Plant Domestication in the Near East and Notes on the Modern Human Condition

Lecture | January 16 | 5-6 p.m. | 101 2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility)

 Avi Gopher, Professor, Tel Aviv University; Shahal Abbo, The Levi Eshkol School of Agriculture, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 Archaeological Research Facility

The major issue pertaining to Near Eastern plant domestication by archaeologists is: which model best reconstructs plant domestication? On the one hand, the protracted-autonomous (non-centered) model, thriving in Near Eastern Neolithic studies in the past decade, emphasizes three major aspects of domestication: (a) a long, protracted process that was (b) geographically autonomous (non-centered) and characterized by (c) an unconscious dynamics. On the other hand, is the alternative core-area-one-event (centered) model that views Near Eastern Neolithic plant domestication as knowledge-based and conscious, occurring in a geographically limited core area and during a short, single cultural event.
In our view, the second model is corroborated by multiple lines of evidence from different fields of investigation, including archaeology, archaeobotany, agronomy and genetics (Abbo and Gopher 2017), although it currently represents a minority view.