Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Near East (Including Anatolia): Origins and Development of Agriculture

  • George Willcox
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_2272


It is only during the last 10,000 years that Homo sapiensadopted a production economy based on cultivation of a selection of plants. Our species evolved as hunter-gatherers for more than 90 % of its history. In many regions around the world, plants were taken into cultivation during the early Holocene. The cultivation of wild plants created new conditions in which selective pressures led to morphological domestication and production economies. Estimates of the number of regions worldwide where hunter-gatherer societies adopted cultivation have increased as researchers discover more of these. A conservative estimate would be 11, while some scholars would suggest over 20. A production economy permitted higher densities of population. The social consequences of this change in subsistence economy vary widely from region to region. In the Near East, the establishment of mixed farming based on wheat, barley, pulses, and herding of sheep, goat, cattle, and pigs was particularly...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre National de la Recherche ScientifiqueBerriasFrance