Using texture quantification of sickle gloss through confocal microscopy to study the origins of agriculture in the near east. Juan José Ibáñez

published: 30 Oct 2015  |  
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  • SESSION 4 - Use-wear analyses - signs of usage on stone tools (a.k.a. traceology)
    Using texture quantification of sickle gloss through confocal microscopy to study the origins of agriculture in the near east

    Cereals were first cultivated and domesticated in the Near East at the end of the Pleistocene or the beginning of the Holocene. When and where this process took place exactly are still matters of debate. In this paper we resort to the quantitative analysis using confocal microscopy of sickle gloss texture on flint tools used for cereal reaping to shed new light on this debate, showing that wild cereals were most probably cultivated in the 13th millennium BP in the Middle Euphrates (during the Younger Dryas) and that a local and continuous process towards cereal domestication took place in this region of the Northern Levant. Thus, our research contributes a new method for investigating the origins of agriculture, while the data gathered allow us to support both the hypothesis on the relevance of the Younger Dryas as a triggering element for the origins of agriculture and the protracted model of plant domestication, pointing to the Middle Euphrates as one of the zones where agriculture originated.

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