Neolithic Revolution

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Neolithic Revolution
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{{short description|transition from hunter gatherer to settled peoples}}{{About|the introduction of agriculture during the Stone Age|later historical breakthroughs in agriculture|Agricultural revolution (disambiguation)}}File:Fertile crescent Neolithic B circa 7500 BC.jpg|thumb|upright=1.3|Area of the fertile crescent, circa 7500 BC, with main archaeological sites of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period. The area of MesopotamiaMesopotamiaThe Neolithic Revolution, Neolithic Demographic Transition, Agricultural Revolution, or First Agricultural Revolution was the wide-scale transition of many human cultures during the Neolithic period from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement, making an increasingly larger population possible.JOURNAL, When the World's Population Took Off: The Springboard of the Neolithic Demographic Transition, Science, July 29, 2011, 333, 6042, 560–561, 10.1126/science.1208880, Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel, 2011Sci...333..560B, 21798934, These settled communities permitted humans to observe and experiment with plants to learn how they grew and developed.BOOK, Worlds together, worlds apart, concise, 1, Pollard, Elizabeth, Rosenberg, Clifford, Tigor, Robert, W.W. Norton & Company, 2015, 978-0-393-25093-0, New York, 23, This new knowledge led to the domestication of plants.Compare:BOOK, Lewin, Roger, Roger Lewin, 1984, 35: The origin of agriculture and the first villagers, Human Evolution: An Illustrated Introduction,weblink 5, Malden, Massachusetts, John Wiley & Sons, 2009, 250, 978-1-4051-5614-1, 2017-08-20, [...] the Neolithic transition involved increasing sedentism and social complexity, which was usually followed by the gradual adoption of plant and animal domestication. In some cases, however, plant domestication preceded sedentism, particularly in the New World., 2009-02-18, Archaeological data indicates that the domestication of various types of plants and animals happened in separate locations worldwide, starting in the geological epoch of the HoloceneWEB,weblink
,weblink" title="">weblink dead, 2013-02-12, International Stratigraphic Chart, International Commission on Stratigraphy, 2012-12-06, around 12,500 years ago. It was the world's first historically verifiable revolution in agriculture. The Neolithic Revolution greatly narrowed the diversity of foods available, resulting in a downturn in the quality of human nutrition.JOURNAL, Armelagos, George J., Brain Evolution, the Determinates of Food Choice, and the Omnivore's Dilemma, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 54, 10, 2014, 1330–1341, 1040-8398, 10.1080/10408398.2011.635817, 24564590,
The Neolithic Revolution involved far more than the adoption of a limited set of food-producing techniques. During the next millennia it would transform the small and mobile groups of hunter-gatherers that had hitherto dominated human pre-history into sedentary (non-nomadic) societies based in built-up villages and towns. These societies radically modified their natural environment by means of specialized food-crop cultivation, with activities such as irrigation and deforestation which allowed the production of surplus food. Other developments found very widely are the domestication of animals, pottery, polished stone tools, and rectangular houses.These developments, sometimes called the Neolithic package, provided the basis for centralized administrations and political structures, hierarchical ideologies, depersonalized systems of knowledge (e.g. writing), densely populated settlements, specialization and division of labour, more trade, the development of non-portable art and architecture, and property ownership. The earliest known civilization developed in Sumer in southern Mesopotamia ({{circa| 6,500 BP}}); its emergence also heralded the beginning of the Bronze Age.NEWS,weblink Neolithic, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 2017-07-21, The relationship of the above-mentioned Neolithic characteristics to the onset of agriculture, their sequence of emergence, and empirical relation to each other at various Neolithic sites remains the subject of academic debate, and varies from place to place, rather than being the outcome of universal laws of social evolution."The Slow Birth of Agriculture" {{webarchive |url= |date=2011-01-01 }}, Heather PringleWEB,weblink Wizard Chemi Shanidar, EMuseum, Minnesota State University,weblink" title="">weblink June 18, 2008, The Levant saw the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC, followed by sites in the wider Fertile Crescent.

Agricultural transition

{{See also|Ancient grains}}File:Evolution of temperature in the Post-Glacial period according to Groeanland ice cores.jpg|thumb|upright=2|Evolution of temperatures in the Post-Glacial period after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) according to Greenland ice cores. The birth of agriculture corresponds to the period of quickly rising temperature at the end of the cold spell of the Younger Dryas and the beginning of the long and warm period of the (Holocene]].JOURNAL, Zalloua, Pierre A., Matisoo-Smith, Elizabeth, Mapping Post-Glacial expansions: The Peopling of Southwest Asia, Scientific Reports, 6 January 2017, 7, 40338, 10.1038/srep40338, 28059138, 5216412, en, 2045-2322, 2017NatSR...740338P, )(File:Centres of origin and spread of agriculture.svg|thumb|right|upright=2.0|Map of the world showing approximate centers of origin of agriculture and its spread in prehistory: the Fertile Crescent (11,000 BP), the Yangtze and Yellow River basins (9,000 BP) and the New Guinea Highlands (9,000–6,000 BP), Central Mexico (5,000–4,000 BP), Northern South America (5,000–4,000 BP), sub-Saharan Africa (5,000–4,000 BP, exact location unknown), eastern North America (4,000–3,000 BP).JOURNAL, 10.1126/science.1078208, Diamond, J., Jared Diamond, Bellwood, P., Farmers and Their Languages: The First Expansions, Science, 300, 5619, 597–603, 2003, 12714734, 2003Sci...300..597D,, )The term Neolithic Revolution was coined in 1923 by V. Gordon Childe to describe the first in a series of agricultural revolutions in Middle Eastern history. The period is described as a "revolution" to denote its importance, and the great significance and degree of change affecting the communities in which new agricultural practices were gradually adopted and refined.The beginning of this process in different regions has been dated from 10,000 to 8,000 BC in the Fertile CrescentThissen, L. "Appendix I, The CANeW 14C databases, Anatolia 10,000-5000 cal. BC." in: F. Gérard and L. Thissen (eds.), The Neolithic of Central Anatolia. Internal developments and external relations during the 9th–6th millennia cal BC, Proc. Int. CANeW Round Table, Istanbul 23–24 November 2001, (2002) and perhaps 8000 BC in the Kuk Early Agricultural Site of Melanesia.JOURNAL, Denham, Tim P., 2003, Origins of Agriculture at Kuk Swamp in the Highlands of New Guinea, Science, 301, 5630, 189–193, 10.1126/science.1085255, 12817084, 2, Haberle, S. G., Fullagar, R, Field, J, Therin, M, Porch, N, Winsborough, B, The Kuk Early Agricultural Site This transition everywhere seems associated with a change from a largely nomadic hunter-gatherer way of life to a more settled, agrarian-based one, with the inception of the domestication of various plant and animal species—depending on the species locally available, and probably also influenced by local culture. Recent archaeological research suggests that in some regions such as the Southeast Asian peninsula, the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculturalist was not linear, but region-specific.JOURNAL, Kealhofer, Lisa, Looking into the gap: land use and the tropical forests of southern Thailand, Asian Perspectives, 2003, 42, 1, 72–95, 10.1353/asi.2003.0022, 10125/17181, There are several competing (but not mutually exclusive) theories as to the factors that drove populations to take up agriculture. The most prominent of these are:
  • The Oasis Theory, originally proposed by Raphael Pumpelly in 1908, popularized by V. Gordon Childe in 1928 and summarised in Childe's book Man Makes Himself.BOOK, Man Makes Himself, Gordon Childe, 1936, Oxford university press, This theory maintains that as the climate got drier due to the Atlantic depressions shifting northward, communities contracted to oases where they were forced into close association with animals, which were then domesticated together with planting of seeds. However, today this theory has little support amongst archaeologists because subsequent climate data suggests that the region was getting wetter rather than drier.Scarre, Chris (2005). "The World Transformed: From Foragers and Farmers to States and Empires" in The Human Past: World Prehistory and the Development of Human Societies (Ed: Chris Scarre). London: Thames and Hudson. p. 188. {{ISBN|0-500-28531-4}}
  • The Hilly Flanks hypothesis, proposed by Robert Braidwood in 1948, suggests that agriculture began in the hilly flanks of the Taurus and Zagros mountains, where the climate was not drier as Childe had believed, and fertile land supported a variety of plants and animals amenable to domestication.BOOK, Rise of Civilization: From Early Hunters to Urban Society in the Ancient Near East, Charles E. Redman, 1978, Freeman, San Francisco,
(File:Associations of wild cereals and other wild grasses in northern Israel.jpg|thumb|upright=1.3|Associations of wild cereals and other wild grasses in northern Israel)
  • The Feasting model by Brian HaydenBOOK, Hayden, Brian, Models of Domestication, Transitions to Agriculture in Prehistory, Anne Birgitte Gebauer and T. Douglas Price, Madison, Prehistory Press, 1992, 11–18, suggests that agriculture was driven by ostentatious displays of power, such as giving feasts, to exert dominance. This required assembling large quantities of food, which drove agricultural technology.
  • The Demographic theories proposed by Carl SauerBOOK, Sauer, Carl O., 1952, Agricultural origins and dispersals, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, and adapted by Lewis BinfordBOOK, Binford, Lewis R., 1968, Post-Pleistocene Adaptations, New Perspectives in Archaeology, Sally R. Binford and Lewis R. Binford, Aldine Publishing Company, Chicago, 313–342, and Kent Flannery posit an increasingly sedentary population that expanded up to the carrying capacity of the local environment and required more food than could be gathered. Various social and economic factors helped drive the need for food.
  • The evolutionary/intentionality theory, developed by David RindosBOOK, The Origins of Agriculture: An Evolutionary Perspective, David, Rindos, Academic Press, December 1987, 978-0-12-589281-0, and others, views agriculture as an evolutionary adaptation of plants and humans. Starting with domestication by protection of wild plants, it led to specialization of location and then full-fledged domestication.
  • Peter Richerson, Robert Boyd, and Robert BettingerJOURNAL, Richerson, Peter J., 2001, Was Agriculture Impossible during the Pleistocene but Mandatory during the Holocene?, American Antiquity, 66, 3, 387–411, 10.2307/2694241, etal, 2694241, Boyd, Robert, make a case for the development of agriculture coinciding with an increasingly stable climate at the beginning of the Holocene. Ronald Wright's book and Massey Lecture Series A Short History of ProgressBOOK, A Short History of Progress, Ronald, Wright, Anansi, 2004, 978-0-88784-706-6,weblink popularized this hypothesis.
  • The postulated Younger Dryas impact event, claimed to be in part responsible for megafauna extinction and ending the last glacial period, could have provided circumstances that required the evolution of agricultural societies for humanity to survive.JOURNAL, Anderson, David G, Albert C. Goodyear, James Kennett, Allen West, Multiple lines of evidence for possible Human population decline/settlement reorganization during the early Younger Dryas, Quaternary International, 2011, 242, 2, 570–583, 10.1016/j.quaint.2011.04.020, 2011QuInt.242..570A, The agrarian revolution itself is a reflection of typical overpopulation by certain species following initial events during extinction eras; this overpopulation itself ultimately propagates the extinction event.
  • Leonid Grinin argues that whatever plants were cultivated, the independent invention of agriculture always took place in special natural environments (e.g., South-East Asia). It is supposed that the cultivation of cereals started somewhere in the Near East: in the hills of Palestine or Egypt. So Grinin dates the beginning of the agricultural revolution within the interval 12,000 to 9,000 BP, though in some cases the first cultivated plants or domesticated animals' bones are even of a more ancient age of 14–15 thousand years ago.Grinin L.E. Production Revolutions and Periodization of History: A Comparative and Theoretic-mathematical Approach. / Social Evolution & History. Volume 6, Number 2 / September 2007 weblink
  • Andrew Moore suggested that the Neolithic Revolution originated over long periods of development in the Levant, possibly beginning during the Epipaleolithic. In "A Reassessment of the Neolithic Revolution", Frank Hole further expanded the relationship between plant and animal domestication. He suggested the events could have occurred independently over different periods of time, in as yet unexplored locations. He noted that no transition site had been found documenting the shift from what he termed immediate and delayed return social systems. He noted that the full range of domesticated animals (goats, sheep, cattle and pigs) were not found until the sixth millennium at Tell Ramad. Hole concluded that "close attention should be paid in future investigations to the western margins of the Euphrates basin, perhaps as far south as the Arabian Peninsula, especially where wadis carrying Pleistocene rainfall runoff flowed."Hole, Frank., A Reassessment of the Neolithic Revolution, Paléorient, Volume 10, Issue 10-2, pp. 49-60, 1984.

Early harvesting of cereals (23,000 BP)

File:Composite Sickles for Cereal Harvesting at 23,000-Years-Old Ohalo II, Israel.jpg|thumb|Composite sickles for cereal harvesting at 23,000-Years-Old Ohalo II, IsraelIsraelUse-wear analysis of five glossed flint blades found at Ohalo II, a 23,000-years-old fisher-hunter-gatherers’ camp on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Northern Israel, provides the earliest evidence for the use of composite cereal harvesting tools. The Ohalo site is at the junction of the Upper Paleolithic and the Early Epipaleolithic, and has been attributed to both periods.BOOK, Enzel, Yehouda, Bar-Yosef, Ofer, Quaternary of the Levant, 2017, Cambridge University Press, 9781107090460, 335,weblink en, The wear traces indicate that tools were used for harvesting near-ripe semi-green wild cereals, shortly before grains are ripe and disperse naturally. The studied tools were not used intensively, and they reflect two harvesting modes: flint knives held by hand and inserts hafted in a handle. The finds shed new light on cereal harvesting techniques some 8,000 years before the Natufian and 12,000 years before the establishment of sedentary farming communities in the Near East. Furthermore, the new finds accord well with evidence for the earliest ever cereal cultivation at the site and the use of stone-made grinding implements.(File:CC-BY icon.svg|50px) Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License JOURNAL, Nadel, Dani, Weiss, Ehud, Groman-Yaroslavski, Iris, Composite Sickles and Cereal Harvesting Methods at 23,000-Years-Old Ohalo II, Israel, PLOS ONE, 23 November 2016, 11, 11, e0167151, 10.1371/journal.pone.0167151, 27880839, 5120854, en, 1932-6203, 2016PLoSO..1167151G,

Domestication of plants

{{further|History of agriculture}}Once agriculture started gaining momentum, around 9000 BC, human activity resulted in the selective breeding of cereal grasses (beginning with emmer, einkorn and barley), and not simply of those that would favour greater caloric returns through larger seeds. Plants with traits such as small seeds or bitter taste would have been seen as undesirable. Plants that rapidly shed their seeds on maturity tended not to be gathered at harvest, therefore not stored and not seeded the following season; successive years of harvesting spontaneously selected for strains that retained their edible seeds longer.(File:Orange slice1.jpg|250px|thumb|left|An "Orange slice" sickle blade element with inverse, discontinuous retouch on each side, not denticulated. Found in large quantities at Qaraoun II and often with Heavy Neolithic tools in the flint workshops of the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. Suggested by James Mellaart to be older than the Pottery Neolithic of Byblos (around 8,400 cal. BP).)Daniel Zohary identified several plant species as "pioneer crops" or Neolithic founder crops. He highlighted the importance of wheat, barley and rye, and suggested that domestication of flax, peas, chickpeas, bitter vetch and lentils came a little later. Based on analysis of the genes of domesticated plants, he preferred theories of a single, or at most a very small number of domestication events for each taxon that spread in an arc from the Levantine corridor around the Fertile Crescent and later into Europe.Zohary, D., The mode of domestication of the founder crops of Southwest Asian agriculture. pp. 142-158 in D. R. Harris (ed.) The Origins and Spread of Agriculture and Pastoralism in Eurasia. UCL Press Ltd, London, 1996Zohary, D., Monophyletic vs. polyphyletic origin of the crops on which agriculture was founded in the Near East. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 46 (2) pp. 133-142 Gordon Hillman and Stuart Davies carried out experiments with varieties of wild wheat to show that the process of domestication would have occurred over a relatively short period of between 20 and 200 years.Hillman, G. C. and M. S. Davies., Domestication rate in wild wheats and barley under primitive cultivation: preliminary results and archaeological implications of field measurements of selection coefficient, pp. 124-132 in P. Anderson-Gerfaud (ed.) Préhistoire de l'agriculture: nouvelles approches expérimentales et ethnographiques. Monographie du CRA 6, Éditions Centre Nationale Recherches Scientifiques: Paris, 1992 Some of the pioneering attempts failed at first and crops were abandoned, sometimes to be taken up again and successfully domesticated thousands of years later: rye, tried and abandoned in Neolithic Anatolia, made its way to Europe as weed seeds and was successfully domesticated in Europe, thousands of years after the earliest agriculture.JOURNAL, Weiss, Ehud, Kislev, Mordechai E., Hartmann, Anat, 2006, Autonomous Cultivation Before Domestication, Science (journal), Science, 312, 5780, 1608–1610, 10.1126/science.1127235, 16778044, Wild lentils presented a different problem: most of the wild seeds do not germinate in the first year; the first evidence of lentil domestication, breaking dormancy in their first year, appears in the early Neolithic at Jerf el Ahmar (in modern Syria), and lentils quickly spread south to the Netiv HaGdud site in the Jordan Valley. The process of domestication allowed the founder crops to adapt and eventually become larger, more easily harvested, more dependable{{clarify|date= November 2016}} in storage and more useful to the human population.File:Molino neolítico de vaivén.jpg|thumb|Neolithic grindstone or quern for processing grain]]Selectively propagated figs, wild barley and wild oats were cultivated at the early Neolithic site of Gilgal I, where in 2006WEB,weblink Tamed 11,400 Years Ago, Figs Were Likely First Domesticated Crop, archaeologists found caches of seeds of each in quantities too large to be accounted for even by intensive gathering, at strata datable to {{circa}} 11,000 years ago. Some of the plants tried and then abandoned during the Neolithic period in the Ancient Near East, at sites like Gilgal, were later successfully domesticated in other parts of the world.Once early farmers perfected their agricultural techniques like irrigation (traced as far back as the 6th millennium BC in KhuzistanBOOK
, Flannery
, Kent V.
, Kent V. Flannery
, 1969
, Origins and ecological effects of early domestication in Iran and the Near East
, Ucko
, Peter John
, Peter John Ucko
, Dimbleby
, G. W.
, The Domestication and Exploitation of Plants and Animals
, New Brunswick, New Jersey
, Transaction Publishers
, 2007
, 89
, 978-0-202-36557-2
, 2019-01-12
, Our earliest evidence for this new technology comes [...] from the lowland steppe of Khuzistan. [...] Once irrigation appeared, the steppe greatly increased its carrying capacity and became, in fact, the dominant growth centre of the Zagros region between 5500 and 4000 B.C.
, Lawton
, H. W.
, Wilke
, P. J.
, 1979
, Ancient Agricultural Systems in Dry Regions of the Old World
, Hall
, A. E.
, Cannell
, G. H.
, Lawton
, H.W.
, Agriculture in Semi-Arid Environments
, Ecological Studies
, 34
, reprint
, Berlin
, Springer Science & Business Media
, 2012
, 13
, 978-3-642-67328-3
, 2019-01-12
, Archeological investigations on the Deh Luran Plain of Iran have provided a model for the internal dynamics of the culture sequence of prehistoric Khuzistan [...]. Somewhere between 5500 and 5000 B.C. in the Sabz phase of the Deh Luran Plain, irrigation water was apparently diverted from stream channels in a fashion similar to that employed in early Mesopotamia.
, ), their crops would yield surpluses that needed storage. Most hunter-gatherers could not easily store food for long due to their migratory lifestyle, whereas those with a sedentary dwelling could store their surplus grain. Eventually granaries were developed that allowed villages to store their seeds longer. So with more food, the population expanded and communities developed specialized workers and more advanced tools.The process was not as linear as was once thought, but a more complicated effort, which was undertaken by different human populations in different regions in many different ways.(File:Genetic analysis on the spread of barley from 9000 to 2000 BCE.jpg|thumb|Genetic analysis on the spread of barley from 9,000 to 2,000 BC)

Spread of crops: the case of barley

One of the world’s most important crops, barley, was domesticated in the Near East around 11,000 years ago (c. 9,000 BC). Barley is a highly resilient crop, able to grown in varied and marginal environments, such as in regions of high altitude and latitude. Archaeobotanical evidence shows that barley had spread throughout Eurasia by 2,000 BC. To further elucidate the routes by which barley cultivation was spread through Eurasia, genetic analysis was used to determine genetic diversity and population structure in extant barley taxa. Genetic analysis shows that cultivated barley spread through Eurasia via several different routes, which were most likely separated in both time and space.(File:CC-BY icon.svg|50px) Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License JOURNAL, Jones, Martin K., Kovaleva, Olga, Barley heads east: Genetic analyses reveal routes of spread through diverse Eurasian landscapes, PLOS ONE, 18 July 2018, 13, 7, e0196652, 10.1371/journal.pone.0196652, 30020920, 6051582, en, 1932-6203, 2018PLoSO..1396652L,

Development and diffusion

Beginnings in the Levant

File:Asikli Hoyuk sarah c murray 6176.jpg|upright=1.5|thumb|The Neolithic is characterized by fixed human settlements and the invention of agriculture from circa 10,000 BC. Reconstitution of Pre-Pottery Neolithic B housing in Aşıklı Höyük, modern TurkeyTurkeyAgriculture appeared first in Southwest Asia about 2,000 years later, around 10,000–9,000 years ago. The region was the centre of domestication for three cereals (einkorn wheat, emmer wheat and barley), four legumes (lentil, pea, bitter vetch and chickpea), and flax. Domestication was a slow process that unfolded across multiple regions, and was preceded by centuries if not millennia of pre-domestication cultivation.JOURNAL, Brown, T. A., Jones, M. K., Powell, W., Allaby, R. G., The complex origins of domesticated crops in the Fertile Crescent, 10.1016/j.tree.2008.09.008, 19100651, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 24, 2, 103–9, 2009,weblink Finds of large quantities of seeds and a grinding stone at the Epipalaeolithic site of Ohalo II, dating to around 19,400 BP, has shown some of the earliest evidence for advanced planning of plants for food consumption and suggests that humans at Ohalo II processed the grain before consumption.BOOK, Mithen, Steven, After the ice : a global human history, 20.000–5.000 BC, 2006, Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, MA, 978-0-674-01570-8, 517, 1. paperback,weblink Compiled largely with reference to: Weiss, E., Mordechai, E., Simchoni, O., Nadel, D., & Tschauner, H. (2008). Plant-food preparation area on an Upper Paleolithic brush hut floor at Ohalo II, Israel. Journal of Archaeological Science, 35 (8), 2400–2414. Tell Aswad is the oldest site of agriculture, with domesticated emmer wheat dated to 10,800 BP.JOURNAL,weblink 12270906, 19, 10, AFLP analysis of a collection of tetraploid wheats indicates the origin of emmer and hard wheat domestication in southeast Turkey, October 2002, 1797–801, Ozkan, H., Brandolini, A., Schäfer-Pregl, R., Salamini, F., Molecular Biology and Evolution, 10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a004002, van Zeist, W. Bakker-Heeres, J.A.H., Archaeobotanical Studies in the Levant 1. Neolithic Sites in the Damascus Basin: Aswad, Ghoraifé, Ramad., Palaeohistoria, 24, 165–256, 1982. Soon after came hulled, two-row barley - found domesticated earliest at Jericho in the Jordan valley and at Iraq ed-Dubb in Jordan.Hopf, Maria., "Jericho plant remains" in Kathleen M. Kenyon and T. A. Holland (eds.) Excavations at Jericho 5, pp. 576–621, British School of Archaeology at Jerusalem, London, 1983. Other sites in the Levantine corridor that show early evidence of agriculture include Wadi Faynan 16 and Netiv Hagdud.BOOK, Graeme Barker, The Agricultural Revolution in Prehistory: Why did Foragers become Farmers?,weblink 2009, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-955995-4, Jacques Cauvin noted that the settlers of Aswad did not domesticate on site, but "arrived, perhaps from the neighbouring Anti-Lebanon, already equipped with the seed for planting".BOOK, Jacques Cauvin, The Birth of the Gods and the Origins of Agriculture, p. 53,weblink 15 August 2012, 2000, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-65135-6, In the Eastern Fertile Crescent, evidence of cultivation of wild plants has been found in Choga Gholan in Iran dated to 12,000 BP, suggesting there were multiple regions in the Fertile Crescent where domestication evolved roughly contemporaneously.JOURNAL, Riehl, Simone, Zeidi, Mohsen, Conard, Nicholas, 2013-07-05, Emergence of Agriculture in the Foothills of the Zagros Mountains of Iran,weblink Science, 341, 6141, 65–7, 10.1126/science.1236743, 23828939, 2013Sci...341...65R, The Heavy Neolithic Qaraoun culture has been identified at around fifty sites in Lebanon around the source springs of the River Jordan, but never reliably dated.BOOK, Peltenburg, E.J., Wasse, Alexander, Council for British Research in the Levant, Maya Haïdar Boustani, Flint workshops of the Southern Beqa' valley (Lebanon): preliminary results from Qar'oun* in Neolithic revolution: new perspectives on southwest Asia in light of recent discoveries on Cyprus,weblink 2004, Oxbow Books, 978-1-84217-132-5, BOOK, L. Copeland, P. Wescombe, Inventory of Stone-Age Sites in Lebanon: North, South and East-Central Lebanon, 89,weblink 1966, Imprimerie Catholique,


(File:Chronology of arrival times of the Neolithic transition in Europe.jpg|thumb|upright=1.3|Chronology of arrival times of the Neolithic transition in Europe from 9,000 to 3,500 before present)Archeologists trace the emergence of food-producing societies in the Levantine region of southwest Asia at the close of the last glacial period around 12,000 BC, and developed into a number of regionally distinctive cultures by the eighth millennium BC. Remains of food-producing societies in the Aegean have been carbon-dated to around 6500 BC at Knossos, Franchthi Cave, and a number of mainland sites in Thessaly. Neolithic groups appear soon afterwards in the Balkans and south-central Europe. The Neolithic cultures of southeastern Europe (the Balkans and the Aegean) show some continuity with groups in southwest Asia and Anatolia (e.g., Çatalhöyük).Current evidence suggests that Neolithic material culture was introduced to Europe via western Anatolia. All Neolithic sites in Europe contain ceramics, and contain the plants and animals domesticated in Southwest Asia: einkorn, emmer, barley, lentils, pigs, goats, sheep, and cattle. Genetic data suggest that no independent domestication of animals took place in Neolithic Europe, and that all domesticated animals were originally domesticated in Southwest Asia.{{sfn|Bellwood|2004|pp=68–9}} The only domesticate not from Southwest Asia was broomcorn millet, domesticated in East Asia.{{sfn|Bellwood|2004|pp=74, 118}}The earliest evidence of cheese-making dates to 5500 BC in Kujawy, Poland.{{sfn|Subbaraman|2012}}The diffusion across Europe, from the Aegean to Britain, took about 2,500 years (6500–4000 BC). The Baltic region was penetrated a bit later, around 3500 BC, and there was also a delay in settling the Pannonian plain. In general, colonization shows a "saltatory" pattern, as the Neolithic advanced from one patch of fertile alluvial soil to another, bypassing mountainous areas. Analysis of radiocarbon dates show clearly that Mesolithic and Neolithic populations lived side by side for as much as a millennium in many parts of Europe, especially in the Iberian peninsula and along the Atlantic coast.{{sfn|Bellwood|2004|pp=68–72}}

Carbon 14 evidence

File:Genetic matrilineal distances between European Neolithic Linear Pottery Culture populations (5,500–4,900 calibrated BC) and modern Western Eurasian populations.jpg|thumb|upright=1.3|Ancient European Neolithic farmers were genetically closest to modern Neast-Eastern/ Anatolian populations. Genetic matrilineal distances between European Neolithic Linear Pottery CultureLinear Pottery CultureThe spread of the Neolithic from the Near East Neolithic to Europe was first studied quantitatively in the 1970s, when a sufficient number of Carbon 14 age determinations for early Neolithic sites had become available. Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza discovered a linear relationship between the age of an Early Neolithic site and its distance from the conventional source in the Near East (Jericho), thus demonstrating that, on average, the Neolithic spread at a constant speed of about 1 km/yr. More recent studies confirm these results and yield the speed of 0.6–1.3 km/yr at 95% confidence level.Original text published under Creative Commons license CC BY 4.0: JOURNAL, Shukurov, Anvar, Sarson, Graeme R., Gangal, Kavita, The Near-Eastern Roots of the Neolithic in South Asia, PLOS ONE, 9, 5, e95714, 2014, en, 10.1371/journal.pone.0095714, 24806472, 4012948, 2014PLoSO...995714G, (File:CC-BY icon.svg|50px) Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Analysis of mitochondrial DNA

Since the original human expansions out of Africa 200,000 years ago, different prehistoric and historic migration events have taken place in Europe. Considering that the movement of the people implies a consequent movement of their genes, it is possible to estimate the impact of these migrations through the genetic analysis of human populations. Agricultural and husbandry practices originated 10,000 years ago in a region of the Near East known as the Fertile Crescent. According to the archaeological record this phenomenon, known as “Neolithic”, rapidly expanded from these territories into Europe. However, whether this diffusion was accompanied or not by human migrations is greatly debated. Mitochondrial DNA –a type of maternally inherited DNA located in the cell cytoplasm- was recovered from the remains of Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) farmers in the Near East and then compared to available data from other Neolithic populations in Europe and also to modern populations from South Eastern Europe and the Near East. The obtained results show that substantial human migrations were involved in the Neolithic spread and suggest that the first Neolithic farmers entered Europe following a maritime route through Cyprus and the Aegean Islands.(File:CC-BY icon.svg|50px) Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License JOURNAL, Turbón, Daniel, Arroyo-Pardo, Eduardo, Ancient DNA Analysis of 8000 B.C. Near Eastern Farmers Supports an Early Neolithic Pioneer Maritime Colonization of Mainland Europe through Cyprus and the Aegean Islands, PLOS Genetics, 5 June 2014, 10, 6, e1004401, 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004401, 24901650, 4046922, en, 1553-7404, File:Map of the spread of Neolithic farming cultures in Europe.jpg|Map of the spread of Neolithic farming cultures from the Near-East to Europe, with dates.File:Modern distribution of the haplotypes of PPNB farmers.jpg|Modern distribution of the haplotypes of PPNB farmersFile:Genetic distance between PPNB farmers and modern populations.jpg|Genetic distance between PPNB farmers and modern populations

South Asia

{{see also|South Asian Stone Age}}{{multiple image| align = right| direction = vertical| header = Expansion to South Asia| total_width = 300| image1 = Early Neolithic sites in the Near East and South Asia 10,000-3,800 BCE.jpg| caption1 = Early Neolithic sites in the Near East and South Asia 10,000-3,800 BC| image2 = Establishment of Neolithic sites.jpg
Neolithic sites as a function of distance from Gesher (archaeological site)>Gesher, Israel. The dispersal rate amounts to about 0.6 km per year.SHUKUROV >FIRST1=ANVAR FIRST2=GRAEME R. FIRST3=KAVITA JOURNAL=PLOS ONE VOLUME=9 PAGES=E95714 PMID=24806472 LANGUAGE=EN BIBCODE=2014PLOSO...995714G, | footer = | alt1 = }}The earliest Neolithic sites in South Asia are Bhirrana in Haryana dated to 7570–6200 BC,BOOK, The Archaeology of South Asia: From the Indus to Asoka, c.6500 BCE–200 CE, Robin, Coningham, Ruth, Young, 111, 9781316418987, Cambridge University Press Cambridge World Archeology, 2015, and Mehrgarh, dated to between 6500 and 5500 BC, in the Kachi plain of Baluchistan, Pakistan; the site has evidence of farming (wheat and barley) and herding (cattle, sheep and goats).There is strong evidence for causal connections between the Near-Eastern Neolithic and that further east, up to the Indus Valley. There are several lines of evidence that support the idea of connection between the Neolithic in the Near East and in the Indian subcontinent. The prehistoric site of Mehrgarh in Baluchistan (modern Pakistan) is the earliest Neolithic site in the north-west Indian subcontinent, dated as early as 8500 BC. Neolithic domesticated crops in Mehrgarh include more than barley and a small amount of wheat. There is good evidence for the local domestication of barley and the zebu cattle at Mehrgarh, but the wheat varieties are suggested to be of Near-Eastern origin, as the modern distribution of wild varieties of wheat is limited to Northern Levant and Southern Turkey. A detailed satellite map study of a few archaeological sites in the Baluchistan and Khybar Pakhtunkhwa regions also suggests similarities in early phases of farming with sites in Western Asia. Pottery prepared by sequential slab construction, circular fire pits filled with burnt pebbles, and large granaries are common to both Mehrgarh and many Mesopotamian sites. The postures of the skeletal remains in graves at Mehrgarh bear strong resemblance to those at Ali Kosh in the Zagros Mountains of southern Iran. Despite their scarcity, the 14C and archaeological age determinations for early Neolithic sites in Southern Asia exhibitremarkable continuity across the vast region from the Near East to the Indian Subcontinent, consistent with a systematic eastward spread at a speed of about 0.65 km/yr.(File:CC-BY icon.svg|50px) Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License JOURNAL, Shukurov, Anvar, Sarson, Graeme R., Gangal, Kavita, The Near-Eastern Roots of the Neolithic in South Asia, PLOS ONE, 7 May 2014, 9, 5, e95714, 10.1371/journal.pone.0095714, 24806472, 4012948, en, 1932-6203, 2014PLoSO...995714G, In South India, the Neolithic began by 6500 BC and lasted until around 1400 BC when the Megalithic transition period began. South Indian Neolithic is characterized by Ash mounds{{clarify|date=February 2019}} from 2500 BC in Karnataka region, expanded later to Tamil Nadu.BOOK, TREES AND WOODLANDS OF SOUTH INDIA: ARCHAEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES, Eleni Asouti and Dorian Q Fuller, 2007,

In East Asia

{{See also|Rice domestication|Neolithic China|Domesticated plants and animals of Austronesia}}File:Spatial distribution of rice, millet and mixed farming sites with a boundary of rice and millet and possible centers of agriculture.png|thumb|upright=1.3|Spatial distribution of rice, millet and mixed farming sites in Neolithic ChinaNeolithic ChinaAgriculture in Neolithic China can be separated into two broad regions, Northern China and Southern China. The first agricultural center in northern China is believed to be the homelands of the early Sino-Tibetan-speakers, associated with the Houli, Peiligang, Cishan, and Xinglongwa cultures, clustered around the Yellow River basin.JOURNAL, Bellwood, Peter, The Checkered Prehistory of Rice Movement Southwards as a Domesticated Cereal—from the Yangzi to the Equator, Rice, 9 December 2011, 4, 3–4, 93–103, 10.1007/s12284-011-9068-9,weblink It was the domestication center for foxtail millet (Setaria italica) and broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum) with evidence of domestication of these species approximately 8,000 years ago.JOURNAL, Fuller, D. Q., Contrasting Patterns in Crop Domestication and Domestication Rates: Recent Archaeobotanical Insights from the Old World, 10.1093/aob/mcm048, Annals of Botany, 100, 5, 903–924, 2007, 17495986, 2759199, These species were subsequently widely cultivated in the Yellow River basin (7,500 years ago). Soybean was also domesticated in northern China 4,500 years ago.BOOK, Siddiqi, Mohammad Rafiq, Tylenchida: Parasites of Plants and Insects, CABI, 2001, Orange and peach also originated in China. They were cultivated around 2500 BC.BOOK, Thacker, Christopher, The history of gardens, 1985, University of California Press, Berkeley, 978-0-520-05629-9, 57,weblink Webber, Herbert John (1967–1989). Chapter I. History and Development of the Citrus Industry {{webarchive|url= |date=2016-05-23 }} in Origin of Citrus, Vol. 1. University of CaliforniaFile:Likely routes of early rice transfer, and possible language family homelands (archaeological sites in China and SE Asia shown).png|thumb|upright=1.3|left|Likely routes of early rice transfer, and possible language family homelands (ca. 3,500 to 500 BC). The approximate coastlines during the early HoloceneHoloceneThe second agricultural center in southern China are clustered around the Yangtze River basin. Rice was domesticated in this region, together with the development of paddy field cultivation, between 13,500 to 8,200 years ago.JOURNAL, Molina, J., Sikora, M., Garud, N., Flowers, J. M., Rubinstein, S., Reynolds, A., Huang, P., Jackson, S., Schaal, B. A., Bustamante, 10.1073/pnas.1104686108, C. D., Boyko, A. R., Purugganan, M. D., Molecular evidence for a single evolutionary origin of domesticated rice, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 20, 8351–6, 2011, 21536870, 3101000, 2011PNAS..108.8351M, JOURNAL, Zhang, Jianping, Lu, Houyuan, Gu, Wanfa, Wu, Naiqin, Zhou, Kunshu, Hu, Yayi, Xin, Yingjun, Wang, Can, Kashkush, Khalil, Early Mixed Farming of Millet and Rice 7800 Years Ago in the Middle Yellow River Region, China, PLoS ONE, 17 December 2012, 7, 12, e52146, 10.1371/journal.pone.0052146, 23284907, 3524165, 2012PLoSO...752146Z, There are two possible centers of domestication for rice. The first, and most likely, is in the lower Yangtze River, believed to be the homelands of early Austronesian speakers and associated with the Kauhuqiao, Hemudu, Majiabang, and Songze cultures. It is characterized by typical pre-Austronesian features, including stilt houses, jade carving, and boat technologies. Their diet were also supplemented by acorns, water chestnuts, foxnuts, and pig domestication. The second is in the middle Yangtze River, believed to be the homelands of the early Hmong-Mien-speakers and associated with the Pengtoushan and Daxi cultures. Both of these regions were heavily populated and had regular trade contacts with each other, as well as with early Austroasiatic speakers to the west, and early Kra-Dai speakers to the south, facilitating the spread of rice cultivation throughout southern China. File:Chronological dispersal of Austronesian people across the Pacific (per Bellwood in Chambers, 2008).png|thumb|320px|Chronological dispersal of Austronesian peoples across the Indo-PacificIndo-PacificThe millet and rice-farming cultures also first came into contact with each other at around 9,000 to 7,000 BP, resulting in a corridor between the millet and rice cultivation centers where both rice and millet were cultivated. At around 5,500 to 4,000 BP, there was increasing migration into Taiwan from the early Austronesian Dapenkeng culture, bringing rice and millet cultivation technology with them. During this period, there is evidence of large settlements and intensive rice cultivation in Taiwan and the Penghu Islands, which may have resulted in overexploitation. Bellwood (2011) proposes that this may have been the impetus of the Austronesian expansion which started with the migration of the Austronesian-speakers from Taiwan to the Philippines at around 5,000 BP. Austronesians carried rice cultivation technology to Island Southeast Asia along with other domesticated species. The new tropical island environments also had new food plants that they exploited. They carried useful plants and animals during each colonization voyage, resulting in the rapid introduction of domesticated and semi-domesticated species throughout Oceania. They also came into contact with the early agricultural centers of Papuan-speaking populations of New Guinea as well as the Dravidian-speaking regions of South India and Sri Lanka by around 3,500 BP. They acquired further cultivated food plants like bananas and pepper from them, and in turn introduced Austronesian technologies like wetland cultivation and outrigger canoes.BOOK, Tim, Bayliss-Smith, Jack, Golson, Philip, Hughes, Jack, Golson, Tim, Denham, Philip, Hughes, Pamela, Swadling, John, Muke, Ten Thousand Years of Cultivation at Kuk Swamp in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Phase 4: Major Disposal Channels, Slot-Like Ditches and Grid-Patterned Fields, ANU Press, terra australis, 46, 2017, 239–268, 978-1-76046-116-4,weblink BOOK, Mahdi, Waruno, Blench, Roger, Spriggs, Matthew, Archaeology and Language III: Artefacts languages, and texts, The Dispersal of Austronesian boat forms in the Indian Ocean, 34, Routledge, One World Archaeology, 1999, 144–179, 978-0-415-10054-0, BOOK, Roger, Blench, Atholl, Anderson, James H., Barrett, Katherine V., Boyle, The Global Origins and Development of Seafaring, Evidence for the Austronesian Voyages in the Indian Ocean, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2010, 239–248, 978-1-902937-52-6,weblink During the 1st millennium AD, they also colonized Madagascar and the Comoros, bringing Southeast Asian food plants, including rice, to East Africa.JOURNAL, Beaujard, Philippe, The first migrants to Madagascar and their introduction of plants: linguistic and ethnological evidence, Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa, August 2011, 46, 2, 169–189, 10.1080/0067270X.2011.580142,weblink BOOK, Walter, Annie, Lebot, Vincent, Gardens of Oceania, 2007, IRD Éditions-CIRAD, 978-1-86320-470-5,weblink

In Africa

(File:Nile-River1.ogv|thumb|right|Nile River Valley, Egypt)On the African continent, three areas have been identified as independently developing agriculture: the Ethiopian highlands, the Sahel and West Africa.BOOK, Diamond, Jared, Jared Diamond, 1999, Guns, Germs, and Steel, New York: Norton Press, 978-0-393-31755-8, Guns, Germs, and Steel, By contrast, Agriculture in the Nile River Valley is thought to have developed from the original Neolithic Revolution in the Fertile Crescent. Many grinding stones are found with the early Egyptian Sebilian and Mechian cultures and evidence has been found of a neolithic domesticated crop-based economy dating around 7,000 BP.The Cambridge History of AfricaSmith, Philip E.L., Stone Age Man on the Nile, Scientific American Vol. 235 No. 2, August 1976: "With the benefit of hindsight we can now see that many Late Paleolithic peoples in the Old World were poised on the brink of plant cultivation and animal husbandry as an alternative to the hunter-gatherer's way of life".Unlike the Middle East, this evidence appears as a "false dawn" to agriculture, as the sites were later abandoned, and permanent farming then was delayed until 6,500 BP with the Tasian and Badarian cultures and the arrival of crops and animals from the Near East.Bananas and plantains, which were first domesticated in Southeast Asia, most likely Papua New Guinea, were re-domesticated in Africa possibly as early as 5,000 years ago. Asian yams and taro were also cultivated in Africa.The most famous crop domesticated in the Ethiopian highlands is coffee. In addition, khat, ensete, noog, teff and finger millet were also domesticated in the Ethiopian highlands. Crops domesticated in the Sahel region include sorghum and pearl millet. The kola nut was first domesticated in West Africa. Other crops domesticated in West Africa include African rice, yams and the oil palm.Agriculture spread to Central and Southern Africa in the Bantu expansion during the 1st millennium BC to 1st millennium AD.

In the Americas

{{further|New World crops|Ancestral Puebloans|Oasisamerica|Proto-Uto-Aztecan}}Maize (corn), beans and squash were among the earliest crops domesticated in Mesoamerica, with maize beginning about 4000 BC,BOOK, Johannessen, S., Hastorf, C. A., Corn and Culture in the Prehistoric New World, Westview Press, squash as early as 6000 BC, and beans by no later than 4000 BC. Potatoes and manioc were domesticated in South America. In what is now the eastern United States, Native Americans domesticated sunflower, sumpweed and goosefoot around 2500 BC. Sedentary village life based on farming did not develop until the second millennium BC, referred to as the formative period.BOOK, Graeme Barker, The Agricultural Revolution in Prehistory: Why Did Foragers Become Farmers?, 252,weblink 4 January 2012, 2009, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-955995-4,

In New Guinea

{{see also|Domesticated plants and animals of Austronesia}}Evidence of drainage ditches at Kuk Swamp on the borders of the Western and Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea shows evidence of the cultivation of taro and a variety of other crops, dating back to 11,000 BP. Two potentially significant economic species, taro (Colocasia esculenta) and yam (Dioscorea sp.), have been identified dating at least to 10,200 calibrated years before present (cal BP). Further evidence of bananas and sugarcane dates to 6,950 to 6,440 BP. This was at the altitudinal limits of these crops, and it has been suggested that cultivation in more favourable ranges in the lowlands may have been even earlier. CSIRO has found evidence that taro was introduced into the Solomon Islands for human use, from 28,000 years ago, making taro cultivation the earliest crop in the world.Denham, Tim et al. (received July 2005) "Early and mid Holocene tool-use and processing of taro (Colocasia esculenta), yam (Dioscorea sp.) and other plants at Kuk Swamp in the highlands of Papua New Guinea" (Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 33, Issue 5, May 2006)Loy, Thomas & Matthew Spriggs (1992), " Direct evidence for human use of plants 28,000 years ago: starch residues on stone artefacts from the northern Solomon Islands" (Antiquity Volume: 66, Number: 253, pp. 898–912)It seems to have resulted in the spread of the Trans–New Guinea languages from New Guinea east into the Solomon Islands and west into Timor and adjacent areas of Indonesia. This seems to confirm the theories of Carl Sauer who, in "Agricultural Origins and Dispersals", suggested as early as 1952 that this region was a centre of early agriculture.

Domestication of animals

{{Further|Domestication of animals}}When hunter-gathering began to be replaced by sedentary food production it became more profitable to keep animals close at hand.{{citation needed|date=November 2016}} Therefore, it became necessary to bring animals permanently to their settlements, although in many cases there was a distinction between relatively sedentary farmers and nomadic herders.NEWS,weblink The Development of Agriculture, Genographic Project, 2017-07-21, en-US, dead,weblink 2016-04-14, {{original research inline|date=November 2016}} The animals' size, temperament, diet, mating patterns, and life span were factors in the desire and success in domesticating animals. Animals that provided milk, such as cows and goats, offered a source of protein that was renewable and therefore quite valuable. The animal’s ability as a worker (for example ploughing or towing), as well as a food source, also had to be taken into account. Besides being a direct source of food, certain animals could provide leather, wool, hides, and fertilizer. Some of the earliest domesticated animals included dogs (East Asia, about 15,000 years ago),NEWS,weblink Origin of dogs traced, 2006-11-29, McGourty, Christine, 2002-11-22, BBC News, sheep, goats, cows, and pigs.

Domestication of animals in the Middle East

(File:Menare.jpg|Dromedary caravan in Algeria|thumb|right)The Middle East served as the source for many animals that could be domesticated, such as sheep, goats and pigs. This area was also the first region to domesticate the dromedary. Henri Fleisch discovered and termed the Shepherd Neolithic flint industry from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon and suggested that it could have been used by the earliest nomadic shepherds. He dated this industry to the Epipaleolithic or Pre-Pottery Neolithic as it is evidently not Paleolithic, Mesolithic or even Pottery Neolithic.Fleisch, Henri., Notes de Préhistoire Libanaise : 1) Ard es Saoude. 2) La Bekaa Nord. 3) Un polissoir en plein air. BSPF, vol. 63. The presence of these animals gave the region a large advantage in cultural and economic development. As the climate in the Middle East changed and became drier, many of the farmers were forced to leave, taking their domesticated animals with them. It was this massive emigration from the Middle East that would later help distribute these animals to the rest of Afroeurasia. This emigration was mainly on an east-west axis of similar climates, as crops usually have a narrow optimal climatic range outside of which they cannot grow for reasons of light or rain changes. For instance, wheat does not normally grow in tropical climates, just like tropical crops such as bananas do not grow in colder climates. Some authors, like Jared Diamond, have postulated that this East-West axis is the main reason why plant and animal domestication spread so quickly from the Fertile Crescent to the rest of Eurasia and North Africa, while it did not reach through the North-South axis of Africa to reach the Mediterranean climates of South Africa, where temperate crops were successfully imported by ships in the last 500 years.Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Jared Diamond (1997). Similarly, the African Zebu of central Africa and the domesticated bovines of the fertile-crescent — separated by the dry sahara desert — were not introduced into each other's region.


Social change

(File:World population growth (lin-log scale).png|thumb|left|320px|World population (estimated) did not rise for a few millennia after the Neolithic revolution.)Despite the significant technological advance, the Neolithic revolution did not lead immediately to a rapid growth of population. Its benefits appear to have been offset by various adverse effects,mostly diseases and warfare.James C. Scott,Against the Grain: a Deep History of the Earliest States, NJ:Yale UP, (2017), "The world's population in 10 000 BC, according to a careful estimate was roughly 4 million. A full five thousand years later it has risen only to 5 million...One likely explanation for this apparent human progress in subsistance techniques together with a long period of demographic stagnation is that epidemologically this was perhaps the most lethal period in human history".The introduction of agriculture has not necessarily led to unequivocal progress. The nutritional standards of the growing Neolithic populations were inferior to that of hunter-gatherers. Several ethnological and archaeological studies conclude that the transition to cereal-based diets caused a reduction in life expectancy and stature, an increase in infant mortality and infectious diseases, the development of chronic, inflammatory or degenerative diseases (such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases) and multiple nutritional deficiencies, including vitamin deficiencies, iron deficiency anemia and mineral disorders affecting bones (such as osteoporosis and rickets) and teeth.JOURNAL, Sands DC, Morris CE, Dratz EA, Pilgeram A, Elevating optimal human nutrition to a central goal of plant breeding and production of plant-based foods., Plant Sci, 2009, 177, 5, 377–389, 20467463, 10.1016/j.plantsci.2009.07.011, 2866137, Review, JOURNAL, O'Keefe JH, Cordain L, Cardiovascular disease resulting from a diet and lifestyle at odds with our Paleolithic genome: how to become a 21st-century hunter-gatherer., Mayo Clin Proc, 2004, 79, 1, 101–108, 14708953, 10.4065/79.1.101, Review, BOOK, Shermer, Michael, Michael Shermer, 2001, The Borderlands of Science, Oxford University Press, 250, Average height went down from 5'10" (178 cm) for men and 5'6" (168 cm) for women to 5'5" (165 cm) and 5'1" (155 cm), respectively, and it took until the twentieth century for average human height to come back to the pre-Neolithic Revolution levels.JOURNAL, Hermanussen, Michael, Poustka, Fritz, Stature of early Europeans, Hormones (Athens), 2, 3, 175–178, July–September 2003, 17003019, 10.1159/000079404,weblink The traditional view is that agricultural food production supported a denser population, which in turn supported larger sedentary communities, the accumulation of goods and tools, and specialization in diverse forms of new labor. The development of larger societies led to the development of different means of decision making and to governmental organization. Food surpluses made possible the development of a social elite who were not otherwise engaged in agriculture, industry or commerce, but dominated their communities by other means and monopolized decision-making.JOURNAL, Eagly, Alice H., Wood, Wendy, The Origins of Sex Differences in Human Behavior: Evolved Dispositions Versus Social Roles, American Psychologist, 54, 6, June 1999, 408–423,weblink 10.1037/0003-066x.54.6.408, Jared Diamond (in The World Until Yesterday) identifies the availability of milk and cereal grains as permitting mothers to raise both an older (e.g. 3 or 4 year old) and a younger child concurrently. The result is that a population can increase more rapidly. Diamond, in agreement with feminist scholars such as V. Spike Peterson, points out that agriculture brought about deep social divisions and encouraged gender inequality.JOURNAL, Diamond, Jared, Jared Diamond,weblink The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race, Discover Magazine, May 1987, 64–66, JOURNAL, Peterson, V. Spike, 2014-07-03, Sex Matters, International Feminist Journal of Politics, en, 16, 3, 389–409, 10.1080/14616742.2014.913384, 1461-6742,

Subsequent revolutions

File:Egyptian Domesticated Animals.jpg|thumb|Domesticated cow being milked in Ancient EgyptAncient EgyptAndrew Sherratt has argued that following upon the Neolithic Revolution was a second phase of discovery that he refers to as the secondary products revolution. Animals, it appears, were first domesticated purely as a source of meat.Sherratt 1981 The Secondary Products Revolution occurred when it was recognised that animals also provided a number of other useful products. These included: Sherratt argued that this phase in agricultural development enabled humans to make use of the energy possibilities of their animals in new ways, and permitted permanent intensive subsistence farming and crop production, and the opening up of heavier soils for farming. It also made possible nomadic pastoralism in semi arid areas, along the margins of deserts, and eventually led to the domestication of both the dromedary and Bactrian camel. Overgrazing of these areas, particularly by herds of goats, greatly extended the areal extent of deserts.Living in one spot would have more easily permitted the accrual of personal possessions and an attachment to certain areas of land. From such a position, it is argued{{by whom|date=May 2015}}, prehistoric people were able to stockpile food to survive lean times and trade unwanted surpluses with others. Once trade and a secure food supply were established, populations could grow, and society would have diversified into food producers and artisans, who could afford to develop their trade by virtue of the free time they enjoyed because of a surplus of food. The artisans, in turn, were able to develop technology such as metal weapons. Such relative complexity would have required some form of social organisation to work efficiently, so it is likely that populations that had such organisation, perhaps such as that provided by religion, were better prepared and more successful. In addition, the denser populations could form and support legions of professional soldiers. Also, during this time property ownership became increasingly important to all people. Ultimately, Childe argued that this growing social complexity, all rooted in the original decision to settle, led to a second Urban Revolution in which the first cities were built.{{Citation needed|date=November 2008}}


Throughout the development of sedentary societies, disease spread more rapidly than it had during the time in which hunter-gatherer societies existed. Inadequate sanitary practices and the domestication of animals may explain the rise in deaths and sickness following the Neolithic Revolution, as diseases jumped from the animal to the human population. Some examples of infectious diseases spread from animals to humans are influenza, smallpox, and measles.JOURNAL, Furuse, Y., Suzuki, A., Oshitani, H., Origin of measles virus: Divergence from rinderpest virus between the 11th and 12th centuries, 10.1186/1743-422X-7-52, Virology Journal, 7, 52, 2010, 2838858, 20202190, In concordance with a process of natural selection, the humans who first domesticated the big mammals quickly built up immunities to the diseases as within each generation the individuals with better immunities had better chances of survival. In their approximately 10,000 years of shared proximity with animals, such as cows, Eurasians and Africans became more resistant to those diseases compared with the indigenous populations encountered outside Eurasia and Africa.(Guns, Germs, and Steel|Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies). Jared Diamond, 1997 For instance, the population of most Caribbean and several Pacific Islands have been completely wiped out by diseases. 90% or more of many populations of the Americas were wiped out by European and African diseases before recorded contact with European explorers or colonists. Some cultures like the Inca Empire did have a large domestic mammal, the llama, but llama milk was not drunk, nor did llamas live in a closed space with humans, so the risk of contagion was limited. According to bioarchaeological research, the effects of agriculture on physical and dental health in Southeast Asian rice farming societies from 4000 to 1500 B.P. was not detrimental to the same extent as in other world regions.JOURNAL, Halcrow, S. E., Harris, N. J., Tayles, N., Ikehara‐Quebral, R., Pietrusewsky, M., From the mouths of babes: Dental caries in infants and children and the intensification of agriculture in mainland Southeast Asia, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 2013, 150, 3, 409–420, 10.1002/ajpa.22215, 23359102,


In his book Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond argues that Europeans and East Asians benefited from an advantageous geographical location that afforded them a head start in the Neolithic Revolution. Both shared the temperate climate ideal for the first agricultural settings, both were near a number of easily domesticable plant and animal species, and both were safer from attacks of other people than civilizations in the middle part of the Eurasian continent. Being among the first to adopt agriculture and sedentary lifestyles, and neighboring other early agricultural societies with whom they could compete and trade, both Europeans and East Asians were also among the first to benefit from technologies such as firearms and steel swords.WEB,weblink BBC – History – Ancient History in depth: Overview: From Neolithic to Bronze Age, 8000–800 BC, 2017-07-21,


The dispersal of Neolithic culture from the Middle East has recently been associated with the distribution of human genetic markers. In Europe, the spread of the Neolithic culture has been associated with distribution of the E1b1b lineages and Haplogroup J that are thought to have arrived in Europe from North Africa and the Near East respectively.JOURNAL, Semino, 2004, Origin, Diffusion, and Differentiation of Y-Chromosome Haplogroups E and J: Inferences on the Neolithization of Europe and Later Migratory Events in the Mediterranean Area, 15069642, O, Magri, C, Benuzzi, G, Lin, AA, Al-Zahery, N, Battaglia, V, MacCioni, L, Triantaphyllidis, C, Shen, P, 74, 5, 1023–34, 10.1086/386295, 1181965, American Journal of Human Genetics, 1, JOURNAL, Lancaster, Andrew, 2009,weblink Journal of Genetic Genealogy, 5, 1, Y Haplogroups, Archaeological Cultures and Language Families: a Review of the Multidisciplinary Comparisons using the case of E-M35, In Africa, the spread of farming, and notably the Bantu expansion, is associated with the dispersal of Y-chromosome haplogroup E1b1a from West Africa.

Comparative chronology

{{Neolithic Chronology}}

See also




  • Bailey, Douglass. (2001). Balkan Prehistory: Exclusions, Incorporation and Identity. Routledge Publishers. {{ISBN|0-415-21598-6}}.
  • Bailey, Douglass. (2005). Prehistoric Figurines: Representation and Corporeality in the Neolithic. Routledge Publishers. {{ISBN|0-415-33152-8}}.
  • Balter, Michael (2005). The Goddess and the Bull: Catalhoyuk, An Archaeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilization. New York: Free Press. {{ISBN|0-7432-4360-9}}.
  • BOOK, Bellwood, Peter, 2004, First Farmers: The Origins of Agricultural Societies, Blackwell, 0-631-20566-7, harv,
  • Bocquet-Appel, Jean-Pierre, editor and Ofer Bar-Yosef, editor, The Neolithic Demographic Transition and its Consequences, Springer (October 21, 2008), hardcover, 544 pages, {{ISBN|978-1-4020-8538-3}}, trade paperback and Kindle editions are also available.
  • Cohen, Mark Nathan (1977)The Food Crisis in Prehistory: Overpopulation and the Origins of Agriculture. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. {{ISBN|0-300-02016-3}}.
  • Diamond, Jared (1997). Guns, germs and steel. A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years.
  • Diamond, Jared (2002). "Evolution, Consequences and Future of Plant and Animal Domestication". Nature, Vol 418.
  • Harlan, Jack R. (1992). Crops & Man: Views on Agricultural Origins ASA, CSA, Madison, WI.weblink" title="">weblink
  • Wright, Gary A. (1971). "Origins of Food Production in Southwestern Asia: A Survey of Ideas" Current Anthropology, Vol. 12, No. 4/5 (Oct.–Dec., 1971), pp. 447–477
  • Kuijt, Ian; Finlayson, Bill. (2009). "Evidence for food storage and predomestication granaries 11,000 years ago in the Jordan Valley". PNAS, Vol. 106, No. 27, pp. 10966–10970.

External links

  • {{YouTube|Yocja_N5s1I|The Agricultural Revolution}}: Crash Course World History 1
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