Un-entangling Pulse Domestication in South Asia
Author(s): Charlene Murphy
India possesses a unique Neolithic transition to sedentism and agriculture which has shaped the cultural and ecological trajectory of the subcontinent. In the early Holocene South Asia was a subcontinent of hunter-gatherers. By 2000 years ago it was mostly inhabited by farmers, supporting densely populated river valleys, coastal plains, urban populations, states and empires. South Asia appears to have been host to a mosaic of processes, including local domestication of plants and animals, the dispersal of pastoral and agro-pastoral peoples between regions and the adoption of food production by indigenous hunter-gatherers from neighboring cultures. While some of the crops that supported these early civilizations had been introduced from other centres of origin (Near East, China, Africa), a large proportion of important crops were indigenous wild plants from the subcontinent. This paper will incorporate the relatively new complimentary theories of Niche Construction and Entanglement theory to examine the local transitions from foraging to farming in India. Specifically, this paper will focus on patterns in the available data for native Indian pulses including Horse gram (Macrotyloma uniflorum), Urd Bean (Vigna mungo) and Pigeon Pea (Cajanus cajan) to explore current ideas on evolutionary change and plant domestication in the subcontinent of India.
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Un-entangling Pulse Domestication in South Asia. Charlene Murphy. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395654)
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