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Theories on the Evolution of Agriculture

Theories on the evolution of agriculture are numerous and contradictory. These theories fall into two main categories. The materialist theories have marxist economic theory as the reason for agricultural development and the environmentalist theories which assume a change in the environment caused the beginnings of agriculture. Both of these groups of theorists agree on the probable time frame for the beginnings of agricultural evolution as the ending of the pleistocene era. Different theories place the area of the genesis of agriculture at various sites around the world. Most theories have agriculture's origins at more than one site. This paper will present some of the theories and hypotheses about the origins of agriculture. The debate is continuing as more archeological and biological data is accumulated. There is no consensus in the field of archeology at this time to define the origins of agriculture. Different archeological sites with evidence of early agriculture support assorted hypotheses.

The beginning of the modern debate on the origins of agriculture are two theorists: Sir V. Gordon Childe a British anthropologist, and Ivan Vavilov a soviet botanist. These two theorists were both Marxists but came to dissimilar conclusions about the start of agriculture's evolution. They both believed the marxist doctrine that cultures changed because of economic revolutions which brought about changes in the means and modes of production. The causes of the economic revolution which brought about the evolution of agriculture are the point of contention between the two schools of thought.

Sir V. Gordon Childe was the first of the theorists known as environmentalists. These theorists believed that the birth of agriculture took place at the end of the pleistocene era when the climate changed. They believed changing climate caused the plant and animal life to become concentrated in the areas around the oases and rivers....

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Theories on the Evolution of Agriculture. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:12, February 25, 2017, from