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Neanderthals, Bandits and Farmers: How…
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Neanderthals, Bandits and Farmers: How Agriculture Really Began (Darwinism…

by Colin Tudge

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This interesting, short book attempts to completely revise the accepted views on the origins of agriculture. Tudge suggests that early humans began to manipulate their food supply by spreading favored food plants, burning to control weeds and pests and other techniques long before formal agriculture developed. This was the favored way of life for millennia, until environmental changes and population pressure forced groups in some areas into permanent agriculture as a lifestyle.
  ritaer | Dec 24, 2014 |
Outlines the thesis that humans had been managing their environment in ways that could be described as 'proto-farming' since the Palaeolithic. That this is why farming arose in different places - people always knew how to farm, but it was only when it became larger scale that it showed up in the archaeological record. May also explain why some species were driven to extinction. Farming was more difficult - you have to do the work at certain times, more labour intensive, caused more injuries and gave worse nutrition than hunting & gathering. But if both were done the farmed food could be a useful backup. This may be one of the reasons H sapiens survived when Neanderthals did not. But when agriculture became too large scale it was difficult to go back, and the farming took up too much time to do other things.
Northern European style farming doesn't work in all environments, which is part of the reason some peoples were thought of as backward by European explorers who didn't understand the full picture. ( )
  antonomasia | Dec 10, 2014 |
Interesting thesis, succinctly stated. ( )
  AsYouKnow_Bob | Oct 21, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300080247, Hardcover)

Colin Tudge overturns the traditional view that farming began in the Middle East 10,000 years ago, quickly led to the Neolithic farming revolution, and ended the hunting-gathering lifestyle. Agriculture in some form had been practiced for thousands of years before that, Tudge argues. Neolithic farming was not the beginning of agriculture but the beginning of agriculture on a large scale, in one place, with refined tools.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:24:23 -0400)

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