Agriculture: Ancient Methods

  • Alexia Smith
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8435

Today very few communities subsist upon hunting and gathering, with the majority of the world's population living a sedentary life dependant upon agriculture. The shift from gathering wild plants and hunting wild animals to dependence upon crop production and animal herding took place independently in different parts of the world at different times. The earliest development of agriculture is widely thought to have occurred around 12,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent of Southwest Asia. The Fertile Crescent forms an arc leading up the Levant from the Negev Desert of Israel to southeastern Turkey, turns east along the Taurus–Zagros mountain chain, and then south between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers down to the Persian Gulf. Independent development of agriculture occurred later in South and North China, Central America, South Central Andes, the Eastern United States, sub‐Saharan Africa, and perhaps Papua New Guinea.

Food Production Terminology

The ways in which societies throughout...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Ammerman, A. J. and L. L. Cavalli‐Sforza. A Population Model for the Diffusion of Early Farming in Europe. The Explanation of Cultural Change. Ed. C. Renfrew. London: Duckworth, 1973. 343–57.Google Scholar
  2. Archi, Alfonso. Agricultural Production in the Ebla Region. Annales archéologiques arabes syriennes 40 (1990): 50–5.Google Scholar
  3. Bender, Barbara. Hunter‐Gatherer to Farmer: A Social Perspective. World Archaeology 10 (1978): 204–22.Google Scholar
  4. Binford, Lewis Roberts. In Pursuit of the Past: Decoding the Archaeological Record. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1983.Google Scholar
  5. Boserup, Ester. The Conditions of Agricultural Growth. The Economics of Agrarian Change under Population Pressure. First published in 1965. London: Earthscan Publications, 1993.Google Scholar
  6. Childe, V. Gordon. New Light on the Most Ancient East. The Oriental Prelude to European Prehistory. New York: D. Appleton‐Century, 1934.Google Scholar
  7. Civil, Miguel. The Farmer's Instructions. A Sumerian Agricultural Manual. Aula Orientalis Supplement 5. Barcelona: Editorial AUSA, 1994.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, Mark Nathan. The Food Crisis in Prehistory. Overpopulation and the Origins of Agriculture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  9. Colledge, Sue James Condly, and Stephen Stennan. Archaeobotanical Evidence for the Spread of Farming in the Eastern Mediterranean. Current Anthropology 45. Supplement (2004): S35–S58.Google Scholar
  10. Damania, A. B., et al. eds. The Origins of Agriculture and Crop Domestication. The Harlan Symposium. Aleppo: ICARDA, 1998.Google Scholar
  11. Evenari, Michael, Leslie Shanan, and Naphtali Tadmor. The Negev. The Challenge of the Desert. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982.Google Scholar
  12. Flannery, Kent V. Origins and Ecological Effects of Early Domestication in Iran and the Near East. The Domestication and Exploitation of Plants and Animals. Ed. Peter J. Ucko and G. W. Dimbleby. Chicago: Aldine, 1969. 73–100.Google Scholar
  13. ‐‐‐. The Origins of Agriculture. Annual Review of Anthropology 2 (1973): 271–310.Google Scholar
  14. Hassan, F. The Dynamics of Agricultural Origins in Palestine: A Theoretical Model. The Origins of Agriculture. Ed. Charles A. Reed. The Hague: Mouton, 1977. 685–709.Google Scholar
  15. Hather, Jon G. Archaeological Parenchyma. London: Archetype Publications, 2000.Google Scholar
  16. ‐‐‐ ed. Tropical Archaeobotany. Applications and New Developments. London: Routledge, 1994.Google Scholar
  17. Hayden, Brian. Models of Domestication. Transitions to Agriculture in Prehistory. Ed. Anne B. Gebauer and T. D. Price. Madison, WI: Prehistory Press, 1992. 11–9.Google Scholar
  18. Hedrick, U. P. ed. Sturtevant's Notes on Edible Plants. Report of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station for the Year 1919. II. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1919.Google Scholar
  19. Kislev, M. E. and O. Bar‐Yosef. The Legumes: The Earliest Domesticated Plants in the Near East? Current Anthropology 29.1 (1988): 175–79.Google Scholar
  20. Long, Austin et al. First Direct Ams Dates on Early Maize from Tehuacán Mexico. Radiocarbon 31.3 (1989): 1035–40.Google Scholar
  21. Malthus, Thomas. An Essay on the Principle of Polulation. First published in 1798 ed. London: Penguin Books, 1970.Google Scholar
  22. McCann, James. Maize and Grace: History, Corn, and Africa's New Landscapes, 1500–1999. Comparative Studies in Society and History 43.2 (2001): 246–72.Google Scholar
  23. McCorriston, Joy. The Fiber Revolution. Textile Extensification, Alienation, and Social Stratification in Ancient Mesopotamia. Current Anthropology 38 (1997): 517–49.Google Scholar
  24. Pullen, Daniel J. Ox and Plow in the Early Bronze Age Aegean. American Journal of Archaeology 96.1 (1992): 45–54.Google Scholar
  25. Sen, Amartya. Development as Freedom. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.Google Scholar
  26. Sherratt, Andrew. Plough and Pastoralism: Aspects of the Secondary Products Revolution. Pattern in the Past. Studies in Honour of David Clarke. Ed. Ian Hodder, Glynn Isaac, and Norman Hammond. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. 261–305.Google Scholar
  27. Smith, Bruce D. The Emergence of Agriculture. New York: Scientific American Library, 1998.Google Scholar
  28. Stager, L. E. The First Fruits of Civilization. Palestine in the Bronze and Iron Ages: Papers in Honor of Olga Tufnell. Ed. Jonathan N. Tubb. London: Institute of Archaeology, 1985. 172–88.Google Scholar
  29. Stiner, Mary C. Thirty Years on the “Broad Spectrum Revolution” and Paleolithic Demography. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States 98.13 (2001): 6993–96.Google Scholar
  30. Ucko, Peter J. and G. W. Dimbleby, eds. The Domestication and Exploitation of Plants and Animals. Chicago: Aldine, 1969.Google Scholar
  31. Weiss, Ehud, et al. The Broad Spectrum Revisited: Evidence from Plant Remains. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States 101.26 (2004): 9551–55.Google Scholar
  32. Wilkinson, T. J. The Definition of Ancient Manured Zones by Means of Extensive Sherd‐Sampling Techniques. Journal of Field Archaeology 9 (1982): 323–33.Google Scholar
  33. Zeder, Melinda A. Feeding Cities: Specialized Animal Economy in the Ancient Near East. Smithsonian Series in Anthropological Inquiry. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  34. Zohary, Daniel and Maria Hopf. Domestication of Plants in the Old World. The Origin and Spread of Cultivated Plants in West Asia, Europe and the Nile Valley. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexia Smith

There are no affiliations available