From Foraging to Farming: Explaining the Neolithic Revolution
This paper reviews the main theories and evidence regarding the prehistoric shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture, an event which took place for the first time some 10,000 years ago. The transition, which is also known as the Neolithic Revolution, led to the rise of civilisation as we know it, and seems to have borne the seeds for the later process of industrialisation and for economic growth in general. The paper provides a brief historical survey of the leading hypotheses concerning the rise of agriculture proposed in the archaeological and anthropological literature. It then turns to a more detailed review of the theories proposed in the economic literature.
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