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date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Considered globally, food production is one of the most important turning points in human history. Based on archaeological data, this article argues that the origin of food production in the Sahel was the Sahara, at least in its pastoral component. Those from the better studied western Sahel argue further for a subdivision of the beginning of food production into three phases. The first of these comprises the second millennium BC and saw the massive immigration of pastoral communities from the southern Sahara and the establishment and flowering of settled, food-producing communities in some core regions. The second phase comprises the crisis into which the farming communities of the western Sahel fell during the first millennium BC, as indicated by the disappearance or diminution of their remains in the archaeological record. Thereafter, the third phase is characterised by a renewed cultural and economic flowering, to which new crops probably contributed.

Keywords: archaeology, Sahara, farming communities, pastoral communities

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