Origin of Agriculture

Category archives for Origin of Agriculture

Pastoralism is the practice of keeping and herding animals such as cattle, goats and sheep, and using the products they produce, including meat, hide, bone, horn and of course, dairy. In the old days, armchair archaeologists thought that pastoralism would have been a phase of cultural adaptation following hunting and gathering and preceding horticulture (the…

Over the last few weeks I’ve run into a few misconceptions about tobacco, as well as some interesting news, so I thought I’d share. If you already know some of this, forgive me, not everyone else does. First, tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum, is a member of the Solanaceae family of plants, which from a human perspective…

The Origin of Wine

With Julia spending the summer and most of the fall in The Republic of Georgia, I’ve been thinking about various political and historical aspects of that country, and one of the things that is claimed to be true is that wine was first invented there. Recently, someone asked me (always ask the archaeologist esoteric stuff…

It is generally thought that life expectancy in the past was less that it is today for our species as a whole and in the case of industrialized countries in particular. However, this belief counts as a falsehood not because it is untrue (it is, in fact, true) but because many people get this idea…

Why do women shop and men hunt?

Or, when the hunting season is closed, watch teh game (the guys), or when there are no sales, admire each other’s shoes (the gals)? This is, of course, a parody of the sociobiological, or in modern parlance, the “evolutionary psychology” argument linking behaviors that evolved in our species during the long slog known as The…

This is the third of three parts of this particular falsehood. (Here is the previous part)

The practice of growing food and keeping livestock was invented numerous times throughout the world. One ‘center’ of agriculture is said to be the Middle East. Despite the fact that calling the Middle East a “center” in this context is a gross oversimplification, it is true that agriculture was practiced in Anatolia and the Levant…

Reading Human Nature

“Human nature” is an interesting topic. People will argue over the definition of human nature, but regardless of what people think or say, it is reasonable to assume that all humans share a psychological and developmental framework to the extent that any two people raised in the same background will ‘turn out’ similar with respect…

Unhealthy Diet in Ancient Near East

This is an old story being resurrected wiht new data: Biblical diet ‘unhealthy’ A new study into the diet of ancient Israel has revealed that far from being ‘the land of milk and honey’, its inhabitants suffered from the lack of a balanced diet.

One of the most interesting and exciting stories in science is that of the Younger Dryas. The Younger Dryas was a climate event that had important effects on human history, and that has been reasonably linked to some of our most important cultural changes, and ultimately some evolutionary changes as well. That is one reason…