The Origins of Agriculture and Settled Life

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Editorial Reviews

MacNeish presents a "trilinear" theory of the origin of agriculture through the combination of three models, which he calls Primary Development, Secondary Development and Tertiary Development. Each type is categorized as having a set of necessary and sufficient conditions leading, by different routes, to food production and sedentary village life. MacNeish's trilinear hypothesis is tested by "hard" sequential archaeological data from the entire prehistoric world. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806123646
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1992
  • Pages: 448

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
1 Theories of the Origins of Agriculture 3
The Trilinear Theory 19
Pt. 1 The Centers
2 The Andes 37
A Brief History of Research on the Problem 37
The Environment 39
Relevant Archaeological Data 45
Theoretical Considerations 61
3 Mesoamerica 75
A Brief History of Research on the Problem 75
The Environment 83
Relevant Archaeological Data 89
Theoretical Considerations 112
4 The Near East 119
A Brief History of Research on the Problem 119
The Environment 121
Relevant Archaeological Data 129
Theoretical Considerations 140
5 The Far East 150
The Environment 150
Relevant Archaeological Data 156
Theoretical Considerations 165
Pt. 2 The Temperate Non-Centers
6 The American Southwest 171
A Brief History of Research on the Problem 171
The Environment 173
Relevant Archaeological Data 179
Theoretical Considerations 195
7 Europe 202
A Brief History of Research on the Problem 203
The Environment 207
Relevant Archaeological Data 213
Theoretical Considerations 226
8 The Eastern United States 230
A Brief History of Research on the Problem 231
The Environment 233
Relevant Archaeological Data 238
Theoretical Considerations 249
Pt. 3 The Tropical Non-Centers
9 India, Southeast Asia, and Oceania 255
A Brief History of Speculations on the Problem 255
The Environment 256
Relevant Archaeological Data 261
Theoretical Considerations 269
10 The New World Tropics 273
A Brief History of Speculations on the Problem 273
The Environment 277
Relevant Archaeological Data 279
Theoretical Considerations 293
11 Africa 298
A Brief History of Research on the Problem 298
The Environment 299
Relevant Archaeological Data 304
Theoretical Considerations 313
12 Conclusions 319
The Primary Developmental Hypothesis as Theory 320
The Secondary Developmental Hypothesis as Theory 334
The Tertiary Developmental Hypothesis as Theory 347
Final Comments 361
Bibliography 365
Index 403
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