The Fertile Crescent

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The Fertile Crescent west of the Mediterranean and on the east by the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, and includes all or parts of Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. This is the birth place of the ancient world. The Fertile Crescent is a bow-shaped tract of land in South-west Asia stretching from Jordan northwards to southern Turkey, then swinging southwards to the borders of Iraq and Iran. Along its route it incorporates parts of Israel, Lebanon and Syria. The physical characteristics of this zone were formed millions of years ago when movement of the earth's crust forced the Arabian Peninsula toward the stable Iranian Plateau, compressing the land into pleats and folds.

The Fertile Crescent area has changed a lot over the last 10,000 years, warmer, wetter weather patterns extended the ranges of early cereals into areas of South-west Asia where the first domesticated plants and agricultural communities were to appear. This phase of transition during the period 9,000 BC to 7,000 BC. It belongs to that stage of human development which witnessed the beginnings of village life and a shift away from subsistence based entirely upon hunting and gathering in favour of one over which man exercised more control. Soon after 8,000 BC sedentary communities and domestic plants and animals began to appear in many areas of South-west Asia. These domesticate and allied agricultural economies were to prove both successful and adaptable to the extent that within centuries of their first appearance they had spread far outside the Fertile Crescent. By 7,000 BC farmers in Greek Thessaly were subsisting on cultivated emmer wheat and barley as well as domestic cattle and pigs.
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