From Forager to Cultivator: A Case Study in the Zagros Mountains of Iran

Jonathan Adam Baines


This paper examines the early aceramic Neolithic botanic assemblage from Chogha Golan, Iran, for signs of cultivation. Based on the presumption that people's engagement with the local vegetation altered due to a changing mode of residence and mobility during that period, its record of edible and useful plants ought to look different compared to that of the site's later assemblages that include domesticated emmer. The study involved data from coeval sites in the region and three Palaeolithic outliers, including Ghar-e Boof, a Rostamian cave occupation in the Zagros Mountains. Though the information does not refute efforts at cultivation at the site during the midden's initial occupation, the analyses rather suggest that a realignment of hunter-gatherer traditions took place, with local plant exploitation targeting a wider breadth in the landscape.  Inherited subsistence strategies were adapted to the new human and natural setting inhabited, in which high yield legumes and grasses dominated procurement and became the focus of the incipient agricultural transformations underway.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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