Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

pp 1384-1387

Chickpea: Origins and Development

  • Leilani LucasAffiliated withInstitute of Archaeology, University College London Email author 
  • , Dorian Q. FullerAffiliated withInstitute of Archaeology, University College London

Basic Species Information

Chickpea is the cultivated legume, Cicer arietinum (L.). It is the only cultivated pulse from the tribe Cicereae (Family Fabaceae). Other names for this crop of Neolithic southwest Asian origin include garbanzo bean in the Americas, hamaz in Arabic countries, nohud or lablabi in Turkey, shimbra in Ethiopia, and bengal gram or chana in India (Redden & Berger 2007: 9). Chickpea ranks third in the world’s production of seed legumes, after soybean (Glycine max L.) and pea (Pisum sativum). It is cultivated on nearly every continent, but major traditional production is in India, Pakistan, Turkey, Myanmar, and Ethiopia. Chickpea can be consumed cooked, baked, roasted, popped (like popcorn), stewed, or ground into flour (gram flour). The success of chickpea on a global scale is due to its high seed-protein content (nearly 20 %) and, as a result, its potential as a valuable meat substitute. The high protein content makes it a perfect addition to ...

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