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Man's First Gardening Skills?

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posted on Jun, 4 2006 @ 10:24 PM
Doing some current reviews of all things Old, I found this article which I was shocked to find. Predating Crops no less.,%20archaeologists%20say

Archaeologists report they have found evidence ancient people grew fig trees about 11,400 years ago, making the fruit the earliest domesticated crop.

The report dates use of figs to about 1,000 years before the first evidence that crops such as wheat, barley and legumes were cultivated in the Middle East.

It goes on

"In this intentional act of planting a specific variant of fig tree, we can see the beginnings of agriculture."

Thats right there, with the Age of Leo. What an utterly astounding discovery.

Man, demostrating his new found skillset, Deliberate Shoot/Cutting, Agriculture.

I wonder if other developements will be found within this general region as well?



posted on Jun, 4 2006 @ 10:33 PM
I am sorry, but I was just thinking, and I know that gets me into trouble generally, but here's a Question, I wish to have the ATS Community answer for me.


How does a Fig Tree, which apparently produces the Sweetest of Fruits, end up existing at all, if it does not bear seed?

Like it suddenly was created one day.



posted on Jun, 4 2006 @ 10:38 PM
they dont have seeds ? Are you suuuuuuureee about that one ?

posted on Jun, 4 2006 @ 10:56 PM

There is circumstantial evidence that figs were among the first cultivated crop, based on preserved specimens in Jericho. The figs were grown some 11,400 years ago, and because they were of a mutation which could not reproduce normally, it is proposed that they may have been planted and cultivated intentionally, one thousand years before the next crops domesticated (wheat and rye).

Here's the source

Hope that helps a little!

posted on Jun, 5 2006 @ 08:17 AM
This is the earliest evidence found...i cannot imagine mankind went wandering around for tens of thousands of years without figuring out how to cultivate and transport seedlings, fruit trees, and the rest. Someday i bet we find agricultural evidence dating back 40-50,000 years

posted on Jun, 5 2006 @ 09:42 AM

Originally posted by Amante
Here's the source

Hope that helps a little!

That was a very good link, and thanks. It was even 'Current' all things considered.

I also found the matter of Pollenation between these Plants interesting.

That example of what has taken place in Hawaii, still causes me to wonder about this though.

There is typically only one species of wasp capable of fertilizing the flowers of each species of fig, and therefore plantings of fig species outside of their native range results in effectively sterile individuals. For example, in Hawaii, some 60 species of figs have been introduced, but only four of the wasps that fertilize them have been introduced, so only four species of figs produce viable seeds there.

So, we have indications "apparently" that in 9400 BC, these people had Propogated Figs, that had no "Wasp" to fertilize these sterile fruit bearing Trees.

A few questions now come to mind.

Where, did the Original Fig Plants come from?

I am guessing these findings are pointing to these ancient peoples, "RELOCATING" these Cuttings from some another region? So maybe this is pointing to the New Comers, that inhabited this area, bringing their Fig plants with them, where ever that may have been. Then again, maybe trade within the region, afforded these peoples, the access to the Originally Reproducing trees from another area, and the result was Fig's the did not produce seed, due to the lack of that Specific Wasp.


The Wasps that Pollenated these Fig Trees died off in the Jericho Region?

I guess the studies being done in that area, may shed light on this in the future.

This was interesting as well

The Wonderboom Nature Reserve is a 1 km² reserve centered on a wild willowleaf fig tree Ficus salicifolia that is more than a thousand years old......
.....As it has grown, its outlying branches have rooted themselves round the parent tree. This has repeated until there are now three circles of daughter trees encircling the mother fig, with 13 distinct trunks.

Live and Learn.

And Toolman

i cannot imagine mankind went wandering around for tens of thousands of years without figuring out how to cultivate and transport seedlings, fruit trees, and the rest.

Well, until this, evidence suggests, it was 8400 BC when Crops (wheats and such) started to be grown, and this find in Jericho, now moves this back to 9400 BC but as an example of the Fruits of the Earth, apposed to the Agricultural Crops.

The earliest evident of these Cearel Spieces goes back only to 11000 BC or so, and cultivation, was started as noted above, (Roughly).

I am not certain how Mais (Corn) cultivation fit's in though. But that is half a world away. Maybe some of our Native Cousins could address that in here.



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 03:22 AM
Okay... some answers:

The fig trees have been domesticated and are very different from the original plant. They're stronger, hardier, and the fruit is MUCH sweeter with tinier seeds (to fit human preferences.)

Plants that do not produce fertile seeds (and that are domesticated) reproduce by a number of methods, including spreading from roots and (if domesticated) grafting by the farmer.

Original plant domestication was primitive; the hunters in the area would do things like burn off plants that competed for resources for the desired plants, bring water, etc, etc. They'd pick the "really good seeds" from a group and sow those on the ground.

Hope this clarifies things.

posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 08:13 AM
i've got this stylized notion of Fig trees & desert Oasis's, like something out of a Valentino silent movie about Shieks & Arabia.

dosen't a Fig tree take lotsa years to mature? so a deliberate horticulture involving Figs would have been a long term project for someone or groups of someones who were dedicated fig planters who have devoted their lives to the fig.
~now that seems a little far fetched~

maybe the groups of animals like camels, goats, sheep, had a larger role...
along with the shepherds, nomadic groups and caravan tradesmen in the distribution of figs and such

BTW, when Noah & family got back on dry land, they planted 'vines' we are told...
and Noah dedicated that vineyard to his tribal g-d.
Perhaps, there were fig tree roots, aka; vines, planted also- - but we are not told that info....i reckon because the grape vine produces edible fruit which can also be fermented into a fine wine.
?while the lowly Fig was mostly survival-basic foodstuff?

i do appreciate how the authors wax romantic & poetic about the lowly Fig
& wish to elevate its stature in human history

[edit on 6-6-2006 by St Udio]

posted on Jun, 23 2012 @ 10:16 PM
Well, Hello Old friend. Been sometime since we played in here, but the times are producing evidence that bears notation, and where better to put it? Exactly where it belongs.

China began cultivating millet 10,000 years ago

SHIJIAZHUANG, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese archaeologists said Sunday that they have found evidence of the cultivation of glutinous millet in the northern province of Hebei that could date back to 10,000 years, the earliest evidence of people growing the crop in the world.

Lab results showed that remains of glutinous millet found at archaeological sites in Cishan Village in the city of Wu'an were harvested during the Neolithic Era between 8,700 to 10,000 years ago, scientists with the Institute of Geology and Geophysics of China Academy of Sciences (IGGCAS) said at a cultural festival held in Wu'an on Sunday.

This means Cishan was the birthplace of the crop, archaeologists said.

They have also found remains of foxtail millet in the pits, which could date back to between 8,700 and 7,500 years. This would be the earliest evidence of the crop's cultivation, which means that Cishan was the birthplace of foxtail millet, too, said Lu Houyuan, an IGGCAS scientist.

Cultivating small-seeded dry crops was more prevalent than cultivating rice in prehistoric times, especially in China's semi-arid northern regions, Lu said.

A total of 50,000 kilograms of grains have been stored in 88 pits for thousands of years at the Cishan Site, a Neolithic site discovered in 1972.

In addition to grain remnants, pottery, stone tools, animal bones and bone artifacts have also been excavated from the site, which archaeologists believe will help their research in the emergence of agriculture in China.

So we see so far, some of the earliest "crops" in Figs, and now Millet. And I was always under the impression, for some preconceived reason, that Rice would have been an Early Agri Crop for our Mainland Asian Cousins.

Ancient rice discovery could rewrite history

New archaeological evidence in the form of rice cultivated more than 8,000 years ago in China is causing a shake-up in the world's scientific community.

On the afternoon of Nov. 22, two archaeologists filtered out a grain of rice from the dirt layer of the Pengtoushan Civilization, which dates back about 8,000 or 9,000 years on the archaeological site of the Ancient Shanlonggang Relics close to the Linli County of Changde of Hunan province.

Later, they discovered another five grains of carbonized rice. These grains of rice may very well rewrite the history of human civilization.

Currently, the mainstream opinion of international academic communities is that the middle reaches of the Yangtze River was the original center of the world's rice cultivation. On Nov. 1, the Hunan Archaeological Institute, Harvard University, Peking University and Boston University started to jointly excavate the Ancient Shanlonggang Relics, which is located in the Liyang Plain of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River.

Regarding the grains of carbonized rice discovered on Nov. 22, the deputy director of the Hunan Archaeological Institute Gu Haibin said that they will bring them to the laboratory to further analyze them.

"If evidences showing they were planted by humans are found, the grains of rice will turn into an important proof proving that the Liyang Plain was the original site of rice cultivation," Gu said

Well, I guess that answers that consideration I once held.

But is that it? What else could possibly be found? Soy Burgers?

Soybeans Were Domesticated 5,500 Years Ago

AsianScientist (Nov. 30, 2011) – The soybeans of today are widely used in many different cultures and countries around the world for both human and livestock consumption.

Present assumptions about soybeans (Glycine max) are that they were first domesticated in China 3,000 years ago. However, scientists from the University of Oregon have found evidence that small-seeded soybeans or wild-type soybeans could date back to 9,000 years ago.................

This new study dates domestication of the soybean to 5,500 years ago, around the time villages were established in northern China.

We are seeing here, some suggestive information which is pointing towards a date nearing 7000 BC (give or take) as the point where, things are beginning to be farmed as crops. hmmmmm



posted on Jun, 24 2012 @ 04:37 PM

edit on 24-6-2012 by punkinworks10 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 25 2012 @ 11:12 AM
In certain areas, some areas/people didn't develop domesticated crops until much later.

Solheim did a lot of work on early rice cultivation.


The earliest undisputed domesticated maize cobs are from Guilá Naquitz cave in Guerrero, Mexico, dated about 4280-4210 cal BC. Starch grains from domesticated maize have been found in the Xihuatoxtla Shelter, in the Rio Balsas valley of Guerrero, dated to ~9,000 cal BP.

Link to Maize

posted on Jun, 25 2012 @ 06:03 PM
reply to post by Shane

Hi shane
Awsome find,

As I was pondering a response to this thread, I came upon a thought, the fig might be the very first plant humans tended.
Figs are a subtropical/tropical plant. And figs are an important food source for many species of primates.
And some species' seeds won't germinate unless that pass through the gut of an animal or the seedlings won't survive unless they get out of the shadow of the mother tree. This is usually accomplished ny transporting the seeds on the gut and then they pass thru as the animal moves from tree to tree.
So , what I think is, at the least, when man moved into the southern Arabian peninsula, where the common fig is native, he discovered this very important fruit.
As people gathered the fruit and are them they inadvertantly transported the seeds with them to camp, where they were deposited after passing through in the stool.
Likely these people were semi nomadic hunter/gatherers, and made the seasonal rounds of places that had water, forage and game. When the returned the next season they found fig saplings , which caused them to return again in order to harvest the fruit.
This might also be the very beginnings of a semi- sedentary foraging lifestyle. They knew there would be fruit
at this location so they kinda hung around, and made it their base camp, because they knew there would be food , and two harvests per season. Figs produce two crops one on last years shoots in the spring and one on new shoots in the fall
In the region in question figs may have been the impetuous for the change from a nomadic hunter/gatherer lifestyle to a semi sedentary foraging lifestyle.

posted on Jun, 26 2012 @ 05:54 PM

Originally posted by Shane


How does a Fig Tree, which apparently produces the Sweetest of Fruits, end up existing at all, if it does not bear seed?


They are continually created by a guy named Newton.


posted on Jun, 26 2012 @ 06:44 PM

Originally posted by Harte

Originally posted by Shane


How does a Fig Tree, which apparently produces the Sweetest of Fruits, end up existing at all, if it does not bear seed?


They are continually created by a guy named Newton.


You 'B' slipping Harte

The product was named "Newtons" after the local town of Newton, Massachusetts

posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 12:11 AM
a reply to: Shane

You've never eaten a fig, have you?
You should try one sometime. Don't swallow the hard seed, about the size of a cherry pit, when you do though.

posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 01:18 AM

originally posted by: Shane

Well, until this, evidence suggests, it was 8400 BC when Crops (wheats and such) started to be grown, and this find in Jericho, now moves this back to 9400 BC but as an example of the Fruits of the Earth, apposed to the Agricultural Crops.

According to the Maya numbers were invented in 8437 bc. Which is the first step in calendar technology. The calendar and agriculture are historically linked.

I also remember my very religious Grandfather was convinced that the fig was one of the trees in the garden of Eden, at the mouth of the Tigris Euphrates. He had a fig tree along his own garden in each house he owned. As one can imagine, I encountered wasps there once. lol.

Anyway, despite this documentary being long, about the "Queen of the trees" in Africa, it is one of the best nature shows I have ever seen. Highly recommended.

Did I mention no commercials currently?

Mike Grouchy
edit on 16-2-2016 by mikegrouchy because: format

posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 10:40 AM
a reply to: mikegrouchy

Actually, the most ancient calendar systems pre date agriculture by several thousand years.
As for the maya, more specifically the mesoamericans in general, calendars predate numerical systems and writing by almost 2000 years.
And dendrochrononlogist Mike Baillie has shown that the Mayan long count calendar correlates to exotic chemistry spikes in the Greenland ice cores. These spikes of nitrates and ammonia have been linked to impact events.

A Mike Baillie fan passed along this fascinating discovery last week and I hoisted the paper to Scribd and the Tusk immediately. Mike is on to something mighty interesting. Nowhere has anyone noted the corellation between the two early Mayan “Baktun” transitions and spikes in ice core chemistry from Greenland.

Calendrical genius that he is, Mike even reverse engineers the data and finds the Mayan calendar — baring incredible coincidence — serves to memorialize the two events as well as perpetuate a useful chime for the future.

It is hard to grasp given his sparse abstract, but if I understand Mike Baillie correctly he infers that the Maya calendar writer long after the two extraordinary events divided his calendar so that the first event would mark the end of an inaugural cycle representing a number of days which — if repeated four more times — would coincide with the 2nd event. These five cycles were then followed in the calendar by an additional eight cycles of equal periods reaching to our own time.

It would be as if you were amazed at the appearance of Santa Claus, began counting the days since you saw him, was startled by his return, and later decided these visits were so significant that your calendar itself should be divided so as to determine good times to look out for the jolly old fellow. He may or may not come — but it is the right time to look.

But back to the OP
I belive that figs are in fact the first agricultural product. The path of distribution of the fig, from its native home in Africa closely matches the path that modern humans took out of Africa.
The fruit is easily dried, making for good travel food, and fig seeds are readily spread in feces, so where ever early man went and took wild figs with him figs started growing there.

Where I live, the central valley of California , used to be the fig growing capital of the world and you will find wild growing figs in the mountains, seeds brought by birds. And in this part of town you still get an occasional wild fig popping up in your yard.

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