Initial Cultivation from Hunters' Perspective

Abstract : Most theories of the transition to agriculture have to use strong assumptions to explain initial cultivation given its low productivity and high risk. We propose an alternative explanation in which initial cultivation is viewed from hunters' perspective, i.e. is part of an hunting strategy, namely baiting. Indeed, the hunt of large preys has been prized in foragers societies of all epochs. According to niche construction theory, Holocene hunters have had to create open-spaces in the dense vegetation since their rich edges attract wild game, especially large herbivores. To enhance this attractiveness, it is likely that hunters have developed food plots by transplanting and cultivating some wild plants, including the progenitors of future domesticates. As an alternative to hunt drive, another advantage of baiting is that, when food plots are corralled, it may lead to the capture of animals. The latter were kept alive either to be slaughter later or to be tamed. The hunting strategy based on baiting through initial cultivation may therefore have also contributed to the prey pathway to initial domestication. The hunting and the domestication processes of Near-Eastern wild caprines provide archaeological evidence supporting our view.
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Serge Svizzero. Initial Cultivation from Hunters' Perspective. American Journal of Indigenous Studies, American Scholarly Research Association, 2016, 1 (1), pp.B15-B35. ⟨http://www.asraresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/B15-B35-Initial-Cultivation-from-Hunters-Perspective.pdf⟩. ⟨hal-01443283⟩

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