Here's the situation... In 1000 BCE 5000 people from 13 cultures each are transported to a whole other world, for a total of 65000 people. These culture group together and divide up so that we have a few situations...

The Ionian, Samarian, and Egyptians settle about 2 days away from each other so that they are in three 5000 person group that regularly interact.

There are also Celts, Teutons, and Slavs that are around them... so something like 15000 people that are nomadic and interact with the above 3 groups.

The Zhou, Jomon, and Viet settle in another area and blend together for a 15000 person group.

The Vedic group settles in it's own area for a 5000 person group.

The Olmec, Maya, and Algonquin Native American nomadic 15000 people group that interacts with the 2 groups above.

My question is how do these groups divide up their settlements? Should they be creating 1 settlement or would they create several equal settlements or 1 large one with several satellites, multiple rather large settlements then a few satellites or what? Also would those satellite villages follow a river or would they try to keep as close to the main city... ie is distance from city or river more important for the satellites?

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    $\begingroup$ Depends. What's the abundance of food animals, watering holes, the sea, edible plants, underground aquifers for easy-dig wells, rainfall regularity etc.. Without much more info, difficult to see how this is answerable except as opinion based. $\endgroup$ – Rottweiler on market-day. Apr 22 '20 at 2:00
  • $\begingroup$ In the pyramid of human needs, physiological and safety come before belonging. Your question omits considerations in the physiological and safety areas, primarily shaping the settlement, so I must assume those are considered non-problems (i.e. the world is forgiving enough). Now, if so, what other constraints exist to determine the grouping as you describe? E.g. why would Maya (which was a sedentary culture since 3000-1800BC) decide to go nomadic? $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Apr 22 '20 at 2:26
  • $\begingroup$ Animals, I haven't decided yet, They have plenty of fresh water from rivers. they will have plants from our world and new edibles from new planets. Haven't map aquifers. It's a Slight south of the equator on a continent/area size the rough size of south america. There are 2 mountain ranges center and to the east and there is another range at the border of the west. The territory should be forested for the most part. $\endgroup$ – Durakken Apr 22 '20 at 3:03
  • $\begingroup$ About Maya, misspoke a little. I put them in my mental bin along with all the native groups to do more research on later to see exactly what their societies were like, but right now I'm classifying them as nomadic group... I suppose i should say indeterminant rather than nomadic. $\endgroup$ – Durakken Apr 22 '20 at 3:08
  • $\begingroup$ Well, the "Maya mistake" is only a symptom of the illness affecting your question - there's not enough information on the existing external constraints to decide an evolution of your 13 cultures in interaction. Now, don't hurry up to put them, because you'll end in writing your story about the world in the body of the question. What I'm saying is: your question is and will stay unfocused. At the best, you'll get answers with interesting bits that may help you make your mind, but never a proper answer - just because this is not a proper question. $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Apr 22 '20 at 5:46

Central Place Theory suggests that each settlement will have one central (very small) town, and concentric rings of (tiny) farming villages spaced around 3-6km from each other in a roughly hexagonal pattern.

  • The town is the cultural and administrative and market center. Many cultures will wall and otherwise fortify the town. By today's standards, the town will be very compact and very small, with a population of around 10-20% of the population (500-1000 people). The population of the town includes the merchants, priests, army officers, bureaucrats, their families, etc.
  • Farming villages will be located within about 15km of the town (farther if horses are available), close enough for one day's round trip to the town for the market, visit to the temple, etc. Around 80% of the population is distributed among the villages. Villages offer protection, shared resources among the workers, political control over the dispersed population, and efficient use of the shared lands. Isolated family farmhouses tend to be much newer inventions for much wealthier societies.

So after thinking through this more, I figured out the answer, which is hinted at but never specifically said anywhere. I guess cuz no one has tried to plop down a larger than village size group of people into a location with low tech and it's not developed yet.

The answer is an area of land can naturally only support x amount of humans. Less developed land can support less people. Naturally, an undeveloped land that humans are newly developing can only support that number of people on that land and thus even if you have a central settlement, that settlement cannot have more than x number of people because the satellites which it would count on to support it would also not be able to support more than those on that land which means that no matter the future plans or development, at baseline, they'd have to all spread out into average villages regardless of where the selected capital is.

In short 5000 people will need, on average, between 17 and 100 villages if building from the a completely undeveloped state.


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