Friday, April 28, 2017

Horticulture in the Ancient World

Emmer wheat


Wild grains were collected and eaten by Paleolithic populations as early as 30,000 year ago.

Emmer wheat was gathered 23,000 years ago near the Sea of Galilee in modern Israel. At the site of Ohalo II charred grains have been recovered, indicating that, Ohalo's residents processed the wheat into flour and baked it.

The ancestors of the Nes craftsmen of Anatolia cultivated einkorn and emmer wheat about 12,000 years ago, according to genetics and archaeological studies. Einkorn is one of the oldest wheats known to scientists. The German term einkorn means “single grain" and thousands of years ago it was found in abundance. Today it is found only in a few regions.

Humans learned to cultivate wheat by sowing wheat seeds in a furrow. The residents of Jericho sowed, tended and reaped the wheat around 5000 BC. 


There are two species of cultivated rice in the world: African rice (Oryza glaberrima) and Asian rice (Oryza sativa).  The two strains of Asian rice are Oryza japonica and Oryza indica, identified with Japan and India. Asian rice was domesticated 13,500 years ago in China's Pearl River valley, from the wild rice Oryza rufipogon,

African rice was domesticated from the wild ancestor Oryza barthii (Oryza brevilugata) by peoples living in the Benue-Niger floodplain about 3,000 years ago. Rice grain formed the basis of weight measurement from East Africa to Sulawesi. On Madagascar, the weight of one grain of rice is called vary, and corresponds to the Swahili wari and to the Dravidian verasu. These words indicates that people kept written records of commercial weights in ancient times.

Rice grain formed the basis of weight measurement from East Africa to Sulawesi. The Hebrew word for rice is orez and Arabic ruz.  These share the RZ root with Dravidian. The Dravidian word reflects the written records of commercial weights.

Sulawesians and Madagascans may be genetically related to the Dravidians, if the linguistic connections have a biological basis. The term Sulawe appears to be related to ancient Egyptian, Dravidian, and East African words for rice. Sulawe resembles the Egyptian word for writing ssw; and the Mande sewe; and the Dravidian ha-verasu (referring to written record of rice sales). Rice merchants who moved from island to island would have recorded their transactions.

Linguistic connections are further evident in Sulawesi and East African terms for slash and burn cultivation.The Sulawesi word trematrema (used in Northeast Betsimisaraa) refers to a 1-3 year old slashed-and-burnt field. It is related to the Swahili word tema, ‘to cut’, and the redoubled form tematema, ‘to slash, to chop. This technique is used in "dry rice" planting.

Dried Jujube fruit

Jujube Fruit and Dates

Jujube was domesticated in south Asia by 9000 BC. The fruit is smooth and green until ripe. When ripe, it turns brown to purplish-black. Jujube fruit tastes somewhat like apple and when it is dried it resembles a date with a pit inside.

Bundles of dates

Dates were harvested from date nut palms in Africa and the Middle East as early as 5000 B.C.  The date nut palm can produce hundreds of dates.  At the shrine city of Nekhen, the oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship, 5500 dates were identified from a beer cocktail excavated from a vat. The ancient Egyptians used dates to make date wine. Dates were also used by the Nilotic peoples to sweeten beer.


The earliest known record of sorghum use is among the Nabta Playa population in Sudan and dates 8,000 B.C. Wild sorghum was eaten by the cattle at Nabta Playa and at other archaic sites near the Nile, such as Bir Kiseiba, Wadi el-Arab and El Barga.

By 2000 BC, people in southern Sudan made sorghum beer and baked sorghum bread. They ate sorghum like oatmeal, or cooked like polenta.

From Sudan, sorghum farming spread east to Harappa, India, and from India it spread to Southeast Asia, and eventually to Australia.


Seeds and Insemination

The ancients observed that the seeds of plants that fall the to ground produce other plants of the same kind. It was therefore logical to assume that the seed that should fall to the earth is the seed of plants, which spring forth from the earth. Likewise, the seed of man should fall on his own type (the womb), from which man comes forth. This was regarded as a divinely-established fixed pattern. Therefore, the ancients regarded both onanism (spilling of human semen) and homosex to violate or express rebellion against the Creator's established order in creation. Ancient wisdom based moral law on observed patterns in nature.

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