturally important; sheep, pigs, horses, cattle and goats.

China, wide landscape shots of farmers tending to their animals. Small communities living off the land. A water-buffalo pulls a plough. Hand operated irrigation devices flood rice fields. Rice harvesting in the valleys. (This sequence might be shot in the Hwang-Ho valley where farming first began - advise of Chris Cullen needed)

China's early successes are deeply rooted in its agricultural history. It was one of the world's first centres of plant and animal farming. In the warmer, drier North, millet was first planted, while in the wetter, cooler South rice harvesting arose. From 7,500BC, pigs, dogs, geese, ducks and chickens were slowly domesticated for food alongside water buffalo to pull ploughs, and silkworms for cloth.

China farming projected onto globe. Pull out to reveal farming 'hot spots' around rest of Eurasia. 'Fast-forward' timelapse on globe from 8,000BC to 3,000BC-hotspots consume Eurasia (181GGS)

In other parts of Eurasia around the same time, the first steps were taken towards rearing sheep, goats, cattle, wheat and barley. Slowly small farming communities grew into towns and traded their crops and animals with one another all over Eurasia. By 3000BC, thanks to these primitive trade routes, people in Eurasia had the worlds most multicultural  menus.

How was the rest of the world getting on? What was on the American's menu? What animals were farmers in Africa herding?

Animal Attitude

Serengeti Plains, Africa. Storming animals, dust fills the air.

Apart from Guinae Pigs, very little. In three separate regions of Africa, farming had arisen. Rice and Guinae pigs formed the staple diet of those south of the Sahara, Yams and rice fed those in the West, and coffe and teff Ethiopians. But no big mammals were being farmed.

Why weren't Africans riding zebras like Eurasian's were horses? Or rearing pigs like the Chinese? Or harnessing buffalo to ploughs?

In a wildlife range (not Africa!), Alan meets one of the keepers. They exchange ideas as to why some animals take well to being captively reared, and others don't, giving demonstrations wherever possible. The keeper explains

"We think of Africa as the continent of big, wild mammals. But it takes a special kind of animal to want to be brought out of the wild and be successfully farmed.

If we compare horses to zebras. They've been hitched to carts, tried out as draft animals, and often saddled - only young ones though; their temprament grows impossibly dangerous later on in life. They bite people and don't let go, and they're impossible to lasso with a rope because of their unfailing ability to watch the rope noose fly towards them so duck their heads. They injure more American zookeepers than tigers. Unsuitable tempraments  is why even modern attempts have failed to domesticate the elk, eland, African buffalo, gazelle and bear.

To be worth keeping, farmed animals must grow quickly, and eat widely available food. Raising carnivorous animals means wasting corn, feeding animals to feed the carnivores. So no carnivore has ever been domesticated. Although vegetarians with unfussy paletes, anyone rearing elephants and gorillas would have to wait 15 years for them to mature into adults. Similaly for rhinos. Whereas pigs are  the most efficient animal on the planet, converting grain to meat three times more efficiently than cows or sheep.

Farm animals must reproduce frequently in the open. Shyness prohibited the Egyptians from domesticating prized Cheetahs. Not until 1960 was one born in a zoo.

If Eurasians could domesticate sheep, what stopped North Americans rearing the bighorn sheep? There's no point farming animals in large numbers if they can't stand living amongst each other and with humans. The social characteristics of sheep, cows, goats, horses and wolves means they adapt well to living in large numbers and are tolerant of being herded by humans, whereas cats, deer, and bighorn sheep do not.

Split screen sequence: zebras/horses; bush pigs/pigs; buffalo/oxen etc.

Although elephants, giraffes and some zebras have been tamed, we've never been able to selectively breed these animals in captivity, in large numbers, modifying their genetic makeup so as to become more useful to humans, not even today.

So if I was going to set up a farm today, I'd start off rearing cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses, just like the world's first farmers did. Although hippo's, as  four-ton vegetarians, could make a great barnyard animal they're far too dangerous for that."

Alan around the table concludes his argument.

So to be successively domesticated, animals must be quite docile, submissive to humans, cheap to feed, and grow rapidly, breeding well in captivity.

In America only one large mammal met the criteria, the llama, adopted by Andean communities around 3,500BC. It lost its others along with the wooly mammoth in the ice age .

All of Africa's mammals failed the test. Besides, there were still enough wild animals roaming the plains to make hunting a thrilling and rewarding experience.

So even though African's had a 7million years head start over Eurasians, there was little insentive to settle down and farm meat to sell in burger bars. 

 Power to the People

Iron globe. 'Fast-forward' evolution 8000BC onwards. 'Hot-spots' representing settled farming evolve.

By 3,000BC, farmers and herders had spread all over Eurasia, while only a few scattered communities had evolved in Africa and the Americas. 10,000 years ago, Eurasians were the best fed, fastest and most energy adundant people on the earth. But the ramifications were bigger....

Motion-control type sequence....a rice planters hand in the field moves to the muddy bank...mud gathered and formed into pots....loaded into moulds for bricks....moves to land, bricks 'cemented' together with mud....into forest, cutting of trees with primitive axe....liquid iron poured into a mould....another mould opens to reveal a shining axe.

Settled farming brought with it a host of other technologies that helped build the first empires. Pottery to store grains, bricks to construct buildings and fortifications to protect food and people, elaborate cemetries and the spinning and weaving of cloth all evolved alongside agriculture. Bronze-working for tools resulted in China developing by far the earliest cast-iron production in the world by 500BC.  Similar advances were made in Egypt and Mesopotamia. 

China. A tree trunk is split into flat secions, three are layed down, chipped into semi-circles, then joined. In the fields, irrigation devices, wheelbarrows.

The first farming communities in Eurasia also developed the wheel. It spread with farming, to take the strain off farmers backs and explore and trade in further afield.

Jingdezhen, China. Donkeys power gearing pulping porcelain ingredients.

The lack of animals left Americans and Africans mechanically powerless compared to Eurasia. Coupled to systems of geared wheels, they ground grain, raised water, irrigated fields, drove blast furnaces, made paper, polished stone, produced salt, textiles and sawed wood.

As of 1492, all of those operations to which animal, water and wind power were being applied in Eurasia were still being carried out by human muscle in Africa and the America's.

Britain realised the value of animals at an early stage. By the 15 century,  Britain was using more animals, to do more things than any other country in the world, with huge ramifications for its emerging industries.

Escape from the Energy Trap : Animals in Britain

Alan back at the table sets up another puzzle. Projected images of a farmer feeding his animals fall onto a book on the table with simple line drawings of animals.

Animals are not cheap; one working horse eats the fodder produced by about 5 acres of land each year. As the population built up before the Black Death, the demands for animal feed may have clashed with that of humans. Most societies in history, such as Japan, gradually phased out animals, replacing them with a combination of crops and human labour.  It's somewhat of a mystery therefore why Britain did the opposite. ...

Account of medieval continental farmer reverting from pastoral to arable farming .  A traveller abroad notes the lack of animals. 'Fast-forwad' recap of Prog. 5 section on agriculture in Britain.

Mixed farming was key to the growing superiority of British agriculture. By the 16th Century, it was farming three times* more animals than any other country in Western Europe. While Britain intensively farmed sheep, goats, pigs cattle and horses, countries on the continet reverted to arable farming. Yet animal products were more valuable and nutricious; whereas a French peasant could only meet the needs of his own family plus half those of another, aided by their animals, an English farmer could produce enough food for three families.

How and why could such a small island which not only devoted half of its grain harvest to making beer, devote half of its land mass to rearing greedy animals?

Alan visits Pant-y-gasseg drift mine, South Wales, the  last mine in Britain to use animals.  Shadows and silhouettes cast by miners lamps on a coal mine wall of pick hammers, crippled bodies chipping away, 6fps abstract images of chipping, gleaming coal.

The secret lay in the use of Coal.  Agrarian societies needed up to one third of  their land to grow wood for heating, cooking and  craft activities, limiting land free for agriculture. This rule inhibited all other civilisations. But starting as early as Anglo Saxon times, and rising very steeply from the 16th Century, the British switched to coal.

A virtuous circle was established.... The flooding of the coal mines was overcome by using horses pushing drainage devices....and such animals could be kept because the land ususally used for forests was freed by coal.

'Fast-forward' recap of Prog. 2. Cows grazing in timeless landscape. Horses pulling winding gin. Silhouette on a horizon of a pit pony led by miner hauling a cart load of coal.

Coal released Britain from the energy trap, to burn lime as fertiliser increasing agricultural productivity, heat and cook food in the expanding cities and fuel the industries of tanning, dyeing, brewing, iron and glass.

Intense sheep farming enabled Britain to become the world leader in the woolen industry. It's fine cows produced milk, cheese, butter, meat, manure and it's national food - roast beef, as well as its characteristic landscape. Britain's horses bred to become the largest and strongest in the world, powering early industrialism in fields, mills and mines.

The extraordinary growth of animal power was only possible because of coal - the two went hand in hand, until finally coal replaced animals.

1830 Audit. We tally animals in Britain  vs Japan/China/Germany/France vs Britain.

But other countries had coal. Why did the rich coal fields of Germany, France and Japan remain largely unexploited? Coal mining started in Japan like Britain, in the 16thC; used to extract salt from sea water. But its scale and complexity never matched Britain's. Why?

Split screen 'Fast-forward' recap of Prog., bamboo/iron, wood/stone etc.

Horses needed to drain and haul coal were in short supply in Japan. Japan's waterways were not as maintained as Britains. Fundamentally, where coal was used to make glass and iron in Britain, Japan's use of these materials was non-existant. Where Britain used coal to boil water, Japan had many hot springs. Japan's flimsy bamboo and paper houses made heating systems dangerous, whereas coal kept the damp, wet, windswept island of Britain warm.

With abundant woodland and little demand, Japan had little use for coal.

Split screen sequence. Coalbrookdale, smoke, dirty faces seen in the smog, people in dark clothing. Japan, geisha making up, dressing in brightly coloured, ornate silk gown.

Description of a visitor to 17th Century England constrasted with Edward Morse's description of smoke-free Tokyo....two different worlds. Coal stoking Rocket's boiler. Rocket ticket printed.

The power, food and cloth of animals was harnessed to a much greater effect in Britain than any other country in the world. By the 17th Century, Britain had a unique, coal-dependent economy. It was even being used in simple engines to pump water for London. The final evolution of the Rocket was thus both a revolutionary change, but one with its roots in 8,000BC.

A few, scattered farming communities did eventually evolve in Africa and the America's, but thousands of years after those in Eurasia. Why did they not unite to form expanding empires? Alongside farming, another technology, essential for knitting together of civilisations evolved

Writing - The Law of the Land

This sequence could be centralised, again, on the birth of the Chinese Empire with Chris . Needs concentrating around a specific event/building. Chris takes up the argument at the table.

The legacies of the first empires; the pyramids etc. were huge feats of engineering, requiring the organisation of a vast workforce. Such organisation was not possible without centralised beurocracy. Underpinning the ruling of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Chinese Empires was Writing.

Compared with oral communication, writing is a great labour saving device, freeing communication from the restriction of time and space, allowing the reader to interrupt the flow of thought, repeat it, or concentrate upon its isolated parts. Knowledge brings power, and writing brought power by making it possible to transmit knowledge further, with far greater accuracy, authority and quantity than ever before.

Modern day Chinese/Japanese classroom. Kids learning to speak and write Chinese.

From the beginnings of literacy in China around 1,300BC, it has had only a single writing system. Why, given its size, when dozens evolved and spread throughout the rest of Eurasia from origins in Mesopotamia and Egypt around 3,000BC?

Searching for clues to this puzzle might help us understand writing's role in building empires.

Iron globe. 'Fast-forward' 3000BC-1000BC. 'Hot-spots' representing settled communities. Images of hands exchanging grain and writing projected onto globe.

Writing too has its origins in agriculture. The creation of food surpluses through intensive farming gradually freed a very small part of the population to live off and control the 99% involved in agricultural activity.

By 2,000BC, disparate farming communities in Northern China had grown in size and merged to form the first Dynasties ; the ruling elite controlling the produce of the farmers.

Moden day China. Primitive town market. Animals, rice and grains exchanging hands. Accounts of transactions being made, price signs etc.

The size of the community they governed and growth of trade that came with it led to a need for the beurocrats controlling the collation, storage and distribution of food to systematically keep account of their stocks.

Stylised, abstract evolution of writing sequence. Locked-off camera. River clay, reeds. Clay dries, impressions made into clay. Reeds picked and woven, pressed. Reed in hand evolves into stylus scratching marks on the reeds. Characters evolve in complexity. Reed evolves to paper mulshing. Mulsh dries, large chinese characters inscribed onto the paper.

From primitive marks in clay to abstract phonetic characters on paper, writing evolved as a method of accountkeeping, recording stores and tranactions of grain, rice, cattle and pottery.

Slow, timelapse evolution of characters related to early trade with v/o pronunciation.

As writing developed, so did the flexibility, efficiency and complexity of trade. The markings formed the basis of the characters still used in the East today.

With the aid of writing, the governing elite exercised control over the minds and skills of others. Action was at a distance, with scribes and messengers forming the transmission gear for the effective distribution of information.

Stratified societies whose rulers could mobilise large labour forces of commoners are attested by huge urban defensive walls, big palaces and eventually the 1000 mile long Grand Canal linking North and South China - the longest canal in the world.

[EXTENDED SEQUENCE : Illustrating these ideas with story of specific achievement (such as Grand Canal), and the roll writing played in organising the workforce to accomplish it - input needed from Chris Cullen]

Writings from around 1,000BC show how 'civilised' Northern Chinese regarded themselves as superior to illiterate Southern and Eastern 'barbarian' tribes;

"The tribes of the east were called Yi. They had their hair unbound, and tatooed their bodies. Some of them ate their food without being cooked by fire...." ....continues describing wild tribes to the south, west and north as indulging in equally barbaric practices, such as turning their feet inward, tattooing their foreheads, wearing skins, living in caves, not eating cereals and eating their food raw"                                                                                                 Zhou Dynasty writer, 1,000BC

Metal globe. China. 'Hot-spot' depicts established State. Fast-forward-timelapse sequence from 1,300BC to 221BC to show spread of state system. 'Hot-spot' area engulfs southern China.

The Chinese State steamroller rolled southwards from around 1,000BC. Small farming communities found themselves caught up in a tidal wave of  beurocracy and technology. Metalworking, pottery, northern crops, and large scale construction projets involving increasing manpower found their way south. Literate 'civilised' Chinese states, modelled on the Zhou Dynasty of North China absorbed, or were copied by, the illiterate 'barbarians' of the South.

By 221BC under the 4th Dynasty, China became politically unified. Exercising strong centralised control, it divided its territory into provincial units administered by centrally appointed scholars. Weights and measures, were standardised.  Construction of what was later to become the Great Wall began. Draconian measures standardised Chinese characters and so the Manderin derived Sino-Tibetan language, sidelining the few spoken in the margins today.

With such a huge beurocratic unification of resources, culture and technologies, China's future success was assured. Groups that developed writing developed means of recording and preserving information. Such a permanent record enabled civilisations to move inextricably forward, exploring new territories.

Maps drawn, log books written, gold collated and accounted.

Commands of monarchs and merchants organising colonising fleets were conveyed in writing. Fleets set their courses by maps and written sailing directions. Written accounts of earlier expeditions motivated later ones, describing the wealth and fertile lands awaiting conquerers. The resulting empires were administered with the aid of writing.

Whilst similar information was also transmitted by other means in preliterate societies, writing made the transmission easier, more detailed, more accurate and more persuasive.

Writing, like farming was largely absent from early Africa, Australia and the America's. With smaller scale farming and absence of trade routes, there was little need for it. It's sole known origins in Mayan America indicate it developed, around 290AD. Much later than in Eurasia, as with farming, governments and large scale building.

If  writing made information more accessible, printing developed to make it more available.

Spreading the Word

Alan at table....(Sequence used to illustrate evolution and diffusion of technologies across Eurasia) Fast-forward in time sequence following the full evolution of technologies already explored in the series, following their diffusion and evolution from East to West. Images might include  wheels, metalworking, gunpowder, mathematics, ship-building, navigating aids,

Eurasia's landscape became a crossroad for ideas and technologies. Writing spread rapidly, along with animals, crops and technology from their origins in China, Egypt and Mesopotamia Westwards, increasing in complexity as they passed through the hands of civilisations.

Of all the world's great inventions, printing is the most cosmopolitan and international; it's ramifications for Western Knowledge immense.  Where writing leaves a permanent record of something, printing increases its safety, permanence and persuasiveness by manifolding it and extending its distribution and allowing it to diffuse at a much greater pace.

China developed the two crucial ingredients; paper and the woodblock imprint, more flexible in every way than clay tablets and the stylus.  Letters were carved in reverse onto a wooden sheet, inked and pressed onto large paper sheets. But a curse retricted them from widely developing the technology that transformed the West's knowledge.

The Curse of Kunji

Japan. Woodblock prints of Eastern landscapes inked and printed. Absract images of hundreds of tiny wooden printing characters.

Freeing the characters from a singe block and casting them in metal increased the quality and flexibility of printed texts. Around 1398, Koreans cast the first individual characters in brass. But invading Japanese in the 16th century, scavenged all the metal they could find, including the type. It's printing culture was shattered; they reverted to wood blocks.

Although brass and tin type evolved in the East, their advantages were outwieighed by one major disadvantage; For a time, the East had printing, but with 80,000 characters, an unsuitable form of writing, while Europe had an appropriate form of writing, but no process of printing.

Split-screen. Early 20th C Japanese typewriter with thousands of characters vs. WEurope one.

From the press to the typewriter to the computer, the spread of Eastern knowledge was crippled by its language. But the Greek gift of the alphabet assured a thirst for knowledge in the West.

Images of writing, papermaking and printing projected onto turning globe as we revolve West.

The Turkish brought block printing across Asia while the Arabs stole the secrets of paper making from the Chinese. Paper was manufactured on a mass scale first in Florence and Italy, scribes feeding texts to the emerging system of Universities.

Stephenson-Blake type founders, Sheffield. B/W Sup-8 images of type casting, shunting.

Holland, and France experimented with type, but movable type printing was perfected by Gutenberg in 1450s Germany, with the invention of the hand mould to cast uniform metal types.

Alan meets Ed Nichols, Robert Smail's Printworks, Scotland to disuss the impact of printing on society and industrialisation. Abstract images type inked up.

Printing nurtured the notion that reality could be represented, and need not be experienced to be understood. The book became the silent instructor; the first teaching machine; the first mass-produced commodity.  (Expand on Book)

From the start, printing was a completely mechanical achievement, the blueprint for all future instruments of reproduction; the printed sheet, even before the military uniform, was the first completely standardised product, manufactured in series, the movable types being the first example of completely standardised and interchangable parts.

Printing lent itself to lage scale production opening up wide avenues of knowledge to the West, germinating the revolutions in science and industry which followed.

Committing something to paper became the first stage in thought and action. Capitalism could at last make and preserve a strict accountacy of time and money. Record-keeping merged with time-keeping in the art of communication. With the development of the steam powered paper mill along with the Iron press in Britain, the newsletter, the market report, the newspaper and the periodical all followed. Mass communication began at this point.

The tribe was exploded by print, replaced by an association of men homogeneously trained to be individuals.

How Eurasia Overtook The World

[Series of short sequences following  FULL evolution of technologies featured in series, how they diffused and evolved throughout Eurasia, into Britain..themes might include ships, weapons...]

A primitive wheel made of wooden planks on a wheelbarrow evolves into a pottery wheel, cart-wheel, a cog/gear in a mill, evolves into a clock cog, evolves into gears on the Rocket.

Like print, other technologies rooted in farming evolved as they spread across Eurasia. Wheels became potters wheels in Mesopotamia; wheel-barrows in China; water and windmills in Greece and Holland; clocks in Britain; ultimately they formed the mechanisms that propelled Rocket.

Gleeming metal. Bashing a primitive spear end, evolves into the sharpening of a primitive sword, evolves into the casting of a axe and handle, evolves into fitting together simple lock, evolves into boring a musket gun, evolves into machine tool boring cylinder.

Metal-working evolved to produce ever more complex machines for the farm, forest, battlefield and railway track.

Iron globe. 'Hot-Spots' of spreading 'civilisation' engulf Eurasia, localised in Africa/America.

While some technologies weren't confined uniquely to Eurasia, their level of refinement, use and availability preceeded and excelled their development on every other continent.

Split screen sequence comparing America 1492AD with Western Europe

While wheels were toys to Mayan Americans, they were the invading chariots of Europeans. Gold and silver ingots were nothing to match steel swords and muskets. Pictographic inscriptions on sacred shrines gave not nearly as much away as the printed paper maps and texts that informed Western Europe of the rich lands awaiting intrepid explorers.

The much later development of the Inca's and Aztecs in the Americas, indicates with time, more complex civilisations might have evolved. But Eurasians, with a several thousand year lead on farming, didn't give them  a chance.

'Fast-forward' recap of shipping and trade. Western Europe's trading Empire. Montage printed maps, charts, tables, navigation aids. Sun reflecting off sea. Distant land.

With knowledge of the world and technology to exploit it far exceeding that of any other continent, Eurasians were more capable of exporting their way of life to any other part of it.

And we again have to look back to farming to explain the far reching consequences of their lead and expansion. Why was it so few Eurasians so effectively decimated so much of  then native populations of Africa, Australia and the America's on encountering them?

The Lethal Gift of Livestock

Joel Mokyr takes up the argument at the table.

Today, the Mississippi Valley is the homeland to America's most fertile farmland. 400 years ago, it was thriving with North America's native Indians. When Europeans first arrived in the area in the 16th century, they were shocked by what they discovered....

Firts hand account of 16thC European adventurers exploring the Mississipi Valley.

They found settlement after settlement abandoned. Something was killing off the Native American population and it had hit home just before the Europeans arrived. Today, great burial mounds stand as a reminder of what happened when Old World met New, after 1492.

Mokyr meets a forensic anthropologist who has studied old native burial sites to search for the clues to what led to such catastrophic events.

The clues lie with what the Europeans brought with them when they arrived from Spain and other parts of Western Europe.

Split Screen motion control sequence, composited with abstract Super-8 battle sequence.

The Spanish invaders who decimated the Incas and Aztecs had many technological advantages over the natives. They were masters of horseback, clad in steel armour, wielding steel swords, lances, daggers and firearms. Retaliating in quilted armour,  with slings, bows, arrows and clubs, with no animals to ride, their defensive machines was stuck in the stone age.

What the technological edge doesn't account for are the casualties that didn't die from battlewounds; the natives, like those of the Mississippi Valley, that met their fate without even clapping eyes on a Eurasian. How did Europeans manage to strike from a distance?

Forensic Anthropologist explains and demonstrates....

Native Americans were wiped out by germs Europeans brought with them. The Inca's and Aztecs were decimated by Smallpox. Tuburculosis, measles and flu  too permeated the continent in advance of the colonisers. But where had all these germs come from?

MicroC/U microbes in petri dish. Warped images of animals behind them.

Until World War 2, more victims of war died of war-borne microbes than of battle wounds. The big killers in history have their origins in animals; Smallpox, Tuburculosis and measles from cattle; Flu from pigs and dogs; Yellow Fever from monkeys. Known as crowd diseases, they thrived in dense populations of animals and evolved to become virulent in humans.

C/U's snotty noses and mouths of ox. C/U zoom of snot into microbes germinating in petri dish. A farmers spreads manure on his field. Manure steaming.

As large scale farming began in Eurasia 10,000 years ago, these diseases took hold in the first farming communities. Living and working in close proximity to animals and their waste used as fertilser, the diseases evolved human equivalents. Thriving in the dense urban poulations farming supported, humans slowly evolved immunity in the thousands of years that followed. By the time of the Romans, trade routes joined the populations of Europe and Asia into one giant breeding ground of microbes.

[EXTENDED SEQUENCE : Looking at long term, wide spread effects disease on population of Eurasia....Black Death coal and print sequence, will follow germs theme thru' traditional I-R period, elaborating on Alan's Prog. 1 riddle as to how Japan and Britain's expanding city populations largely escaped from epidemics on account of drinking tea and beer.]

America, as a continent of disparate, small communities, living with only llamaa, turkeys, dogs

ducks and guinea pigs, had fewer microbes to evolve in the first place, and little opportunity to thrive in such small, isolated communities. The natives had little chance to develop either genetic resistance or lethal germ weapons of their own.

Similar epidemics ravaged native  African and Australian communities  with the arrival of Europeans. But the germ exchange was not so one-way in Africa. Yellow Fever  slowed the colonisation of European settlers by 400 years.

[NB : Good riddle for Prog. 1 follows (or one similar from 1830) that could be picked up here.]

Modern day Missouri. Steamboat taking sightseers up the Missouri River. Farmers in fields, combine harvesters, dust and grain fill the air. Abstract C/U's grain and dust diffusing.

In 1837 a steamboat taking colonisers  up the Missouri River delivered a lethal dose of smallpox to the Mandan Indian tribe, one of the most elaborate cultures of Great Plains. Within a few weeks, the population of one of the villages had fallen from 2,000 to 40 people.

The same story unfolded time and time again as alien animals, steamships, and then the railroad fed germs ever deeper into the wild west of America. 90% of America's natives were wiped out by the technologies and germs cultured in Eurasia with farming in 8,000BC.

The Riddle of America


So how did a country with no animals, ravaged by disease, punctuated with insurmountable terrain, armed with stone age technology get it's act together so quickly, to eclipse Britain and build the world's most successful global takeaway distributing meat at the touch of a button to every corner of the globe?

The clues are rooted where it all began....the Rocket.

The Iron Horse

Simon Schaffer resumes the argument at the table.

If they'd had more animals and better forms of communication, America might not have stood still for so long. Colonisers were not going to let history repeat itself.

From 15thC America, zoom across the globe to 1830s Britain....montage of industrial activity.

The Industrial Revolution had produced the answers. The British speciality was  bettering nature.... clocks to keep track of time; wind and water mills to harness the elements; glass to improve the eye and mind; wheels to take the load of their backs; levers and pulleys to strengthen the muscles; print and paper to form a collective memory; chemistry to kill and cure.... by 1830, they had not only tamed the horse, but built one.

Projected images of wild running horses, to horses being rode, to horses pulling coal carts, to horses pulling stagecoaches on the table covering patent sketches of bizarre half-horse, half-machine contraptions....Brandreth's 'Cyclopede', 'The Horse Motor', 'Locomotive with Mechanical Legs'. Simon Schaffer continues....

Nature's wild animal; the pet animal, the farmed animal, the mechanical animal. Fed by the fuel that had freed horses to roam Britain, the Rocket - the Iron Horse - was ceremonially rolled out as man's finest attempt at domesticating nature. There was more than a passing resemblance.

1830. The Rocket. Coal stoking the boiler. Pistons, smoke, screeching rails, Fanny Kemble with wind in hair. Rocket passes through field, horse shudders away. Reprise Prog. 1.

"She...goes upon two wheels, which are her feet, and are moved by bright steel legs called pistons; these are propelled by steam...The reins, bit, and bridle is a small steel handle, which applies or withdraws the steam from its legs or pistons, so that a child might manage it. The coals, which are its oats, were under the bench and there was a small glass tube affixed to the boiler with water in it, which indicates by its fulness or emptiness when the creature wants water which is immediately conveyed to its reservoirs..This snorting lilttle animal which I felt rather inclined to pat, was then harnesses to our carriage..."                                                                               Fanny Kemble

Annihilating Space

POV Super-8 abstract landscapes from hurtling train. Schaffer on Liv-Man R/Way.

In 1830, the railway was the fastest thing on the planet. It warped peoples view of the world. The Rocket was experienced as a projectile, and travelling on it like being shot throughthe landscape, losing one's senses.

"Nothing requires study, or demands meditation, and though objects immediately at hand seem tearing wildly by, yet the distant fields and scattered trees, are not so bent on eluding observation, but dwell long enough in the eye to leave their undying impression; everything is so quiet, so fresh, so full of home, and destitute of prominent objects to detain the eye, or distract the attention of the charming whole, that I love to dream through these placid beauties whilst sailing in the air, quick, as if astride a tornado."

Iron rails opened travellers eyes to a whole new world; they experienced panoramic vision, discovering distant landscapes as the foreground faded to obscurity. They saw city merge with village, farm with field into a single, continuous landscape.

The geography of the land was completely overhauled as speed annihilated space and time.

Railway stations rose to become embassies for the foreign destinations rendered local by rails. Travellers became parcels shunted between destinations at speeds beyond their wildest dreams.

"The elementary concepts of time and space have begun to vacillate. Space is killed by the railways, and we are left with time alone....Now you can travel to Orleans in four and a half hours....I feel as if the mountains and forests of all countries were advancing on Paris. Even now, I can smell the German linden trees; the North Sea's breakers are rolling against my door"                                                                                    French traveller on Opening day of Paris-Orleans Railway.

Husksns death. F/T Dusty old telegraph operating house. A train shudders by, signals creak.

The alien pace caught many unaware. A  week after the Rocket killed Huskinson, it had notched up a second hit. The problem with the train being the fastest thing on the planet  was no one knew one was coming until it had arrived. As the network became more integrated, so the Telegraph evolved with it as a way of maintaining continuous flow and safety of services. For the first time, information could travel faster than people.

Spinning train wheels dissolves to Spinning globe. Slows down on the continent of America. Projections depict Indians moving West dissolving to herded cattle; settlers on the East dissolves to money markets, merchants, shipping....

...Ways of annihilating space...networking resources...maintaining their continuous flow - the ingredients America needed to bring it to life. Punctuated with deserts and ranges, stretched through contrasting climates but scattered with rich resources, colonisers plundered Britain's industrial technology to knit the country together.

As the economy boomed in the East, agriculture ploughed its way West. Forming the vital link were the railroads and the telegraph. Top of the agenda was to sort out the meat crisis....


Joel Mokyr resumes the argument at the table.

There was one community desperate to kill space and time; Meat Packers, one of the earliest frontier industries developing wherever agriculture settled. Faced with delivering meat fresh from the wild West onto plates in the East, the story of how they achieved this answers the riddle of how American industry gradually eclipsed Britain's in the years following the 1830s.

'Fast-forward' through Prog. 3. Images of steam ships, money markets projected onto table.

By mid-century, New York had developed the most direct access to European markets, the most extensive trading hinterland, and the most powerful finnacial institutions of America. Cities with greatest access to this goldmine would become the new metrolosises of the West.

Joel Mokyr on top of Montgomery-Ward & Co. Building, overlooking Chicago port.

"To it's East, New York. To it's north, dense forests of white pines with six foot girths.   To it's West, the long grassed praies, farmland aplenty. Further West still, lots of live meat.  In 1830's America, these were the ingredients colonisers couldn't get enough of. Lying in the middle of America, at the mouth of Lake Michigan, Chicago began to emerge as the West's gateway to the East.

Super-8 abstract saw milling, grain dust, grinding...composited with railroad wheels. Map of America....a web of railroad tracks spreads from Chicago to engult the country.

With the expulsion of the last Indian's in 1833, lumberjacks converged in Chicago to capitalise on its woodland. Flat-pack ranches spread like a rash to house grain farmed in the West, shipped along with wood out of Chicago's port to feed the East. By the 1850s, Chicago had become the heart of America, pumping supplies by river and rails breathing life into the country. Pigs and cows soon flocked there to die as America's meat suddenly became inustrialised.

GV's of modern day Chicago dissolve into timeless sequence of animal slaughter in an abbotoir. Animals rustled into pens, knifes wielding, blood gushing, flesh pounded and shuved, remorseless faces of workers

"We entered an immense low-ceiled room and followed a vista of dead swine, upon their backs, their paws stretching toward heaven. Walking down...we found...a sort of human chopping machine where the pigs were converted into commercial pork. A plank table, two men to lift and turn, two to weild the cleavers, were its component parts. No iron cog wheels could work with more regular motion. Plump, falls the pig upon the table, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, fall the cleavers. All is over. But, before you can say so, plump, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, sounds again....Amazed beyond all expectation at the celerity, we took our watches and counted thirty-five seconds, from the moment when one pig touched the table until the next occupied its place."                                                                                                                 Visitor on a tour of Chicago's packing-houses

The Meat Machine

Dusty horizon. A dark, running mass of bison suddenly appear, driven by cowboys.

With their long legs, large size and easy going nature, cattle could be herded hundreds of miles without losing weight to be slaughtered near the plates of the beef hungry East. Smaller, closer to the ground and ill-willed, there was a stong incentive to kill pigs nearer their home. At the centre of America, Chicago became home to more pigs than any city in the world.

Chicago fuelled the Civil War with half a million pounds of pork. 21,000 cattle, 75,000 pigs, 22,000 sheep and 200 horses, held in 2,300 pens serviced daily by three miles of water troughs, 10 miles of feeding troughs and 100 tons of hay; buyers and sellers had forced the centralisation of the meat industry, leading to Chicago being nicknamed as 'Porkopolis'.

Abstract C/U's pigs squeeling, bloody streets, people shunned by pigs on streets....

By 1858, millions of pigs squeeled through Chicago's streets each autumn; blood stained its streams, a fetid odour filled the air. A blow to the head, a knife to the throat. Killing was the easy bit. The real problem was what to do with the dead animals before they went the way of all flesh. Decay was the great enemy of the meat-packer and the urgent need to stop its clock, led the city's packers to develop new ways of butchering. And the technology butchers developed to disseminate pigs would revolutionise how American industry assembled its products.

Mokyr in meat-packing plant. An old Chicago meat packer whose family has been in the business since the rise of Chicago tells him about what life was like in the early stockyards

The organic irregularities making each animal unique, made human eyes and hands indispensible for butchering. Division of labour was crucial to speed a pigs journey from pen to plate.

Mechanised butchering started with a giant horizontal wheel from which dead pigs were hung. As it rotated, workers at the eight points around it sleaned and gutted the animals in eight seperate steps.  Coupled to an overhead rail, gravity contiunously fed carcases to workers inflicting ever more precise incisions. The system bacame known as the 'disassembly line'.

With the railroad enabling packers to target markets far and wide, they earned their profits off what traditional butchers binned. Gleening off waste to regurgitate into marketable commodities - lard, glue, brushes, candles, gut strings, bone handles, fertiliser, soap - Chicago's butchers prided themselves on packing everything but the pigs squeal.  

Abstract images from a contemporary slaughter and packing house....animals loaded on trains, meat being slit, sliced, chopped, fat being stripped, gut unravelled, meat swung and bullied along a converyer belt line, blood swimming onto the floor, workers boots and hands bloody red..

Bologna sausage hid a multitude of sins - ground with spices, it concealed cheaper and diseased, meat, sweepings, sawdust and dirt. But such economies meant Chicago packers could pay a farmer more per pig than anywhere in the country. So pigs trotted there from far and wide.

Chaos reined at cattle stops on the railroads. Herders could travel miles to find cattle carriages full. Abattoirs couldn't predict how many animals were going to arrive one day to the next.

The Telegraph changed all that; linking farmers of the West to traders in the East, it smoothed the flow of animals. Likewise, the economies of the east and west began to move in tandem, as isolated economies found themselves hard wired into one sprawling  future's market.

Supply and Demand

Despite the efficiencies, packers could only butcher during the winter. The natural cold that slowed death's decay held ultimate sway over production, rendering capital plant idle during the warmer months. A way had to be found to store winter.

Slow-mo. A sharp prong shatters a sheet of ice. Chunks fly off in all directions. Slicing, hauling, shoveling  ice. Meat packer tells Mokyr what it was like to work in a giant fridge.

Traders turned Chicago's rivers into giant ice farms to cool plants and goods. Pork packing edged into the warmer months. As local rivers became poisoned with meat by-products, ice was rail- roaded in from Boston and New York, filling previously empty cars on their Westward jouney

Packing could go on all year round, employing equipment, buildings and workers more steadily and farmers could count on finding a year-round market in Chicago for their corn-fattened pigs.

Great american railroad steaming West again. Pistons, cylinders, smoke, sparks on the rails.

Ice and rails together broke the wheel of the seasons. By 1882, it helped Chicago pack up to half of the midwests pork.

New York steak bar. A giant chop is slashed from a section of meat. A charcoal grill smokes red hot. A steak, dropped on the grill sizzles. Punters gorging themselves on meat dinners. Knives cutting meat, undercooked meat bleeding on the plate, licking lips.

Having perfected the art of packing pork, Chicagoens turned their attention to Beef. While pork packing exemplified American manufacturing efficiency, beef packing lagged far behind.

Consumers preferred their beef fresh, not salted. Whereas railroad cars carrying packed pork east could offload all their contents onto dinner tables, more than half  a live cow was unusable, wasting valuable railroad space, time and money. Fortunes awaited anyone who could slaughter and dress beef in Chicago yet deliver it preserved onto the plate of a New York punter.

Chicago livestock dealer Gustavus Swift was one of many who tried to crack the problem. His experiments - shipping two carloads of dressed beef to New England during midwinter in a stripped down express railroad cars with their doors left open to keep cold air moving across the meat - led him to develop the refrigerator car.

Locked-off/timelapse of rear of refrigeration car. Door opens. Meat fills the car with ice up the sides. Dissolve some meat away from the sides. Dissolve to meat hanging doen the centre. Dissolve to tightly packed meat. Dissolve to empty car, ice boxes appear at rear, meat packed in middle, ice boxes appear at front, door closes.

Preventing the meat from touching the ice and freezing, leaving it discoloured and spoilt was one challenge. So the meat was hung from an overhead rail in the centre of the car. But the carcasses swayed in unison as the train rounded curves, wearing equipment and causing trains to crash. Tighter packing reduced the shifting loads, but meant not all the parts of the car stayed equally cold. For uniform cooling, Swift put boxes filled with ice at both ends of the car, venting them so that a current of chilled air constantly flowed past the meat. The refrigeration car was adopted by all Chicago beef dressers by the end of the 1870s, leading to more dressed beef travelling east on railroads than live steer. So pork-packing became meat-packing.

Pounding American railroad, sparks etc. Delapidated towers, trunk routes in dead trunk towns.

Refrigerator cars needed re-supplying several times on their journey. Alongside rails, grew massive support networks. Giant ice towers cast menacing shadows over the lines supplemented with ramps, rail lines, boiler rooms, storage sheds, and boarding houses for winter ice cutters.

By creating a market in ice and refrigeration, packers systemised the market in animal flesh, liberating it from nature and geography, efficiently transmuting it into its most marketable form and distributing it for the world to digest.

The new corporate order, by linking and integrating the products of so many ecosystems and communities, obscured the very connections it helped create. Industry broke free from space altogether, managing its activities with flow charct that stressed function rather than geography. 

Severed from the form in which it had lived, from the act that had killed it, meat vanished from human memory as one of nature's creations. Cows and cowboys might be symbols of a rugged natural life on the western range, but beef and pork were now commodities of the city.

Going With The Flow

The ideas and technologies that so successfully made meals of animals transformed american manufacturing industry.

Montage of archive and Spr-8....assembly lines, overhead shafts....Ford's production line.

The dissasembly lines that so effectively commoditised meat were picked up by Henry Ford to assmble his Model T car to unprecedented efficiency.

Like the network of ice towers and boilers that supported refrigerator cars, Ford's system integrated blast furnaces, railroads, mines, and sales offices.

Electricity overhauled the factory. Flowing contiunously and unstorable, demand and supply required a seamless network of interconnected machines, transmission and communication factlities. It liberated  machinery from overhead belts and pulleys, clearing the way for travelling cranes and a more logical order of production.

Electricity could be generated by rivers, waterfalls, wind and sun. Inaccessible terrain like the Falls that had once halted technological flow could suddenly support  modern industry

How the Fridge Got Its Hum

Just as meat packers industrialised summer into winter, so electricity's pioneers turned day into night creating a thirst for their product outside factory hours. Setting up giant industrial research laboratories, they conjured consumer commodities that would suck electricity 24 hours a day.

Electricity, like meat, was made profitable.

Fast printing of catalogues...A Montgomery-Ward & Co mail order catalogue spins onto the screen. Depicting their Michigan Avenue warehouse with the walls peeled away, workers on all 20 floors are animated stacking, sorting, boxing orders....clothes, guns, sewing machines, fans

Mokyr on the top of the MW& Co building, looking out over Chicago onto Lake Michigan....

At the dawn of the 20th century, electric fans, vacuum cleaners, irons, kettles, toasters, heaters, washing machines, air conditioners and refrigerators streamed off production lines into homes. The internal combustion engine liberated their transit from rails; a single vehicle travelling as fast as a train of cars, a small unit as efficiently as a large one. So good, it would spell the end of Chicago's monopoly.

Diary of a European traveller visiting Montgomery-Ward & Co Distribution house.

In Chicago, the mail order catalogue was born; the city collided with the farm. An encyclopedia of American life, it was the biggest book in many peoples homes.

It offered its readers a map of capital, of second nature. In its pages, one could read the ties between metropolis and hinterland, the flow of debt and credit, the assembly of labour and natural resources into manufactured goods, the movement of commodities and information and the structure of the distribution system as a whole.

Yet, like capital itself, the catalogue thoroughly obscured these relationships. Each product stood alone on the page, no need to wonder where they came from, how they were created, by whom, from what materials, with what consequences for the place in which they had been made. Such questions stopped at the name on the front cover. (Extend to Internet?)

For a while, Europe resisted the lure of mass-manufactured commodities underpinning America's industrial dominance. European products were still priced and designed as luxury goods; manufacturers expecting high profits on small turnovers, consumers resisting quantity for quality.

Mokyr in the first MacDonald's Restaurant in the world, Chicago. Montage of Macdonald servers from different parts of the world reading menu in various languages.

From Chicago's soup mutated The Big Mac. It's constituent ingredients, interchangeable parts that can be assembled by an unskilled worker, in seconds; the refrigerator van and plane taking it around the globe, and along with the name and wrapping, obscuring its natural origins. Where it comes from, what it's made of, no one knows....what would our hunter ancestors make of it?

Meat profoundly  extended the reach of Chicago's market, allowing one city to transform the economic landscape of America, rearranging its environment according to the dictates of capital. Meat, grain, wood then white goods brought the entire nation, then the world, into it's land.

The Secret of the World (Not working yet)

Projected images on globe.

Why did it not all happen sooner in America? Why did Inca's with the chips and meat never meet the Mayans with the advertising? Why not at all in Africa? Why do a small number of people still remain oblivious to the Big Mac?

Alan picks up the argument in the mountain ranges of Nepal. Walking up to Thak....

Some of the clues to this mystery can be found after a days trek through the Himalaya's. The reason there is no MacDonald's here, why the  technology is still so primitive explains why some civilisations in history never met others, or acquired or develop high technology, or remain oblivious to the technologies of rest of the world.

Agriculture, food preparation, metal objects being cast, weaving.

This community in Thak live in isolation from the developed areas of Nepal. Although not cut off entirely, they've lived sufficiently away from the developing world so not to recognise or have words or uses for trucks, watches, mobile phone's or radio's.

The light soils only require primitive metal tipped implements to be worked, power is supplied by oxen, food by rice and chickens, their houses are made of mud, their implements of versatile bamboo. Technology has no need to develop beyond the level of sufficiency that has evolved.

Furthermore, it's very difficult, and unnecessary, for people here to know what other villages in the surrounding ranges are up to, there's  little impetus to visit them given the long haul.

We walk further up into the next village in the hills, Lower Manang.

Another clue lies further up these ranges. The lanscape transforms, sheep and yaks, maize and millet, wood (?)....the weather and altitide cannot support the animals and plants of Thak, so a different culture has evolved. Western science will introduce the first rice into this region soon in the shape of genetically modified high altitude hill rice.

On a much larger scale, the stories of these two villages  is the crux of why different parts of the world evolved differently. Different ecological and geographical conditions influenced the trajectories different continents were propelled onto thousands of years ago, and largely account for their fates today.

Fertile soils and abundant crops and livestock propelled Eurasia ahead of the rest of the world around 8,000BC by turning it into a continent of farmers. With farming developed ever more complex systems of technology and social organisation which spread to engulf the continent.

The natives of Africa were content, like my village in Thak, to live as they had always done; there was plenty to be hunted and little impetus to settle and take up backbreaking farming. America's later setttling and shortage of crops and livestock similarly delayed the onset and uptake of farming, and thus limited the technology that evolved.

Pull out from globe to reveal all continents. Projected images

Soon after farming began in Mesopotamia and China, a centrifugal wave of crops, animals and technologies such as writing followed its trail through central Europe, reaching Britain by 3,500BC. Eurasias East-West axis meant farmers across its continent, from Ireland to the Indus Valley shared similar day lengths and climates, so could share crops, animals and ideas alike. With few insurmountable terrains, its ecological landscape nurtured their spread.

But 2000 miles of tropical conditions stopped Egypts crops, sheep, cattle, horses and goats from filtering into South Africa's Mediterrnian climate where they would have thrived. Horses didn't make it until 1000AD. Writing never made the journey at all.

In the America's, the dense rainforests of the Panamanian Ismuths prohibited the Inca's from meeting the Aztecs. Elsewhere, the deserts of Mexico, dry areas of Texas - impenetrable without animals - left the few farming communities that did settle stranded. Only after the Rocket could such  vast acres be conquered.

Eurasia's sprawling East-West land mass encouraged the expansions of Empires. Africa and the America's ecologically diverse North- South continents prohibited them. And around these axes turned the fortunes of history.


Concluding thoughts by the Knights in the field....

Alan....contemplates the future for his family in Thak

Simon....use sequence in Paris

Chris....ponders China's rise.

Joel....asks the first man in the world to eat a Big Mac whether it was all worth it or if life would be a lot more fun running in the wild catching your own meat, Needs a role in this.


•     Needs more emphasis on moving meat around the planet....needs Big Mac idea emphasising throughout if we think it works

•     Need to hint earlier on at geographical isolation (eg. of Inca’s and Aztecs) without giving everything away to tie in with how animal, electricity etc. opened these areas up.

•     Geog. axes of world argument can work at end, but not working at moment. Also needs to tie Britain in. Perhaps also hypothesise about how different geography might have changed the outcome - forging different shaped continents when we forge globe for titles.

•     Knights role's need to be more defined throughout

•     We need a role for Maxine

•     China Writing sequence needs input from Chris Cullen

•     Animals, printing and germs all run through the traditional I-R period in Europe/Britain. Currently, this is done in 3 separate chinks....have tried it with one large chunk, allowing a more chronological structure, but doesn’t work that way. Don’t think non-linear approach matters here.

•     Schaffer needs a more defined sequence....need to integrate his Paris sequence

The meat market underlined the tendency of growing american industries towards worldwide systemisation.

s of the world.

 just one stage in a long development.

(All three of China's first three dynasties, the Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties, arose in the same place).

Cathedrals of uk

700 miles north, the Mayan empire thrived in the Mexico. They farmed corn, squash and beans,  used mathematics and astronomy to create calendars, and had pictographic writing.

Living just 700 miles apart, what stopped these two civilisations from getting togther to set up a fast-food chain? For neither group ever exchanged ideas, crops, animals or technology.