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Economic Specialization

In hunter-gatherer societies, work was generally divided between the men and the women. The men were the hunters and the women were concerned with child care of the very young and the campsite.

Both sexes would gather fruits, nuts and other edibles as they traveled. As society became agricultural in nature, many men would still hunt, although much time was spent plowing, planting and harvesting. Women still took care of the very young and the home. They also were in charge of spinning and weaving and making clothing.

As people gathered in larger groups, specialization began. One man might become the miller, grinding grain for everyone. Other early occupations were the blacksmith who made plows, horseshoes, nails and other tools; the chandler who made candles; the carpenter, and the baker. As time passed and it became possible to move goods from one place to another, fishermen would trade their fish, fullers would trade their cloth, and coopers would trade their barrels. Each group of people now had a wider variety of things available to make their lives more comfortable.