WHP Lesson 9: Foraging

Before farming and writing developed, humans were predominately foragers. They hunted and gathered the resources they needed to survive while roaming in small family units. There were benefits and challenges to the foraging way of life. Despite the gradual and significant rise of farming, there are still foraging communities that exist to this day.

Driving Question: How were foraging communities organized, and how is this different from farming societies today?

  • In foraging societies, we see that decisions were made within family groups, which helps us understand how they were organized. These societies didn’t need a government, legal codes, or written records. Instead, family groups were able to talk to each other face-to-face, removing the need for the systems that help bigger societies function. 

Word of the Day: Communities

  • Definition: A group of people living together and having a shared experience and identity.

  • You are part of different communities. Examples include your school community, or perhaps a sports or music community. You might be part of a religious community, or an online community. These can be local, or they can be global. As you can see, there are many different scales of communities! 


  • Read “Foraging Communities and Networks” in Origins Lesson 2.2.
  • While reading this, think about how foraging communities were organized and how this is different from our farming societies today.  

Historian’s Journal Prompt

  • How might foraging communities today be responding to COVID-19 and how might those responses be different than those of farming communities?

  • Before you can really dig into this question, you might want to do some research to learn more about foraging communities today. Where are they? Are they aware of the virus? And if they are, how would its spread impact them differently from today’s farming communities?