September 1, 2019 9:32 AM - by Brian Fagan - Subscribe

In this history of fishing—not as sport but as sustenance—archaeologist and best-selling author Brian Fagan argues that fishing was an indispensable and often overlooked element in the growth of civilization. It sustainably provided enough food to allow cities, nations, and empires to grow, but it did so with a different emphasis. Where agriculture encouraged stability, fishing demanded movement. It frequently required a search for new and better fishing grounds; its technologies, centered on boats, facilitated movement and discovery; and fish themselves, when dried and salted, were the ideal food—lightweight, nutritious, and long-lasting—for traders, travelers, and conquering armies. This history of the long interaction of humans and seafood tours archaeological sites worldwide to show readers how fishing fed human settlement, rising social complexity, the development of cities, and ultimately the modern world.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis (3 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So this is a general archeological and historical overview of fishing and fish farming. Starting with a look at pre-historical fishing leading all the way to modern overfishing. There’s even a section on fishing by Neanderthals! (I’m so verklempt.) The archeological evidence for pre-modern fishing and fisheries covers most of the world and is a pretty interesting look into what has changed and what has stayed the same with regards to things like aquaculture. For example- fish farming is hella older then I thought it was. The books ending is as usual a little dire with regards to our current overfishing situation, but I’m not sure how it could be anything else. A good book that if anything suffers from being a little over-broad.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:36 AM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have been looking for a history of fishing. You posted this at exactly the right time. Thank you!!
posted by lilac girl at 3:15 PM on September 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

all great cities are in estuaries. shellfish, at the very least, are the foundations of urbanity.
posted by eustatic at 7:59 PM on September 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

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