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The Agricultural Revolution in Prehistory: Why did Foragers become Farmers?

By: Graeme Barker(Author)

616 pages, 138 b/w photos, b/w illustrations, 15 tables

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Jan 2009 | #179210 | ISBN-13: 9780199559954
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £49.49 $64/€56 approx
Hardback | Oct 2006 | #163794 | ISBN: 0199281092
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £152.50 $198/€173 approx

About this book

The Agricultural Revolution in Prehistory addresses one of the most debated and least understood revolutions in the history of our species, the change from hunting and gathering to farming. Graeme Barker takes a global view, and integrates a massive array of information from archaeology and many other disciplines, including anthropology, botany, climatology, genetics, linguistics, and zoology. Against current orthodoxy, Barker develops a strong case for the development of agricultural systems in many areas as transformations in the life-ways of the indigenous forager societies, and argues that these were as much changes in social norms and ideologies as in ways of obtaining food. With a large number of helpful line drawings and photographs as well as a comprehensive bibliography, this authoritative study will appeal to a wide general readership as well as to specialists in a variety of fields.

"a magisterial survey on a global scale"
– Peter Bogucki, Cambridge Archaeological Journal

"Displaying a breathtaking mastery of a vast array of evidence, presented objectively and accurately, Graeme Barker has performed a great service in putting together this global overview of one of archaeology's great questions."
– Paul G. Bahn, Times Literary Supplement

"ideally suited to undergraduates and readers from other disciplines seeking an introduction to this key topic."
British Archaeology

"Not many of today's archaeologist would have either the temerity or the vision to write a book like this. Graeme Barker is one of the few who has both, and The Agricultural Revolution in Prehistory is the impressive outcome."
– Peter Rowley-Conwy, Antiquity

" [...] a masterpiece of interdisciplinary synthesis, which encompasses all parts of the world, not just well-researched areas [...] He puts today's all-embracing, and often popular, theories in a much more sophisticated context. This important and erudite work will surely become a classic [...] "
– Brian Fagan, European Journal of Archaeology

"an extremely useful and balanced analysis of the work done by archaeologists on the history of farming, linked to analyses made within other disciplines including anthropology"
– Monica Janowski, Anthropology in Action


1: Approaches to the origins of agriculture
2: Understanding foragers
3: Identifying foragers and farmers
4: The `hearth of domestication'? Transitions to farming in South-West Asia
5: Central and South Asia: the wheat/rice frontier
6: Rice and forest farming in East and South-East Asia
7: Weed, tuber, and maize farming in the Americas
8: Africa: Afro-Asiatic pastoralists and Bantu farmers?
9: Transitions to farming in Europe: ex oriente lux?
10: The agricultural revolution in prehistory: why did foragers become farmers?

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