The domestication of plants and the beginning of agriculture in the Near East (in Hebrew)



bookAbout 10,500 years ago, after hundreds of thousands of years in which people lived in small, nomadic and nomadic communities, made their living from natural resources as hunter-gatherers and ate the so-called "Paleo diet," a revolution took place in our region - the "agricultural revolution" or the "Neolithic revolution." This led to the creation of permanent societies of food producers. These dense, complex and plentiful societies gave rise to Western culture.

The group of plants that have been captive to the Neolithic "package of crops" in the Near East includes barley, two kinds of wheat, peas, lentils,  chickpeas, and flax. Most of these species still provide a large part of the agricultural produce that nourishes man and his farm animals. The animals that were involved in that revolution were the goat, the sheep, the cattle and the pig.  Later  olive, grape, fig, pomegranate and date trees were added. The agricultural revolution of more than 10,000 years ago contributed the most important nutritional components to the environment and human society till this day in large parts of the world. The transition to an agricultural way of life resulted in far-reaching changes in man's worldview,  in social structure and organization, and quickly led human society and culture to the situation we now know.

The book examines the fundamental questions concerning plant domestication in the Near East. It presents various aspects of the domestication of plants and the new relationships between man and plants, and between man and nature in general as a result of domestication. The authors contend that domestication of plant life was rapid and took place in one area, today's southeastern Turkey and  northern Syria, and that it was a planned and well-informed process in which a balanced agricultural and nutritional package was constructed.

Avi Gopher is an archaeologist from Tel Aviv University who has been researching the Neolithic period and the subject of the beginning of agriculture in our region. Shahal Abbo is an agronomist from the Hebrew University's Faculty of Agriculture, who has been studying in crops for years, mainly hummus.


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