Our ancestors chose reeds over grain when quitting the nomadic life

body-anthropology-azraq-wetlandTraditional models of the transition from hunting-gathering to the origins of agriculture suggest that mobile foragers became sedentary to exploit wild cereal crops, eventually leading to domestication. However, recent research at Kharaneh IV, published in PloS One by Dr. Monica Ramsey (University of Toronto), Dr. Danielle Macdonald (University of Tulsa) and colleagues challenges this perspective. This new research suggests that a resilient diet focused on wetland reeds and sedges, integrated with some wild cereals, allowed the inhabitants of Kharaneh IV to practice a low-risk dietary strategy. This research sheds new light on the origins of agriculture, suggesting it was a complex process balancing both risky and reliable resources that eventually lead to a sedentism. Dr. Macdonald continues to lead excavations at Kharaneh IV, eastern Jordan, to explore these ideas further.

For the full article, read it in PLOS Journals.

Ramsey, Monica N., Lisa A. Maher, Danielle A. Macdonald, and Arlene Rosen (2016). Risk, Reliability and Resilience: Phytolith Evidence for Alternative ‘Neolithization’ Pathways at Kharaneh IV in the Azraq Basin, Jordan. PLoS ONE 11 (10):e0164081. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0164081.