Journal of Archaeological Research

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 221-253

First online:

From early humans to farmers and herders—Recent progress on key transitions in Southwest Asia

  • Brian F. ByrdAffiliated withBrian F. Mooney AssociatesDepartment of Anthropology, University of California-San Diego

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Archaeologists conducting research on the Pleistocene and early Holocene prehistory of Southwest Asia have made a formidable series of new discoveries and fresh insights since 1987. This article examines recent progress and shortcomings on a series of diachronic research topics, including the transition to modern humans, the development of late Pleistocene regionalism and territoriality, the advent of sedentism near the end of the Pleistocene, the origins of food production, and the initial ascendance of social complexity.

Key words

Southwest Asia hunter-gatherers Paleolithic sedentism agriculture Neolithic social complexity