The Birth of the Gods and the Origins of Agriculture

The Birth of the Gods and the Origins of Agriculture

Hardback New Studies in Archaeology

By (author) Jacques Cauvin, Translated by Trevor Watkins, Series edited by Colin Renfrew, Series edited by Wendy Ashmore, Series edited by Clive Gamble, Series edited by John O'Shea

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Hardback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 177mm x 252mm x 17mm | 801g
  • Publication date: 1 October 2000
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521651352
  • ISBN 13: 9780521651356
  • Illustrations note: 69 b/w illus. 9 maps

Product description

Jacques Cauvin has spent many years researching the beginnings of the Neolithic in the Near East, excavating key sites and developing new ideas to explain the hugely significant cultural, social and economic changes which transformed mobile hunter-gatherers into the first village societies and farmers in the world. In this book, first published in 2000, the synthesis of his mature understanding of the process beginning around 14,000 years ago challenges ecological and materialist interpretations, arguing for a quite different kind of understanding influenced by ideas of structuralist archaeologists and members of the French Annales school of historians. Defining the Neolithic Revolution as essentially a restructuring of the human mentality, expressed in terms of new religious ideas and symbols, the survey ends around nine thousand years ago, when the developed religious ideology, the social practice of village life and the economy of mixed farming had become established throughout the Near East and east Mediterranean, and spreading powerfully into Europe.

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Review quote

'This important book gives the best available overview of the evidence in this significant field ... and it offers clearly and persuasively an entirely fresh insight into the Neolithic Revolution.' Colin Renfrew, on the original French edition

Table of contents

List of plates; List of figures; Translator's note; Foreword; Preface; Chronological table; Introduction; Part I. The Origins of Agriculture: 1. Natural environment and human cultures on the eve of the Neolithic; 2. The first pre-agricultural villages: the Natufian; 3. The Revolution in symbols and the origins of Neolithic religion; 4. The first farmers: the socio-cultural context; 5. The first farmers: strategies of subsistence; 6. Agriculture, population, society: an assessment; 7. The Neolithic Revolution: a transformation of the mind; Part II. The Beginnings of Neolithic Diffusion: 8. A geographical and chronological framework for the first stages of diffusion; 9. The birth of a culture in the northern Levant and the neolithisation of Anatolia; 10. Diffusion into the central and southern Levant; 11. The evidence of symbolism in the southern Levant; 12. The dynamics of a dominant culture; Part III. The Great Exodus: 13. The problem of diffusion in the Neolithic; 14. The completion of the neolithic process in the 'Levantine nucleus'; 15. The arrival of farmers on the Mediterranean littoral and in Cyprus; 16. The sedentary peoples push east: the eastern Jezirah and the Syrian desert; 17. Pastoral nomadism; 18. Hypotheses for the spread of the Neolithic; Conclusion; Postscript; Notes; Bibliography; Index.