Cultivation and domestication had multiple origins: arguments against the core area hypothesis for the origins of agriculture in the Near East
Fuller, Dorian Q, Willcox, George and Allaby, Robin G.. (2011) Cultivation and domestication had multiple origins: arguments against the core area hypothesis for the origins of agriculture in the Near East. World Archaeology, Vol. 43 (No. 4). pp. 628-652. ISSN 0043-8243Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00438243.2011.624747
This paper debates claims that plant domestication occurred rapidly in a single restricted sub-section of the Near Eastern Fertile Crescent. Instead we argue for numerous parallel processes of domestication across the region in the Early Holocene. While a previous generation of genetic results seemed to support a single ‘core area’, the accumulation of genetic evidence and refinements in methods undermine this, pointing increasingly towards multiple geographical origins. We stress that it is important to recognize that modern germplasm collections are an imperfect sample of the diversity of wild and cultivated populations of the past, which included some extinct lineages. We briefly synthesize the accumulated data from archaeobotany, defending the reliability of archaeological science to inform us about the past plant populations used by people. These data indicate an extended period of pre-domestication cultivation of at least a millennium and the slow evolution of morphological domestication adaptations in crop plants. The appearance of early cultivars and domesticates was spread piecemeal around the Near East, and a whole crop package is not evident. The ‘core area’ claimed by some authors has no better claim for primacy or completeness in comparison to other parts of the Near East. Evidence from zooarchaeology similarly points towards a diffuse appearance of various domesticated animals. The ‘non-centric’ appearance of domesticates from the Near East is therefore similar to the emerging evidence from many other regions of the world where plants were domesticated. We develop a hypothesis of why this should be expected given that anatomically modern human ancestors shared practices of vegetation management and planting, the necessary background knowledge for cultivation. Cultivation then was not a rare discovery but was a strategic and systematic shift in economies. The question then becomes why it was developed in the particular regions and periods where it appeared.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Science > Life Sciences (2010- )|
|Journal or Publication Title:||World Archaeology|
|Publisher:||Taylor & Francis|
|Page Range:||pp. 628-652|
|Access rights to Published version:||Restricted or Subscription Access|
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