Four papers that expand upon the record on the origins of agriculture will appear in a supplement, guest edited by O. Bar-Yosef, Director of the Stone Age Lab at the Peabody Museum of Harvard University, to the August/November 2004 issue of Current Anthropology. Taken as a set, they demonstrate the maturation of the study of agricultural origins through fine-grained regional analyses and new methodological techniques.
Peter Rowley-Conwy in "How the West Was Lost: A Reconsideration of Agricultural Origins in Britain, Ireland, and Southern Scandinavia" shows that the data accumulated during the last 15 years in northwest Europe draws a different scenario from that commonly accepted at present. Rowley-Conwy asserts that rather than the gradual establishment of an agricultural subsistence economy in Ireland, Britain and southern Scandinavia, the process was a rapid "revolution," perhaps due to depletion of local resources or rapid environmental changes.
Natalie D. Munros paper, "Zooarchaeological Measures of Hunting Pressure and Occupation Intensity in the Natufian Implications for Agricultural Origins," presents plausible background for a sequence of events leading to intentional cultivation, by demonstrating the depletion of animal tissue resources during the Younger Dryas (13,000-11,600 cal BP) in the southern Levant.
Carrie Olivia Adams | EurekAlert!
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