First evidence of farming in Mideast 23,000 years ago

Until now, researchers believed farming was “invented” some 12,000 years ago in the Cradle of Civilization – Iraq, the Levant, parts of Turkey and Iran – an area that was home to some of the earliest known human civilizations.

A new discovery by an international collaboration of researchers from Tel Aviv University, Harvard University, Bar-Ilan University, and the University of Haifa offers the first evidence that trial plant cultivation began far earlier – some 23,000 years ago. The study focuses on the discovery of the first weed species at the site of a sedentary human camp on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Upon retrieving and examining approximately 150,000 plant specimens, the researchers determined that early humans there had gathered over 140 species of plants. The new study offers evidence that early humans clearly functioned with a basic knowledge of agriculture and, perhaps more importantly, exhibited foresight and extensive agricultural planning far earlier than previously believed.

Science Daily: First evidence of farming in Mideast 23,000 years ago