Pioneer farming in southeast Europe during the early sixth millennium BC: Climate-related adaptations in the exploitation of plants and animals.
ABSTRACT: The Old World farming system arose in the semi-arid Mediterranean environments of southwest Asia. Pioneer farmers settling the interior of the Balkans by the early sixth millennium BC were among the first to introduce southwest Asian-style cultivation and herding into areas with increasingly continental temperate conditions. Previous research has shown that the bioarchaeological assemblages from early farming sites in southeast Europe vary in their proportions of plant and animal taxa, but the relationship between taxonomic variation and climate has remained poorly understood. To uncover associations between multiple species and environmental factors simultaneously, we explored a dataset including altitude, five bioclimatic and 30 bioarchaeological variables (plant and animal taxa) for 57 of the earliest farming sites in southeast Europe using Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA). An extension of correspondence analysis, CCA is widely used in applied ecology to answer similar questions of species-environment relationships, but has not been previously applied in prehistoric archaeology to explore taxonomic and climatic variables in conjunction. The analyses reveal that the changes in plant and animal exploitation which occurred with the northward dispersal of farmers, crops and livestock correlate with south-north climate gradients, and emphasize the importance of adaptations in the animal domain for the initial establishment of farming beyond the Mediterranean areas.
Project description:The zooarchaeological research presented here investigates Neolithic and Chalcolithic (ca. 6500-5000 cal. BC) animal exploitation strategies at U?urlu Höyük on the Turkish island of Gökçeada in the northeastern Aegean Sea. Toward this end, we first discuss the results of our analysis of the zooarchaeological assemblages from U?urlu Höyük and then consider the data within a wider regional explanatory framework using a diachronic approach, comparing them with those from western and northwestern Anatolian sites. The first settlers of Gökçeada were farmers who introduced domestic sheep, goats, cattle and pigs to the island as early as 6500 years BC. Our results align well with recently published zooarchaeological data on the westward spread of domestic animals across Turkey and the Neolithization of southeast Europe. Using an island site as a case study, we independently confirm that the dispersal of early farming was a polynucleated and multidirectional phenomenon that did not sweep across the land, replace everything on its way, and deliver the same "Neolithic package" everywhere. Instead, this complex process generated a diversity of human-animal interactions. Thus, studying the dispersal of early farmers from southwest Asia into southeast Europe via Anatolia requires a rigorous methodological approach to develop a fine-resolution picture of the variability seen in human adaptations and dispersals within complex and rapidly changing environmental and cultural settings. For this, the whole spectrum of human-animal interactions must be fully documented for each sub-region of southwest Asia and the circum-Mediterranean.
Project description:Since their domestication in the Mediterranean zone of Southwest Asia in the eighth millennium BC, sheep, goats, pigs and cattle have been remarkably successful in colonizing a broad variety of environments. The initial steps in this process can be traced back to the dispersal of farming groups into the interior of the Balkans in the early sixth millennium BC, who were the first to introduce Mediterranean livestock beyond its natural climatic range. Here, we combine analysis of biomolecular and isotopic compositions of lipids preserved in prehistoric pottery with faunal analyses of taxonomic composition from the earliest farming sites in southeast Europe to reconstruct this pivotal event in the early history of animal husbandry. We observe a marked divergence between the (sub)Mediterranean and temperate regions of Southeast Europe, and in particular a significant increase of dairying in the biochemical record coupled with a shift to cattle and wild fauna at most sites north of the Balkan mountain range. The findings strongly suggest that dairying was crucial for the expansion of the earliest farming system beyond its native bioclimatic zone.
Project description:The rapid diffusion of farming technologies in the western Mediterranean raises questions about the mechanisms that drove the development of intensive contact networks and circulation routes between incoming Neolithic communities. Using a statistical method to analyze a brand-new set of cultural and chronological data, we document the large-scale processes that led to variations between Mediterranean archaeological cultures, and micro-scale processes responsible for the transmission of cultural practices within farming communities. The analysis of two symbolic productions, pottery decorations and personal ornaments, shed light on the complex interactions developed by Early Neolithic farmers in the western Mediterranean area. Pottery decoration diversity correlates with local processes of circulation and exchange, resulting in the emergence and the persistence of stylistic and symbolic boundaries between groups, while personal ornaments reflect extensive networks and the high level of mobility of Early Neolithic farmers. The two symbolic productions express different degrees of cultural interaction that may have facilitated the successful and rapid expansion of early farming societies in the western Mediterranean.
Project description:Nigeria is the world’s largest cassava producer, hosting a diverse array of cassava farmers and processors. Cassava breeding programs prioritize “common denominator” traits in setting breeding agendas, to impact the largest possible number of people through improved varieties. This approach has been successful, but cassava adoption rates are less than expected, with room for improvement by integrating traits in demand by farmers and processors. This paper aims to inform breeding priority setting, by examining trait and varietal preferences of men and women cassava farmer/processors. Men and women in eight communities in Southwest and Southeast Nigeria were consulted using mixed methods. Women and men had significantly different patterns of cassava use in the Southwest. Fifty-five variety names were recorded from the communities demonstrating high genetic diversity maintained by growers, especially in the Southeast. High yield, early maturity, and root size were most important traits across both regions, while traits women and men preferred followed gender roles: women prioritized product quality/cooking traits, while men placed higher priority on agronomic traits. Trait preference patterns differed significantly between the Southeast and Southwest, and showed differentiation based on gender. Patterns of access to stem sources were determined more by region and religion than gender.
Project description:Weeds are unwanted plant species growing in ordinary environment. In nature there are a total of 8000 weed species out of which 250 are important for agriculture world. The present study was carried out on weed species composition and distribution pattern with special reference to edaphic factor and farming practices in maize crop of District Mardan during the months of August and September, 2014. Quadrates methods were used to assess weed species distribution in relation to edaphic factor and farming practices. Phytosociological attributes such as frequency, relative frequency, density, relative density and Importance Values were measured by placing 9 quadrates (1 × 1 m2) randomly in each field. Initial results showed that the study area has 29 diverse weed species belonging to 27 genera and 15 families distributed in 585 quadrats. Presence and absence data sheet of 29 weed species and 65 fields were analyzed through PC-ORD version 5. Cluster and Two Way Cluster Analyses initiated four different weed communities with significant indicator species and with respect to underlying environmental variables using data attribute plots. Canonical Correspondence Analyses (CCA) of CANOCO software version 4.5 was used to assess the environmental gradients of weed species. It is concluded that among all the edaphic factors the strongest variables were higher concentration of potassium, organic matter and sandy nature of soil. CCA plots of both weed species and sampled fields based on questionnaire data concluded the farming practices such as application of fertilizers, irrigation and chemical spray were the main factors in determination of weed communities.
Project description:Archaeogenetic research over the last decade has demonstrated that European Neolithic farmers (ENFs) were descended primarily from Anatolian Neolithic farmers (ANFs). ENFs, including early Neolithic central European Linearbandkeramik (LBK) farming communities, also harbored ancestry from European Mesolithic hunter gatherers (WHGs) to varying extents, reflecting admixture between ENFs and WHGs. However, the timing and other details of this process are still imperfectly understood. In this report, we provide a bioarchaeological analysis of three individuals interred at the Brunn 2 site of the Brunn am Gebirge-Wolfholz archeological complex, one of the oldest LBK sites in central Europe. Two of the individuals had a mixture of WHG-related and ANF-related ancestry, one of them with approximately 50% of each, while the third individual had approximately all ANF-related ancestry. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios for all three individuals were within the range of variation reflecting diets of other Neolithic agrarian populations. Strontium isotope analysis revealed that the ~50% WHG-ANF individual was non-local to the Brunn 2 area. Overall, our data indicate interbreeding between incoming farmers, whose ancestors ultimately came from western Anatolia, and local HGs, starting within the first few generations of the arrival of the former in central Europe, as well as highlighting the integrative nature and composition of the early LBK communities.
Project description:OBJECTIVES: To estimate the risk of lymphoma among farmers in Spain. METHODS: This is a multicentre case control study conducted in Spain. Cases were subjects diagnosed with lymphoma according to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification in four hospitals between 1998-2002. Hospital controls were frequency matched to the cases by sex, age, and centre. All subjects were interviewed about jobs ever held in lifetime for at least one year and the exposures in those jobs were recorded. The risk of lymphomas among subjects ever having had a job as a farmer was compared with all other occupations. Farmers were analysed according to the type of farming job performed: crop farming, animal farming, and general farming. Occupational exposure was summarised into 15 main categories: organic dust, radiation, contact with animals, PAH, non-arsenic pesticides (carbamates, organophosphates, chlorinated hydrocarbons, triazines and triazoles, phenoxy herbicides, chlorophenols, dibenzodioxin, and dibenzofuran), arsenic pesticides, contact with meat, contact with children, solvents, asbestos, soldering fumes, organic colourants, polychlorinated biphenyls, ethylene oxide, and hair dyes. RESULTS: Although farmers were not at an increased risk of lymphoma as compared with all other occupations, farmers exposed to non-arsenic pesticides were found to be at increased risk of lymphoma (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.1 to 2). This increased risk was observed among farmers working exclusively either as crop farmers or as animal farmers (OR = 2.8, 95% CI 1.3 to 5.8). Risk was highest for exposure to non-arsenic pesticides for over nine years (OR = 2.4, 95% CI 1.2 to 2.8). CONCLUSIONS: Long term exposure to non-arsenic pesticides may induce lymphomagenesis among farmers.
Project description:Farming and sedentism first appeared in southwestern Asia during the early Holocene and later spread to neighboring regions, including Europe, along multiple dispersal routes. Conspicuous uncertainties remain about the relative roles of migration, cultural diffusion, and admixture with local foragers in the early Neolithization of Europe. Here we present paleogenomic data for five Neolithic individuals from northern Greece and northwestern Turkey spanning the time and region of the earliest spread of farming into Europe. We use a novel approach to recalibrate raw reads and call genotypes from ancient DNA and observe striking genetic similarity both among Aegean early farmers and with those from across Europe. Our study demonstrates a direct genetic link between Mediterranean and Central European early farmers and those of Greece and Anatolia, extending the European Neolithic migratory chain all the way back to southwestern Asia.
Project description:The Late Epipalaeolithic Natufian (~14,600?-?11,500?cal BP) is a key period in the prehistory of southwest Asia. Often described as a complex hunting and gathering society with increased sedentism, intensive plant exploitation and associated with an increase in artistic and symbolic material culture, it is positioned between the earlier Upper- and Epi-Palaeolithic and the early Neolithic, when plant cultivation and subsequently animal domestication began. The Natufian has thus often been seen as a necessary pre-adaptation for the emergence of Neolithic economies in southwest Asia. Previous work has pointed to the Mediterranean woodland zone of the southern Levant as the 'core zone' of the Early Natufian. Here we present a new sequence of 27 AMS radiocarbon dates from the Natufian site Shubayqa 1 in northeast Jordan. The results suggest that the site was occupied intermittently between ~14,600?-?12,000?cal BP. The dates indicate the Natufian emerged just as early in eastern Jordan as it did in the Mediterranean woodland zone. This suggests that the origins and development of the Natufian were not tied to the ecological conditions of the Mediterranean woodlands, and that the evolution of this hunting and gathering society was more complex and heterogeneous than previously thought.
Project description:Farmers constitute a large professional group worldwide. In developed countries farms tend to become larger, with a concentration of farm operations. Animal farming has been associated with negative respiratory effects such as work-related asthma and rhinitis. However, being born and raised or working on a farm reduces the risk of atopic asthma and rhinitis later in life. A risk of chronic bronchitis and bronchial obstruction/COPD has been reported in confinement buildings and livestock farmers. This position paper reviews the literature linking exposure information to intensive animal farming and the risk of work-related respiratory diseases and focuses on prevention. Animal farming is associated with exposure to organic dust containing allergens and microbial matter including alive microorganisms and viruses, endotoxins and other factors like irritant gases such as ammonia and disinfectants. These exposures have been identified as specific agents/risk factors of asthma, rhinitis, chronic bronchitis, COPD and reduced FEV1. Published studies on dust and endotoxin exposure in livestock farmers do not show a downward trend in exposure over the last 30 years, suggesting that the workforce in these industries is still overexposed and at risk of developing respiratory disease. In cases of occupational asthma and rhinitis, avoidance of further exposure to causal agents is recommended, but it may not be obtainable in agriculture, mainly due to socio-economic considerations. Hence, there is an urgent need for focus on farming exposure in order to protect farmers and others at work in these and related industries from developing respiratory diseases and allergy.