Paleolithic principle dating
There are many theories about the origin of money, in part because money has many functions: It facilitates exchange as a measure of value; it brings diverse societies together by enabling gift-giving and reciprocity; it perpetuates social hierarchies; and finally, it is a medium of state power.It’s hard to accurately date interactions involving currency of various kinds, but evidence suggests they emerged from gift exchanges and debt repayments.Native copper, meteorites or native iron, obsidian, amber, beads, copper, gold, silver and lead ingots have variously served as currency. Additionally, political leaders could control the production of coins – from mining, smelting, minting - as well as their circulation and use.People even used live animals such as cows until relatively recent times as a form of currency. in Asia Minor, where the elites of Lydia and Ionia used stamped silver and gold coins to pay armies. Other forms of wealth and money, such as cows, successfully served pastoral societies, but weren’t easy to transport – and of course were susceptible to ecological disasters.The same patterns unfold today with the modern relationship between China and Africa, now more intertwined and unequal than when Admiral Zheng He first brought coins from China in a diplomatic gesture, as a symbolic extension of friendship across the distance separating the two.In our time, possession of cash currency differentiates the rich from the poor, the developed from the developing, the global north from the emerging global south.The Maritime Silk Road trade, which occurred between A. 700 to 1450, connected Europeans, Asians and Africans in a global trade that was both transformational and foundational.
In the past, as today, no society was completely self-sustaining, and money allowed people to interact with other groups.He was interested in political and trade missions to the lands beyond the South China Sea and sent Admiral Zheng He to explore those shores, nearly 80 years before Vasco da Gama reached India from Portugal.Archaeological discoveries like this one illustrate Africa’s integration into trade interactions in the Indian Ocean.Sometimes you run across a grimy, tattered dollar bill that seems like it’s been around since the beginning of time.Assuredly it hasn’t, but the history of human beings using cash currency does go back a long time – 40,000 years.