Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

By intervening in the reproduction of wild plants procured for food and other purposes, hunter-gatherers began a process of morphogenetic domestication that led eventually to the emergence in many regions of the world of agricultural systems based on varied assemblages of crops. This profound transformation in human subsistence began some 12 000 years ago and resulted in cumulative losses of plant biodiversity as the human population became gradually more dependent for its food supply on fewer and fewer staple crops. In this essay four aspects of this phenomenon are examined: (1) how research on plant domestication and agricultural origins developed; (2) the archaeobotanical and genetic techniques currently used to investigate it; (3) hunter-gatherer management, cultivation and domestication of seed-reproduced and vegetatively reproduced food plants, particularly cereal grasses, herbaceous legumes (pulses) and root and tree crops; and (4) transitions to agriculture in several major world regions.

Keywords: agriculture, archaeobotany, biodiversity, cereals, cultivation, hunter-gatherers, plant domestication, pulses, root crops, tree crops

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.