Wild lentil and chickpea harvest in Israel: bearing on the origins of Near Eastern farming

Shahal Abbo*, Inbar Zezak, Efrat Schwartz, Simcha Lev-Yadun, Zohar Kerem, Avi Gopher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several small seeded plants were domesticated as grain crops in the Near East and other domestication centers. In this study we investigate the potential of small seeded wild lentils, and chickpea as a food source for hunters-gatherers. The yield potential and the return in terms of grams of seeds per hour of collection time were evaluated in several wild populations in Israel. The yield figures never exceeded 50 g/h, and in most cases were below 20 g/h. These data reaffirm Ladizinsky's claim that wild lentils are unlikely to have been a staple resource for hunter-gatherers prior to plant domestication. The result presented herein may be significant vis-a-vis the role attributed to small seeded ('inefficient') plants in the Broad Spectrum hypothesis concerning late Paleolithic, pre-agricultural societies. It may also contribute to a more careful interpretation of plant remains recovered from pre-agricultural sites.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3172-3177
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume35
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2008

Keywords

  • Legumes domestication
  • Neolithic Revolution
  • The Broad Spectrum Revolution
  • Wild legumes harvest

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