Response 1: Independent Development of Agriculture

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?
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".