How agriculture cropped up

Essay by taramankyUniversity, Bachelor's March 2004

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"Probably at first cultivation was an incidental activity of the women while their lords were engaged in the really serious business of the chase" (Childe 1965:82).

Opinions and thoughts such as this dominated the minds of early theorists for many years. This is particularly humorous as Childe attributes the rise of agriculture to women when women were seen as secondary and subordinate to men.


Since the beginning of man's fascination with the past, he has been hypothesizing reasons for change. This has been the case with the origins of agriculture. In the first section, I will begin with a brief overview of some of the earliest theories used to explain our transition to agriculture from hunting and gathering and I will trace the changes in the theories from the some of the earliest up until present. By no means will I be covering all theories but I hope to give an overall perspective in regards to how far we have come in our theories and knowledge of agriculture's rise.

Because this is meant to be a short paper, I plan to focus primarily on the Near East while devoting little or no attention to other areas where agriculture first developed. I intend to focus primarily of the theories of Childe, Braidwood, and Flannery, as they have been the dominant theorists for the Near East, while giving a smaller emphasis to a select few other theories that have interested me. I will mention the sites that each used to demonstrate their theories (if any), however, because the theories are meant to explain the general trends, I will focus on the trends themselves that have risen in the region. In the second section of the paper, I will focus on the site of Çatalhöyük. This site, one of the earliest settlements...