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Overlooked but not Forgotten: India as a Centre of Agricultural Domestication

Murphy, C; Fuller, DQ; (2015) Overlooked but not Forgotten: India as a Centre of Agricultural Domestication. Presented at: Agrobiodiversity present and past: ecological and archaeological perspectives on traditional farming regimes in Morocco, Tetuan, Morocco. Green open access

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Abstract

India possesses a unique Neolithic transition that has shaped the cultural and ecological trajectory of the subcontinent. Much archaeological research has focused on the Indus Valley civilization. In contrast, little is known about the Neolithic roots of the subcontinent. During the early Holocene, South Asia was a subcontinent of hunter-gatherers, by 2000 years ago it was mostly inhabited by farmers, with densely populated river valleys, coastal plains, urban populations, states, and even empires. While some of the crops that supported these early civilizations had been introduced from other centers of origin (the Near East, China, Africa), a large proportion had local origins from wild plants native to the subcontinent. The bio-geographical evidence for the wild progenitors of a number of plant species, together with their occurrence early in regional Neolithic traditions, argues for their local, independent origins and subsequent domestication in India. The ecological niches of these wild progenitors varied but ranged from the savannahs to the nearby moister deciduous woodlands which include the South Deccan, Gujarat, and the western Himalayan foothills, as well as the Ganges basin. It is likely that local domestication events in India were occurring alongside agricultural dispersals from other parts of the world in an interconnected mosaic of cultivation, pastoralism, and vegetation management through burning and transplanting. As humans in South Asia increasingly relied on a narrower range of plant species, they became entangled in an increasingly precarious and fixed trajectory that allowed them greater subsistence levels to sustain larger populations and increased sedentism.

Type: Poster
Title: Overlooked but not Forgotten: India as a Centre of Agricultural Domestication
Event: Agrobiodiversity present and past: ecological and archaeological perspectives on traditional farming regimes in Morocco
Location: Tetuan, Morocco
Dates: 24 - 28 March 2015
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.jamiati.ma/Actualites/Chroniques/Chroni...
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Infection, Immunity and Inflammation Dept
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1470059
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