Becoming Neolithic or Being a Hunter-Gatherer? Reframing the Origins of Agriculture through a Longue Durée Perspective
Searching for the origin points of major cultural revolutions and transitions has long been a driver of archaeological research, yet led to research focused on perceived boundaries, rather than continuity. Research into the origins of so-called modern human behavior, the origins of social complexity, the earliest domesticates, among others, all focus on defining moments of change that may be undetectable in the archaeological record. Perhaps some of the most enduring archaeological questions revolve around the ‘origins of agriculture’. In this paper, we explore changing historical conceptions of the ‘origins of agriculture’ in Southwest Asia in archaeological discourse and how, through the lens of the longue durée, we can trace aspects of material culture, human action, and complex human-landscape dynamics in deep time. Using examples from the Epipalaeolithic of eastern Jordan, we address current debates on Neolithization by exploring the implications of perspectives that focus on ‘becoming’ Neolithic and ‘being’ a hunter-gatherer. Through this perspective we discuss different scales of material culture analysis; from the ‘ethnographic’ lens identifying individual behaviors in the past, to the longue durée of material culture trends. This multi-scalar perspective gives new insight into how we construct cultural boundaries and understand change during the ‘origins of agriculture’.
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Becoming Neolithic or Being a Hunter-Gatherer? Reframing the Origins of Agriculture through a Longue Durée Perspective. Lisa Maher, Danielle Macdonald. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445296)
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min long: 34.277; min lat: 13.069 ; max long: 61.699; max lat: 42.94 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21191