Archeologists have discovered that agriculture, one of the key building blocks in human civilization, began in several different places during the same time period.
Nicholas Conard and Mohsen Zeidi are two archeologists from the University of Tübingen who have done extensive research into the origins of agriculture together with the Iranian Center for Archeological Reasearch. It is widely believed that farming began somewhere in the “Fertile Crescent”, a strip of relatively moist and fertile land stretching between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. The archeologists spent 2009 and 2010 investigating an aceramic site called Chogha Golan, where they discovered Neolithic deposits more than 10,000 years old. Among their findings were depictions of humans and animals, bones, tools, and most notably, a large deposit of charred plant material.
The Fertile Crescent. Chogha Golan is marked as site 1 on the map.
Simone Riehl, head of the Archeology institute at Tübingen, analyzed more than 30,000 samples of plant matter which came from a span of 2000 years and which were collected from the site. She reached the conclusion that the plants, which were of over 75 different taxa, came from not one spot, but several throughout the eastern Fertile Crescent. In other words, agriculture began in several places, pretty much at the same time, in the region. The plant deposits included lentils, wild barley and goat grass, all of which are ancestors of modern plants.
During the time period in which Chogha Golan was occupied, most settlements were short-lived. The fact that this one survived for so long makes it an invaluable, long-term record of civilization in the area.