Independent Development of Agriculture Question: I argued in class that the agricultural revolution happened in a number of different places at the same time, yet Bernal argues that agriculture probably arose first in the Middle East. How is this to be explained? Response: When I was lecturing about the agricultural revolution my argument was that agriculture arose in different places in the same time period, not at exactly the same time. It would be odd if multiple civilizations all developed agriculture in the exact same year in geographically isolated places. There is a definite sequence to the arrival of agriculture, first in Mesopotamia (what Bernal calls the Middle East), then in Egypt, then in China, then in India. All of these events started during the neolithic age and developed to full fledged civilization in the late neolithic / early bronze age, but since there is no evidence that any one of these places learned the art of agriculture from another place, historians emphasize that they happened around the "same time".