Ancient Cities Grew and Developed Like Modern Cities

Ancient Cities Grew and Developed Like Modern Cities, New Study Suggests

In studying the construction of ancient cities, like the one Hernán Cortés conquered for Spain in 1521, a team of researchers found several similarities with the modern day.


According to Live Science
, Cortés wrote in a letter after taking the #Aztec capital city #Tenochtitlan that it resembled what he was used to in Spain. However, the Aztecs had no known European influence when they would have built their city.

The researchers’ work is published in the journal Science Advances.
“As the population of a community or settlement grows, the total production of that group grows even faster,” study lead author Scott Ortman, an assistant professor in CU-Boulder‘s Department of Anthropology, said in a press release. “Urban scaling theory makes the argument that the increase in productivity emerges from the increased rate of social interactions that occur. It’s cheaper for people to interact with each other because they are physically closer.”
The researchers examined sites of ancient cities, like Mexico‘s Mexico City before the nation’s population began expanding rapidly.
“Our results suggest that the general ingredients of productivity and population density in human societies run much deeper and have everything to do with the challenges and opportunities of organizing human social networks,” study co-author Luis Bettencourt, of the Santa Fe Institute, said in the release.
After estimating populations of ancient cities, the researchers determined that the cities more densely populated tended to be more productive.
“It was amazing and unbelievable,” Ortman said. “We’ve been raised on a steady diet telling us that, thanks to capitalism, industrialization, and democracy, the modern world is radically different from worlds of the past. What we found here is that the fundamental drivers of robust socioeconomic patterns in modern cities precede all that.”

#mexico

Ancient Settlements Grew Bigger And Denser Much Like Our Modern Cities

Ancient Settlements Grew Bigger And Denser Much Like Our Modern Cities

Modern cities with large populations and dense areas tend to be productive. Remarkably, these characteristics also appear to have been exhibited by ancient settlements. Findings of a new study revealed that ancient cities with bigger and denser settlements allowed their inhabitants to become more efficient.
For the study published in the journal PLOS ONE on Feb. 20, a group of researchers from the Santa Fe Institute and the University of Colorado Boulder sought to find out whether or not ancient settlements and the cities of today function in similar ways.
Scott Ortman from the Department of Anthropology at the University of #Colorado #Boulder and colleagues looked at the surveyed data of ancient settlements, houses and temples in the pre-Hispanic Basin of Mexico analyzing the dimensions of the structures to estimate household productivity, rates of the monuments’ construction, and also the ancient settlements’ populations and densities.
The results showed that ancient settlements that were more populous tended to be more productive. The researchers likewise found that the rate at which this productivity increased was the same as in present-day cities.
“It was amazing and unbelievable,” Ortman said. “We’ve been raised on a steady diet telling us that, thanks to capitalism, industrialization, and democracy, the modern world is radically different from worlds of the past. What we found here is that the fundamental drivers of robust socioeconomic patterns in modern cities precede all that.”
The researchers found that as the population in ancient cities grew, the rate at which they could produce monuments also increases. The same pattern was observed in private wealth. The surface areas of houses tend to become larger as the size of the settlement grew. Interestingly the distribution of house areas was comparable to the distribution of income currently observed in modern cities.
Ortman and colleagues said that the findings show that some of the most robust patterns observed in modern urban system were derived from processes that have long been part of human societies. They have found that the set of rules known as urban scaling that cities abide with as they grow do not just apply to modern cities but also to ancient ones.
“Our results suggest the fundamental processes behind the emergence of scaling in modern cities have structured human settlement organization throughout human history, and that contemporary urban systems are best-conceived as lying on a continuum with the smaller-scale settlement systems known from historical and archaeological research,” the researchers wrote
.

#mexico