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New evidence of Late Glacial cereal cultivation at Abu Hureyra on the Euphrates.

Hillman, G. C. and Hedges, R. and Moore, A. and Colledge, S. and Pettitt, P. (2001) 'New evidence of Late Glacial cereal cultivation at Abu Hureyra on the Euphrates.', The Holocene., 11 (4). pp. 383-393.


Hitherto, the earliest archaeological finds of domestic cereals in southwestern Asia have involved wheats and barleys dating from the beginning of the Holocene, 11–12000 calendar years ago. New evidence from the site of Abu Hureyra suggests that systematic cultivation of cereals in fact started well before the end of the Pleistocene by at least 13000 years ago, and that rye was among the first crops. The evidence also indicates that hunter-gatherers at Abu Hureyra first started cultivating crops in response to a steep decline in wild plants that had served as staple foods for at least the preceding four centuries. The decline in these wild staples is attributable to a sudden, dry, cold, climatic reversal equivalent to the ‘Younger Dryas’ period. At Abu Hureyra, therefore, it appears that the primary trigger for the occupants to start cultivating caloric staples was climate change. It is these beginnings of cultivation in the late Pleistocene that gave rise to the integrated grain-livestock Neolithic farming systems of the early Holocene

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Agricultural origins, Cereal cultivation, Hunter-gatherers, Domestication, Palaeoclimate, Rye, Abu Hureyra, Euphrates, Southwestern Asia, Lateglaical, Early Holocene.
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Record Created:13 Jul 2009 13:05
Last Modified:07 Mar 2012 12:02

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