Where was the earliest transition to agriculture


the Fertile Crescent


Where did agriculture first appear?

We believe that it emerged independently and spread from places as varied as Mesopotamia, China, South America and sub-Saharan Africa. As we explore more, it is likely that scientists will find more places where agriculture may have emerged even earlier.

What is the oldest transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture?

On the basis of such evidence, one of the oldest transitions from hunting and gathering to agriculture has been identified as dating to between 14,500 and 12,000 bp in Southwest Asia.

What is the modern era of Agriculture?

Modern agriculture 1 British agricultural revolution. The agriculturalist Charles ‘Turnip’ Townshend introduced four-field crop rotation and the cultivation of turnips. 2 20th century. … 3 Green Revolution. …

How did agriculture begin in the Neolithic Age?

This theory is bolstered by the fact that the dawn of agriculture seems to coincide with humans being able to make the more sophisticated stone objects which define the Neolithic period. A branch of agriculture—called pastoralism—began around the same time as cultivation of plants.


Which country started agriculture first?

Egyptians were among the first peoples to practice agriculture on a large scale, starting in the pre-dynastic period from the end of the Paleolithic into the Neolithic, between around 10,000 BC and 4000 BC. This was made possible with the development of basin irrigation.

When did humans first transition to agriculture?

approximately 10,000 years agoAgricultural communities developed approximately 10,000 years ago when humans began to domesticate plants and animals. By establishing domesticity, families and larger groups were able to build communities and transition from a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle dependent on foraging and hunting for survival.

When was the first agricultural revolution?

about 12,000 years agoThe Neolithic Revolution—also referred to as the Agricultural Revolution—is thought to have begun about 12,000 years ago. It coincided with the end of the last ice age and the beginning of the current geological epoch, the Holocene.

When was agriculture invented?

some 12,000 years agoSummary: Until now, researchers believed farming was ‘invented’ some 12,000 years ago in an area that was home to some of the earliest known human civilizations. A new discovery offers the first evidence that trial plant cultivation began far earlier — some 23,000 years ago.

How long ago did agriculture start?

Wild grains were collected and eaten from at least 105,000 years ago.

Where did agriculture originate?

By 8000 BC, farming was entrenched on the banks of the Nile. About this time, agriculture was developed independently in the Far East, probably in China, with rice rather than wheat as the primary crop. Maize was domesticated from the wild grass teosinte in southern Mexico by 6700 BC.

What were the first foods that were domesticated in the New World?

The potato (8000 BC), tomato, pepper (4000 BC), squash (8000 BC) and several varieties of bean (8000 BC onwards) were domesticated in the New World. Agriculture was independently developed on the island of New Guinea.

What are the social issues that modern agriculture has raised?

Modern agriculture has raised social, political, and environmental issues including overpopulation, water pollution, biofuels, genetically modified organisms, tariffs and farm subsidies. In response, organic farming developed in the twentieth century as an alternative to the use of synthetic pesticides.

How has agriculture changed since 1900?

Since 1900, agriculture in the developed nations, and to a lesser extent in the developing world, has seen large rises in productivity as human labour has been replaced by mechanization, and assisted by synthe tic fertilizers, pesticides, and selective breeding.

What were the crops that were introduced in the Middle Ages?

In the Middle Ages, both in the Islamic world and in Europe, agriculture was transformed with improved techniques and the diffusion of crop plants, including the introduction of sugar, rice, cotton and fruit trees such as the orange to Europe by way of Al-Andalus.

What was the Bronze Age?

The Bronze Age, from c. 3300 BC, witnessed the intensification of agriculture in civilizations such as Mesopotamian Sumer, ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilisation of the Indian subcontinent, ancient China, and ancient Greece.

Where was agriculture first introduced?

Elsewhere in the Old World the archaeological record for the earliest agriculture is not as well known at this time, but by 8500–8000 bp millet ( Setaria italica and Panicum miliaceum) and rice ( Oryza sativa) were being domesticated in East Asia.

When did dogs become domesticated?

People reached Beringia, the temporary land bridge between Siberia and Alaska, as long as 40,000 years ago , suggesting that dogs may have been domesticated even earlier. Although the exact timing of dog domestication has not been definitively determined, it is clear that the dog was domesticated from the wolf.

Where did the Indo-Iranian borderlands form?

The Indo-Iranian borderlands form the eastern extension of the Iranian plateau and in some ways mirror the environment of the Fertile Crescent…

What animals did the Epipaleolithic people raise?

In the eastern Fertile Crescent, Epipaleolithic people who had been dependent on hunting gazelle s ( Gazella species) and wild goats and sheep began to raise goats and sheep, but not gazelles, as livestock.

Why was agriculture important?

The development of agriculture was of fundamental importance for the future history of mankind. It meant that more people could remain settled in one particular are for a longer period of time and that more people could concentrate their attention on activities other than food production.

What are the achievements of the Stone Age?

Human achievements during the Stone Age are both fascinating and fundamental . Our knowledge of the Stone Age is limited however archeologist have been creative in their interpretation of tool remains and other evidence, such as cave paintings and burial sites, that Stone Age people produced in various parts of the world. What people accomplished during this long period of prehistory remains essential to human life today. Our ability to make and manipulate tools depends directly on what our Stone Age ancestors learned about physical matter. However it was the invention of Agriculture that moved the human species toward more elaborate social and cultural patterns that people today would recognize. With Agriculture human beings were able to settle in one place and focus on economic, political, and religious goals and activities along with increasing the number of people in the world.

When did rice and millet farming start?

The origins of rice and millet farming date to around 6,000 B.C.E.

What was the farming revolution?

Taking root around 12,000 years ago, agriculture triggered such a change in society and the way in which people lived that its development has been dubbed the ” Neolithic Revolution.”. Traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyles, followed by humans since their evolution, were swept aside in favor of permanent settlements …

What mutation occurred during the spread of farming into southeastern Europe?

But at some point during the spread of farming into southeastern Europe, a mutation occurred for lactose tolerance that increased in frequency through natural selection thanks to the nourishing benefits of milk.

What is the meaning of “agriculture”?

agriculture. Noun. the art and science of cultivating land for growing crops (farming) or raising livestock (ranching). annual plant. Noun. plant with a life cycle of no more than one year, and often much less. barley. Noun. grass cultivated as a grain.

When did corn cobs first appear?

While maize-like plants derived from teosinte appear to have been cultivated at least 9,000 years ago, the first directly dated corn cob dates only to around 5,500 years ago . Corn later reached North America, where cultivated sunflowers also started to bloom some 5,000 years ago.

How long ago did goats come to Europe?

Dates for the domestication of these animals range from between 13,000 to 10,000 years ago. Genetic studies show that goats and other livestock accompanied the westward spread of agriculture into Europe, helping to revolutionize Stone Age society. While the extent to which farmers themselves migrated west remains a subject of debate, …

Where did the wild produce originate?

The wild progenitors of crops including wheat, barley and peas are traced to the Near East region. Cereals were grown in Syria as long as 9,000 years ago, while figs were cultivated even earlier; prehistoric seedless fruits discovered in the Jordan Valley suggest fig trees were being planted some 11,300 years ago. Though the transition from wild harvesting was gradual, the switch from a nomadic to a settled way of life is marked by the appearance of early Neolithic villages with homes equipped with grinding stones for processing grain.

Where did agriculture originate?

We believe that it emerged independently and spread from places as varied as Mesopotamia, China, South America and sub-Saharan Africa. As we explore more, it is likely that scientists will find more places where agriculture may have emerged even earlier. The birth of agriculture is often referred to as the Neolithic Revolution since it seems to coincide with the Neolithic period—or new stone age. The Neolithic period’s name stems from the fact that stone artifacts were more smooth and refined than those of the Paleolithic period, or old stone age. Many of these tools facilitated early agriculture.

What is the birth of agriculture called?

The birth of agriculture is often referred to as the Neolithic Revolution since it seems to coincide with the Neolithic period—or new stone age.

What is the name of the branch of agriculture that herds animals?

Pastoralism: a branch of agriculture. A branch of agriculture—called pastoralism—began around the same time as cultivation of plants. Pastoralism is the domestication and herding of animals such as goats, sheep, and cattle.

Why did preagricultural societies need more energy?

For many of these preagricultural societies, a good bit of their energy went into just getting more energy—in other words, food—to keep going and reproduce. There also couldn’t be too many humans living in one area since there was only so much food to be found or killed .

What is the relationship between pastoralists and farmers?

Pastoralists’ military-related artifacts suggest that they may have come into conflict with farming societies; however, in other cases, pastoralists traded goods with farmers in a cooperative relationship.

Why is the Neolithic period called the Neolithic Period?

The Neolithic period’s name stems from the fact that stone artifacts were more smooth and refined than those of the Paleolithic period, or old stone age. Many of these tools facilitated early agriculture.

Why did many societies switch from hunting and foraging to settled agriculture?

One of these theories is that a surplus in production led to greater population. Not everyone needed to be focused on food production, which led to specialization of labor and complex societies.

Where did agriculture begin?

People began farming at different times in different parts of the world. Around 8500 b.c. hunter-gatherers in the area of southwest Asia known as the Fertile Crescent began to cultivate wild grains and domesticate animals. One thousand years later, people in northern and southern China were growing rice and millet and raising pigs. Archeological evidence shows that crops were planted in Central America as early as 7000 b.c., and around 3500 b.c. in the Andes mountains and Amazon river basin of South America. Farmers in Africa began growing crops around 5000 b.c. Three thousand years later, native Americans in the eastern United States planted a few crops, but still depended on hunting and gathering. As agriculture evolved in these locations, so did the social, economic, and cultural practices that led to what is known as civilization.

What were the first crops that were domesticated in the eastern United States?

The only crops domesticated in the eastern United States were squash and a few seed plants.

What were the first crops in the world?

Their first crops were emmer wheat and barley, which were high in protein and easy to domesticate compared to plants native to other parts of the world. Cultivated emmer wheat, for example, is very similar to its wild ancestor, while it took thousands of years for modern corn to evolve from its half-inch-long ancestor.

What were the climates of the fertile crescent?

The climate and geography of the Fertile Crescent were varied, ranging from valleys to mountains and from deserts to riverbeds. In addition to supporting a variety of plant life, this diversity supported a variety of mammals.

Why did people settle in the fertile crescent?

For the thousands of years before plants and animals were domesticated, people roved in small bands, foraging for enough food to stay alive. Because of the abundance of wild foods in the Fertile Crescent, hunter-gatherers settled there permanently.

Why did animals evolve?

Animals also evolved in response to their new environments, some becoming larger and others smaller. The first domesticated animal was the dog, which was bred for hunting and food in several places around the world.

When did domesticated animals reach South Africa?

Domesticated animals did not reach South Africa until around a.d. 200, the same time corn reached the eastern United States. It was therefore the plants, animals, and farm-related technologies of the Fertile Crescent and China that had the greatest impact on future civilizations.

When did farming start in Southwest Asia?

Southwest Asia. Village farming began to spread across Southwest Asia shortly after 10,000 bp, and in less than 1,000 years settled farming cultures were widespread in the region. Notably, the intensive harvesting of wild grains first appeared well before the Epipaleolithic Period.

What is the development of agriculture?

The development of agriculture involves an intensification of the processes used to extract resources from the environment: more food, medicine, fibre, and other resources can be obtained from a given area of land by encouraging useful plant and animal species and discouraging others. As the productivity and predictability of …

Where were goats and sheep herded?

Sheep and goats were herded at Abū Hureyra by 8000 bp. Cattle were not of immediate importance to the people of ancient Southwest Asia, although aurochs ( Bos primigenius ), the wild ancestors of modern cattle, were hunted throughout the region by about 10,000 bp and for the next 1,000 years diminished in body size.

How did livestock plant seeds?

During the earliest period of this transition, hoes or digging sticks were used to break the ground where necessary, and planting was probably accomplished by “treading in,” a process in which livestock are made to plant seeds by walking over an area where they have been broadcast.

When was pottery invented?

In some parts of the Old World, such as Southwest Asia, and in the Americas, pottery appears long after agriculture starts, while in East Asia, where the first pottery dates to as early as 13,700 bp, the opposite is the case.

Where are cereals found in Syria?

Similarly, the cereals at the Syrian sites of Mureybet and Jerf el-Ahmar appear to be wild. The Abū Hureyra site in Syria is the largest known site from the era when plants and animals were initially being domesticated. Two periods of occupation bracketing the transition to agriculture have been unearthed there.


It has often been observed that the emergence of states in a region is typically preceded by an earlier transition to agricultural production.

JEL classification

It has been generally acknowledged in recent years that the transition from a reliance on foraging as the main source of calories to a reliance on crop cultivation and animal husbandry, had a far-reaching impact on social organization and the subsequent pattern of economic development.

1. Empirical Specification and Data

Our main empirical specification is S t a t e A g e i j = α + β · T i m e A g r i i + γ · D j + δ ′ · X i + ϵ i j where the dependent variable S t a t e A g e i j is the time in millennia (ky) in 2000 CE since the emergence of the first state in a territory defined by the borders of current country i in diffusion region j, T i m e A g r i i is the time elapsed since the transition to agriculture in i (ky), D j is a dummy for state diffusion region j, and X i is a set of control variables defined below..

2. Results

The six clusters of pristine states widely accepted by anthropologists emerged on the territories of present-day Iran and Iraq, Egypt, India and Pakistan, China, Mexico and Peru.

3. Mechanisms

In this section we discuss the main arguments in the literature for the nexus between early reliance on agriculture and state formation. Data availability limits how much we can tests these mechanisms.

4. Concluding remarks

The association between a population’s transition to reliance on domesticated crops and animals for its subsistence, and changes in its political structure culminating in the emergence of states, is strongly evident in our data.

Appendix A. Supplementary materials

Supplementary Data S1. Supplementary Raw Research Data. This is open data under the CC BY license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/




Scholars have developed a number of hypotheses to explain the historical origins of agriculture. Studies of the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies indicate an antecedent period of intensification and increasing sedentism; examples are the Natufian culture in the Levant, and the Early Chinese Neolithic in China. Current models indicate that wild stands that …


Sumerian farmers grew the cereals barley and wheat, starting to live in villages from about 8000 BC. Given the low rainfall of the region, agriculture relied on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Irrigation canals leading from the rivers permitted the growth of cereals in large enough quantities to support cities. The first ploughs appear in pictographs from Uruk around 3000 BC; seed-ploughs that funneled s…

Middle Ages and Early Modern period

From 100 BC to 1600 AD, world population continued to grow along with land use, as evidenced by the rapid increase in methane emissions from cattle and the cultivation of rice.
The Middle Ages saw further improvements in agriculture. Monasteries spread throughout Europe and became important centers for the collection of knowled…

Modern agriculture

Between the 17th century and the mid-19th century, Britain saw a large increase in agricultural productivity and net output. New agricultural practices like enclosure, mechanization, four-field crop rotation to maintain soil nutrients, and selective breeding enabled an unprecedented population growth to 5.7 million in 1750, freeing up a significant percentage of the workforce, and thereby helped …

See also

• Agricultural expansion
• Effects of climate change on agriculture
• Farming/language dispersal hypothesis
• Green revolution

Further reading

• Manning, Richard (1 February 2005). Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-1-4668-2342-6.
• Civitello, Linda. Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People (Wiley, 2011) excerpt
• Federico, Giovanni. Feeding the World: An Economic History of Agriculture 1800–2000 (Princeton UP, 2005) highly quantitative

External links

• “The Core Historical Literature of Agriculture” from Cornell University Library

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