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Chapter Summary

The energy sources exploited in the agrarian societies of the past were food for men and working animals, and wood, along with water and wind employed to drive mills and sails. Goods were generally transported by men with little assistance from animals, and the most frequently used tools were axes in the woodlands and spades and hoes in agriculture. Labour productivity rose during this millennium between 4000 and 3000 BC. The epoch that precedes the Industrial Revolution is sometimes called the "Wood Civilisation" thereby contrasting the civilisation of yesterday with the contemporary world, which is based on iron, coal and artificial materials. From the end of the 16th century two alternative fuels, coal and peat, began to be used to overcome the lack of wood; with ultimately decisive consequences to the economy. The taming and use of animals began during the epoch of the Neolithic agricultural revolution.

Keywords: agrarian societies; animals; energy sources; fuels; Industrial Revolution; labour productivity; taming; Wood Civilisation

10.1163/ej.9789004178229.i-428.14
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