It is 2000 BCE. Seven late bronze age clans descended from the Fatyanovo-Balanova Culture which have been warring for control of the Moskva after the disappearance of their culture have finally been united and are currently developing small crops.
A collection of tribes with modern-day levels of technological, scientific, medical and mathematical knowledge and complexity, a history going back to the Bronze Age, and much closer to an ecological equilibrium than we are today. If that is too vague, think of a society with our technology, but on a much smaller scale (I imagine the capital would not need a population greater than 250,000), with a guiding principle in their activities being "Consume less before doing more."
Identified critical elements
These are elements I identified as being crucial to the development of modern-day technologies:
- Development of recorded communications, e.g. writing (assume a transition from wood cuts to pictograms to a syllabary)
- Development of rigor (I have isolated this as being necessary for precision, a fundamental trait in most modern disciplines)
- Development of the scientific method
- Discovery of denser sources of energy (I have already decided on charcoal as the first one)
- Be conscious of (un)sustainability of practices (e.g. regulation of charcoal production following its discovery)
How would N° 2 & 3 occur in a tribal setting? Is there some plausible cultural loop-hole that would allow the tribe members to become sufficiently rigorous to develop theories, experimental to prove, disprove or correct them, and architectural to use them create designs and projects using them? And if they are incompatible with cultural values of a tribal society, is there some process by which a tribal society can reach them without altering too much its composition?
EDIT: I should also have added that I envision the expansion to occur through a combination of population increase and absorption and integration of other tribes.