Theories Regarding the Agricultural Revolution

The term of the Agricultural revolution was dubbed and studied primarily from the 1920s to the 1940s. Renamed the Neolithic Revolution in 1950, individuals researched the reasons why a shift from hunting and gathering to farming was seen in the years of early man. At first, it was the belief that early man found farming much better than hunting and gathering, hence the switch, but various pieces of evidence suggest otherwise.


Today, there are numerous scientists that disregard the “better than” theory regarding farming. Evidence proves that early men knew how to farm before it even became a way of life, but purposefully chose to hunt and gather for food. It is also proven that many people, who knew how to farm, never stopped their hunting and gathering procedures. Studies have been conducted where the diet of hunter-gatherers is shown to be better than those who prefer farming.


Another piece to the farming puzzle includes the creation of and settling into permanent residences and villages. It was once thought that this was a direct response to farming and tending to crops, but this has been dismissed, as evidence of permanent dwellings have been uncovered before the onset of farming. Additional pieces of information that lead one to ponder the origin of farming, includes the fact that a spread of farming as a way of life occurred across the Near East, Southeast Asia, China, as well as South American- all at the same time. What explains this phenomenon?


Popular theories associated with the Agricultural Revolution, include:


1) People: New food resources had to be found because of the increase in population of people in these areas


2) Climate: Wild food plants and animals became scarcer as the climate in these areas became drier. The numbers of reindeer and mammoth decreased.


3) Permanent Dwellings: The establishment of villages and towns caused farming to became a way of life, as trading and the storage of food became more and more common. Since the people of the village could not travel far distances to gather and hunt for food, a consistent food source had to be available within reach. If not, they would have exhausted all of their meat and wild plant resources and have nothing to eat.


4) Garbage: Plant remains were sent to the same place as the garbage and began to grow on their own. New crops grew and were easy to take care of.


5) Advancements in Society: The progression of the intelligence of societies led to more and different ways of making their own food sources available.


6) Off-Season Activities: Since hunting and gathering are dictated by the seasons, planting crops and farming was an activity for food that was conducted during the off-season of hunting and gathering.


7) Aliens: Yes, there are theories that extraterrestrials came from space and taught early humans to stray from hunting and gathering and take up farming.


8) It Just Occurred: Something just happen without any valid explanation. It could have been an accident; it could have been an experiment gone awry. It could have been always there and took a bit of time for the inhabitants of the area to discover a way to deal and cultivate such as find.