Abstract: From the Euphrates to the Adriatic: Investigating the Origins and Spread of Farming

The development of farming in Western Asia and its subsequent spread to new lands was one of the most significant events in the entire history of humankind because it made possible the modern world.  The lecture reviews the results of excavations Moore has conducted that illuminate the origins of farming in Western Asia and the spread of this new way of life to southern Europe.  He begins at Abu Hureyra, a village on the Euphrates River in Syria, where excavations in the 1970s documented the early development of farming.  Indeed, Abu Hureyra is currently the oldest known farming settlement in the world.  Moore outlines the results of the excavations and then explains how new research in the last decade on materials recovered from the site, using state of the art methods, is expanding our understanding of the inception of farming and its environmental context.

Moore then goes on to describe his current research in the “Early Farming in Dalmatia” project.  Through excavation of two Neolithic village sites, Danilo and Pokrovnik, on the Dalmatian coast, Moore and his colleagues are documenting the spread of farming from Western Asia to the Central Mediterranean and the Adriatic.  The results of the excavations have provided unusually clear evidence of the nature of the earliest agriculture in Dalmatia and its impact on the environment.  The project is exploring the context in which farming developed through vegetation and geomorphological studies, and an agricultural survey of traditional farming methods.  Thus, the project is an unusually comprehensive one, embracing many different approaches in order to understand better this crucial development in human history.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Carter, S.F. 2007.  Neolithic.  Routledge.

 Moore, A.M.T., Hillman, G.C., and Legge, A.J. 2000.  Village on the Euphrates.  Oxford University Press.

 Smith, B.D. 1995.  The Emergence of Agriculture.  Scientific American.

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