Although the need to study agriculture in different parts of the world on its “own terms” has long been recognized and re-affirmed, a tendency persists to evaluate agriculture across the globe using concepts, lines of evidence and methods derived from Eurasian research. However, researchers working in different regions are becoming increasingly aware of fundamental differences in the nature of, and methods employed to study, agriculture and plant exploitation practices in the past. Contributions to this volume rethink agriculture, whether in terms of existing regional chronologies, in terms of techniques employed, or in terms of the concepts that frame our interpretations. This volume highlights new archaeological and ethnoarchaeological research on early agriculture in understudied non-Eurasian regions, including Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific, the Americas and Africa, to present a more balanced view of the origins and development of agricultural practices around the globe.
"In a concise and ambitious opening chapter authors are challenged to critically evaluate concepts such as domestication, centres of origin and the farmer/gatherer dichotomy in defining agriculture as well as the scale of analysis suitable for the investigation of agricultural prehistories. The following papers provide a wealth of new information, at times overwhelming, of significance for both the narrative of ancient agriculture and methodology construction." --Andrew Fairbairn, Archaeology in Oceania
"Most readers will find the contents fresh and, in places, challenging. This volume is a significant addition to the growing literature on alternative ideas about the development of agriculture in different parts of the world. This review cannot do justice to the 21 contributions by a wide range of authors." --Tim Maggs, South African Archaeological Bulletin