Daniel Zohary, Maria Hopf

Domestication of Plants in the Old World: The Origin and Spread of Cultivated Plants in West Asia, Europe, and the Nile Valley

2001; Oxford University Press, USA; 0198503571
The origin of agriculture is one of the defining events of human history. Some 10,000 years ago bands of hunter-gatherers started to abandon their high-mobility lifestyles in favor of growing crops, and the creation of settled, sedentary communities. This settlement in favor of the agricultural lifestyle triggered the evolution of complex political and economic structures, and technological developments, and ultimately underpinned the rise of all the great civilizations of recent human history. Domestication of plants in the Old World reviews the origin and spread of cultivation in south-west Asia, Europe, and north-east Africa, from the very earliest beginnings. This new edition incorporates the most recent findings from molecular biology about the genetic relations between domesticated plants and their wild ancestors; it adds material on several new crop plants; and it incorporates extensive new archaeological data about the spread of agriculture within the region. The reference list has been completely updated, as have the list of archaeological sites and the site maps. From reviews of the second edition: 'This book is indeed a "mine of information". An enormous and diverse body of important results is digested and presented economically, in a form that should encourage other authors to mine it and apply the results to their own fields.' Nature 'This is an excellent book, suitable for libraries, reference shelves, and anyone who teaches or writes about plant domestication.' Journal of Ethnobiology 'Only a few years after the publication, in 1988, of Zohary and Hopf's textbook, the volume was already out of print.... One cannot be grateful enough to the authors that they seized the opportunity to update the book.... An indispensable reference work; a wealth of information is presented in a systematic way.... This already classic textbook has amply proven its value, and hardly needs further recommendation.' Helinium