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科学美国人60秒:古代的房产

所属教程:科学美国人60秒科学系列 更新:11-22
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Ancient 1 Percenters Were Beast-Based

古代的房产

The square footage of a home tends to be a measure of wealth. Compare the sizes of dwellings in a city and you'll get begin to get a picture of rich and poor, and how wealth is distributed.

房子的大小往往可以衡量财富。比较一下,城市房子的大小,你就可以想像的到穷人和富人的场面,以及财富是如何分配的。

Now researchers have used that modern metric on ancient settlements. They investigated housing-based wealth at 63 archaeological sites, from Old World places like Mesopotamia to New World sites like Mesa Verde in Colorado.

现在,研究人员用现代的度量标准测量了古代的场所。他们调查了63个考古遗址的房产,从古代世界的美索不达米亚平原到新世界遗址如科罗拉多的梅萨维德。

As expected, the wealth differential widened as agriculture took off. And it kept growing in the Old World. But in the Americas the gap suddenly stopped growing about 2500 years after the first crops showed up.

正如预期的那样,随着农业的发展,贫富差距扩大。并且在旧世界也在不断增长。但是在美洲,在第一批作物出现后的2500年后,这种差距突然停止了。

"Well, this was a surprise first of all." Timothy Kohler is an archaeologist at Washington State University. His team's hypothesis for the differences between hemispheres? The Old World had large domesticated animals—and that was a game changer.

“首先,这是一个惊喜。Timothy Kohler是华盛顿州立大学的考古学家。他的团队假设了南北半球的差异?旧世界有大型的驯养动物——而这改变了游戏的规则。

"Because if you have a team of oxen available, then you can farm much further from your house, farm much more land, and raise your income quite dramatically." That sort of farming is land-hungry, he says. So, over time, landowners with beasts of burden got richer at the expense of landless peasants.

“因为如果有一群牛,你就可以在家种植更多的庄稼,耕种更多的土地,进而大幅提高你的收入。”他表示,这种耕作方式是以土地根本,所以,随着时间的推移,拥有大量牲畜的

土地主们剥削无地的农民变得更加富有。

The study is in the journal Nature.

该研究结果发表在《自然》杂志上。

Kohler says it's harder to scrutinize the holdings of the wealthy today, in an age of shell companies and offshore accounts. But he has this tip for future archaeologists:

Kohler说,在一个空壳公司和海外账户的时代,现在很难对富人进行持股审查。但是他对未来的考古学家有这样的建议:

"My advice to them would not be to look just at their main residence, but if they have residences in New York City or in the Bahamas or whatever, they need to add up all those residences and attribute them correctly to a single household."

“我给他们的建议不是只看他们的主要住所,而是如果他们在纽约或巴哈马群岛有住宅,那么需要把所有的住宅都累积起来,换成一个单独住宅。”

Given the modern-day stats on the wealth gap, they'll probably uncover a society even more unequal than the ancient Old World.

考虑到当代关于贫富差距的统计数据,他们可能会发现一个比古代世界更不平等的社会。

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