Title

Boon and Bane: The Paradox of Neolithic Caprine Domestication in the Southern Levant

Abstract

My presentation examines how domestication of sheep and goats was both beneficial and disastrous for many Pre-Pottery Neolithic B humans in the southern Levant. While domestication caused an increase in population and complexity of some settlements in the southern Levant, overgrazing, environmental degradation and population increasingly strained the economy of such settlements. In the 7th millennium this development culminated in the dissolution of major settlements. While several factors led to this dissolution, I argue that goats and sheep were a major factor. In the end, while agriculture and animal domestication led to initial improvement in living conditions, ultimately and ironically they were responsible for the disastrous downfall of these settlements.

Faculty Sponsor

Gary Rollefson

Sponsor Department/Programs

Environmental Studies

Tracks

Environmental Impacts

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Location

Reid G02

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

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Boon and Bane: The Paradox of Neolithic Caprine Domestication in the Southern Levant

Reid G02

My presentation examines how domestication of sheep and goats was both beneficial and disastrous for many Pre-Pottery Neolithic B humans in the southern Levant. While domestication caused an increase in population and complexity of some settlements in the southern Levant, overgrazing, environmental degradation and population increasingly strained the economy of such settlements. In the 7th millennium this development culminated in the dissolution of major settlements. While several factors led to this dissolution, I argue that goats and sheep were a major factor. In the end, while agriculture and animal domestication led to initial improvement in living conditions, ultimately and ironically they were responsible for the disastrous downfall of these settlements.

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