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Domestication of Plants in the Old World

The origin of agriculture is one of the defining events of human history. Some 11-10,000 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 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. This is an advanced, research level text suitable for graduate level students and researchers in the fields of crop science, agriculture, archaeology, botanical archaeology, and plant biotechnology. It will also be of relevance and use to agricultural historians and anyone with a wider interest in the rise of civilisation in this region.
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Table of Contents

1. Current state of the art ; 2. Sources of evidence for the origin and spread of domesticated plants ; 3. Cereals ; 4. Pulses ; 5. Oil and fibre producing crops ; 6. Fruit trees and nuts ; 7. Vegetables and tubers ; 8. Condiments ; 9. Dye crops ; 10. Plant remains in representative archaeological sites ; Appendix A: Site orientation maps ; Appendix B: Chronological chart for the main geographical regions mentioned in the book ; References ; Index

About the Author

Daniel Zohary, Professor Emeritus, Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel Maria Hopf, Formerly Head of the Botany Department, Romisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Mainz, Germany [deceased] Ehud Weiss, The Institute of Archaeology, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel


Botany, plant conservation, agriculture, archaeology and the ancient history of western civilisation all meet in this invaluable book. * Stephen P. Tomkins, The Biologist * This is an excellent book that will be consulted for many years. It has essentially been a classic since the first edition. * Economic Botany, April 2013 *

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