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03/27/2019 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall

Rostovtzeff Lecture Series: Feeding Civilizations: A Comparative Long-Term Consideration of Agricultural and Culinary Traditions across the Old World

Lecture 1: Domestication, Demography, and Settlement: Alternative Mathematics for Early Agriculture

Dorian Q. Fuller

This lecture, the first in a four-part lecture series, will reconsider the origins of agriculture based on recent empirical evidence that tells us both how grain crops were domesticated and how slowly this process unfolded, in West Asia, East Asia, parts of Africa, and India. Archaeobotany is providing a growing evidence base for the ways in which plants became adapted as crops through morphological changes, which were in turn tied to shifts in human practices. The co-evolution was slow, however, and it will be argued that the more revolutionary shift towards agricultural economies was substantially later (a few millennia) than the start of domestication itself. Agricultural economies can be defined as those systems in which wild foraging came to make a much reduced or even marginal caloric contribution to diet, and efforts at food production began to take place at a landscape scale.
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