Food and Agriculture After 11,000 BCE

After the domestication of dog and cat, numerous changes in the types of food created, found or lost began to make their marks in history. Throughout the world, a new fruit or vegetable was found and as hunting and gathering took a backseat to farming, the cultivation of new food items flourished. In this article, we will deal with the changes that occurred between 11,000 BCE to 8000 BCE.


In 11,000 BCE, sickle sets created from wood or bone were found from this time period, which displayed the characteristic of having edges used for cutting. When studying the patterns of wear on the tools, it is suggested that they served as an important part of harvesting grain. In the Abu Hureyra part of Syria, scientists discovered evidence of cultivated rye, which was taken to the University College of London to be dated by resident archaeo-botanists. They deemed this the earliest specimen regarding a domesticated grain.


By the time 10,000 BCE rolled around, flax is believed to have been harvested. It is a theory that it was also used for food by the early humans who lived near lakes throughout Switzerland. It is suggested that domesticated flax was created from wild flax hailing from the Mediterranean area, about 1,000 years later.


As the years passed on, more and more species of animal were groomed for domestication for the purpose of cultivating the land, as well as adding more variety to what was eaten during these times. In Ali Kosh, Persia (Iran) and Afghanistan, sheep and goats were domesticated during this time.


As newer animal food sources bloomed, older sources of food began to phase out, literally from the planet. During 9000 BCE, the mammoth started to disappear from the earth, becoming extinct in continents, such as Eurasia and North America. But in the southern part of Asia, the chicken was domesticated. On various islands, a few pygmy mammoth populations thrived. During 9000 BCE, people who lived in the northern end of the Dead Sea domesticated a type of wheat called Einkorn.


By 8750 BCE, we wouldn’t have pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving or a side of squash if it wasn’t for the domestication of the pumpkin and related squash during this time. The process took place in what is now referred to as Central America and Mexico. Evidence uncovered from a cave in Idaho suggests that the only domesticated animal in North America at this time is man’s best friend. Dogs are the only animals of this type to roam beside man until about 1500 BCE.


In the Andean Highlands, potatoes become domesticated within 8000 BCE. Throughout the highlands of New Guinea, the banana is thought to come from this time period. The taro root is also domesticated at this time. The first evidence of the brewing of beer is seen from this date, within Mesopotamia. The technique of utilizing floodwater agriculture can be seen during this time period, within the Nile Valley, as well as in parts of southwest Asia.