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The Origins of Civilization

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The Spread of Agriculture in the Middle East

The Spread of Agriculture in the Middle East

Agriculture first developed north and east of the Fertile Crescent, between 11,000 and 9,500 BCE. A cold, dry period called the “Younger Dryas Event” led to a decrease in the quantity of wild plants available. People began to cultivate plants to increase the availability of food sources. Einkorn, rye, bread wheat, and lentils were the first plants to be cultivated, followed by other forms of wheat and barley. The domestication of animals followed the domestication of plants in the Middle East. Sheep and goats were domesticated first (around 6,500 BCE). Cattle and pigs were domesticated about 1000 years later.

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