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Domestication of Plants in the Old World: The Origin and Spread of Domesticated Plants in Southwest Asia, Europe, and the Mediterranean Basin

By: Daniel Zohary(Author), Maria Hopf(Author), Ehud Weiss(Author)

264 pages, 8 plates with colour photos, illustrations, and map; b/w photos, b/w illustrations, b/w maps

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Aug 2013 | Edition: 4 | #206506 | ISBN-13: 9780199688173
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £43.49 $57/€49 approx
Hardback | Mar 2012 | Edition: 4 | #194523 | ISBN-13: 9780199549061
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £71.99 $94/€82 approx

About this book

The origin of agriculture is one of the defining events of human history. Some 11-10,000 years ago bands of hunter-gatherers started to abandon their high-mobility lifestyles in favour of growing crops, and the creation of settled, sedentary communities. This shift into agricultural lifestyle triggered the evolution of complex political and economic structures, and technological developments, and ultimately underpinned the rise of all the great civilisations of recent human history.

Domestication of Plants in the Old World reviews and synthesises the information on the origins and domestication of cultivated plants in the Old World, and subsequently the spread of cultivation from southwest Asia into Asia, Europe, and North Africa, from the very earliest beginnings.

Domestication of Plants in the Old World is mainly based on detailed consideration of two lines of evidences: the plant remains found at archaeological sites, and the knowledge that has accumulated about the present-day wild relatives of domesticated plants. This new edition revises and updates previous data and incorporates the most recent findings from molecular biology about the genetic relations between domesticated plants and their wild ancestors, and incorporates extensive new archaeological data about the spread of agriculture within the region.

Domestication of Plants in the Old World list has been completely updated, as have the list of archaeological sites and the site maps. This is an advanced, research level text suitable for graduate level students and researchers in the fields of crop science, agriculture, archaeology, botanical archaeology, and plant biotechnology. It will also be of relevance and use to agricultural historians and anyone with a wider interest in the rise of civilisation in this region.

New to this edition:
- New edition incorporates the most recent findings from molecular biology and archaeology on the origins and spread of cultivation
- Improvements in radiocarbon dating techniques have provided many new insights
- Includes information from 64 new representative archaeological sites
- Completely updated references and archaeological site information
- All artwork and maps have been renewed, and the book now includes an 8 page colour plate section

"This is an excellent book that will be consulted for many years. It has essentially been a classic since the first edition."
– Economic Botany, April 2013

Reviews from the previous edition:

"A nearly complete compendium of Old World crop plants that makes the book very informative yet easy reading [...] a first-rate source of knowledge on Old World crops."
– Plant Systematics and Evolution

"An authoritative synthesis of one of the most important fields of contemporary botany [...] This book deserves a wide readership but will be especially valuable to those studying Mediterranean and S.W. Asian floras."
– Watsonia


1. Current state of the art
2. Sources of evidence for the origin and spread of domesticated plants
3. Cereals
4. Pulses
5. Oil and fibre producing crops
6. Fruit trees and nuts
7. Vegetables and tubers
8. Condiments
9. Dye crops
10. Plant remains in representative archaeological sites

Appendix A: Site orientation maps
Appendix B: Chronological chart for the main geographical regions mentioned in the book

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