Human palaeoecology in Southwest Asia during the Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic (c. 9700-8500 cal BC): the plant story

Asouti, E ORCID: 0000-0002-0905-7594
(2017) Human palaeoecology in Southwest Asia during the Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic (c. 9700-8500 cal BC): the plant story. In: Neolithic Corporate Identities. Studies in Early Near Eastern Production, Subsistence, and Environment (SENEPSE), 20 . Ex oriente,Berlin, pp. 21-53. ISBN 978-3-944178-11-0

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This chapter tackles one of the most enduring questions posed by prehistoric archaeology worldwide attracting the interest of prehistorians, anthropologists, economists, geographers and natural scientists alike: how and why did late Palaeolithic societies abandon long-lived and highly successful foraging and hunting economies in order to adopt farming? The chapter provides a critical overview of how this transformation unfolded in Southwest Asia, the place of origin for some of the economically most important contemporary plant and animal food staples, at the very end of the Pleistocene and the beginning of the Holocene some 12,000 years ago. It focuses in particular on the nature of plant management practices during this period and how they were intertwined with changes in climate and vegetation, seasonality patterns, local micro-ecological variability, people’s historical experiences and perceptions of the landscape, mobility strategies, community interactions, and associated symbolic and ritual behaviours. Some of the currently accepted notions about the nature, ecology and economic returns of predomestication cultivation, the causes and evolution of the morphological domestication syndrome in crop progenitor species, and the predicted impacts of climate and environmental change on economic decision-making are critically reviewed and revisited. The chapter concludes by discussing some of the implications of the Southwest Asian case study for understanding the nature and evolution of prehistoric human economic behaviours, and the central role that resource ecologies play in determining the directionality and pace of macroeconomic change.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Southwest Asia, Neolithic, domestication, climate change, niche construction theory
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2018 09:29
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 06:46
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