Article

Early History of Animal Domestication in Southwest Asia

Benjamin S. Arbuckle

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science


Published online April 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780199389414 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199389414.013.548

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Environmental History
  • Agriculture and Farming
  • Environmental Economics

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

The domestication of livestock animals has long been recognized as one of the most important and influential events in human prehistory and has been the subject of scholarly inquiry for centuries. Modern understandings of this important transition place it within the context of the origins of food production in the so-called Neolithic Revolution, where it is particularly well documented in southwest Asia. Here, a combination of archaeofaunal, isotopic, and DNA evidence suggests that sheep, goat, cattle, and pigs were first domesticated over a period of several millennia within sedentary communities practicing intensive cultivation beginning at the Pleistocene–Holocene transition. Resulting from more than a century of data collection, our understanding of the chronological and geographic features of the transition from hunting to herding indicate that the 9th millennium bce and the region of the northern Levant played crucial roles in livestock domestication. However, many questions remain concerning the nature of the earliest predomestic animal management strategies, the role of multiple regional traditions of animal management in the emergence of livestock, and the motivations behind the slow spread of integrated livestock husbandry systems, including all four domestic livestock species that become widespread throughout southwest Asia only at the end of the Neolithic period.

Keywords: animal domestication; Neolithic Revolution; pastoralism; animal management

Article.  16195 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental History ; Agriculture and Farming ; Environmental Economics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.