The origin of agriculture is one of the defining events of human history. Some 11,000 years ago bands of hunter-gatherers started to abandon their high-mobility lifestyles in favour of growing crops, and the creation of settled, sedentary communities. This shift into an agricultural lifestyle triggered the evolution of complex political and economic structures, and technological developments, and ultimately underpinned the rise of all the great civilisations of recent human history.
Domestication of Plants in the Old World reviews and synthesises the information on the origins and domestication of cultivated plants in the Old World, and subsequently the spread of cultivation from southwest Asia into Asia, Europe, and north Africa, from the very earliest beginnings. This book is mainly based on detailed consideration of two lines of evidences: the plant remains found at archaeological sites, and the knowledge that has accumulated about the present-day wild relatives of domesticated plants. This new edition revises and updates previous data and incorporates the most recent findings from molecular biology about the genetic relations between domesticated plants and their wild ancestors, and incorporates extensive new archaeological data about the spread of agriculture within the region. The reference list has been completely updated, as have the list of archaeological sites and the site maps.