The history of wheat cultivation

  • G. D. H. Bell
Part of the Wheat Breeding book series (TLB)


There is wide agreement from the archaeological evidence that the earliest agriculture of the Old World was associated with the Fertile Crescent of the Near East. The basis of the farming was the rearing of sheep and goats, accompanied by the cultivation of barley and of einkorn and emmer wheats, which were the staple cereals. The dating of this period is considered to be between 9000 and 7000 BC (Murray, 1970) and the beginnings, of plant domestication around 8000 BC (Renfrew, 1973). These dates agree satisfactorily with the biological evidence concerning the origins of the cultivated forms, and the association of the distribution of the primitive cereals with the development of settled agriculture and the establishment of the earliest farming communities is generally accepted. However, it should be borne in mind that the area of the Near East concerned has been intensively studied archaeologically, and there are other ancient areas of settlement, as for example certain Asiatic sites from which the evidence has been largely lost (Murray, 1970).


Bread Wheat Wheat Crop Emmer Wheat Trade Route Wheat Cultivation 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1987

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  • G. D. H. Bell

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