Explore the Reasons Why Agriculture Spread During the Neolithic Revolution and with the Help of Case Studies, Evaluate the Impact That Agricultural Development Had on Society as a Whole.

Hunter-gatherer, Agriculture, Neolithic Revolution

Around 10,000 years ago, a dramatic transformation occurred in parts of the Near East that forever affected the human experience. These were the economic and social changes from hunting and gathering subsistence strategies, which characterised over 99 per cent of our long tenure on Earth, to ones emphasising food production and settling down in small villages. This was not an easy transition, nor was it a universal one. Once it occurred, though, it changed the course of human history. Usually known as the “Neolithic Revolution”. (Simmons 2007: 1)

There has been much speculation by academics in many disciplines as to the reasons why agriculture was developed and employed throughout the Neolithic revolution; and how the agricultural developments dispersed across the globe. However, I believe that there are unanimous definitions on both the Neolithic Revolution and agriculture. Both key to the answer of this essay. I believe the Neolithic Revolution to be the first agricultural revolution to take place globally, which led to people becoming sedentary, resorting to agriculture instead of hunter gathering and mobile communities. (Gupta 2010) Cohen (1977: 1) has a similar attitude towards the definition of the Neolithic revolution as he believes it to be, “the economic and social change [] which witnessed the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture as man’s major mode of subsistence.” Agriculture, as defined by the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1973), is “the science and art of cultivating the soil, including the gathering n of the crops and the rearing of livestock”. However, I believe that agriculture includes other aspects, which link in with it to create a fully operating agricultural system. These include, ‘farming’ and ‘domestication’, both pivotal for agricultural success. Farming is described as, “the business of cultivating land and raising ‘stock’” whilst domestication is “described as the action of ‘farming or bringing under...
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