Mortar and pestle
Mortar and pestle are implements used since ancient times to prepare ingredients or substances by crushing and grinding them into a fine paste or powder in the kitchen and pharmacy. The mortar is a bowl made of hard wood, ceramic, or hard stone, such as granite; the pestle is a blunt club-shaped object. The substance to be ground, which may be wet or dry, is placed in the mortar, where the pestle is pressed and rotated onto it until the desired texture is achieved. Scientists have found ancient mortars and pestles that date back to 35000 BC; the English word mortar derives from classical Latin mortarium, among several other usages, "receptacle for pounding" and "product of grinding or pounding". The classical Latin pistillum, meaning "pounder", led to English pestle; the Roman poet Juvenal applied both mortarium and pistillum to articles used in the preparation of drugs, reflecting the early use of the mortar and pestle as a symbol of a pharmacist or apothecary. The antiquity of these tools is well documented in early writing, such as the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus of ~1550 BC and the Old Testament.
Mortars and pestles were traditionally used in pharmacies to crush various ingredients prior to preparing an extemporaneous prescription. The mortar and pestle, with the Rod of Asclepius, the Green Cross, others, is one of the most pervasive symbols of pharmacology, along with the show globe. For pharmaceutical use, the mortar and the head of the pestle are made of porcelain, while the handle of the pestle is made of wood; this is known as a Wedgwood mortar and pestle and originated in 1759. Today the act of reducing the particle size is known as trituration. Mortars and pestles are used as drug paraphernalia to grind up pills to speed up absorption when they are ingested, or in preparation for insufflation. To finely ground drugs, not available in liquid dosage form is used if patients need artificial nutrition such as parenteral nutrition or by nasogastric tube. Mortars are used in cooking to prepare wet or oily ingredients such as guacamole and pesto, as well as grinding spices into powder.
The molcajete, a version used by pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican cultures including the Aztec and Maya, stretching back several thousand years, is made of basalt and is used in Mexican cooking. Other Native American nations use mortars carved into the bedrock to other nuts. Many such depressions can be found in their territories. In Japan large mortars are used with wooden mallets to prepare mochi. A regular sized Japanese mortar and pestle are called surikogi, respectively. Granite mortars and pestles are used in Southeast Asia, as well as India. In India, it is used extensively to make spice mixtures for various delicacies as well as day to day dishes. With the advent of motorized grinders, use of the mortar and pestle has decreased, it is traditional in various Hindu ceremonies to crush turmeric in these mortars. In Malay, it is known as batu lesung. Large stone mortars, with long wood pestles were used in West Asia to grind meat for a type of meatloaf, or kibbeh, as well as the hummus variety known as masabcha.
In Indonesia and the Netherlands mortar is known as Cobek or Tjobek and pestle is known as Ulekan or Oelekan. It is used to make fresh sambal, a spicy chili condiment, hence the sambal ulek/oelek denote its process using pestle, it is used to grind peanut and other ingredients to make peanut sauce for gado-gado. Large mortars and pestles are used in developing countries to husk and dehull grain; these are made of wood, operated by one or more persons. Good mortar and pestle-making materials must be hard enough to crush the substance rather than be worn away by it, they can not be too brittle either. The material should be cohesive, so that small bits of the mortar or pestle do not mix in with the ingredients. Smooth and non-porous materials are trap the substances being ground. In food preparation, a rough or absorbent material may cause the strong flavour of a past ingredient to be tasted in food prepared later; the food particles left in the mortar and on the pestle may support the growth of microorganisms.
When dealing with medications, the prepared drugs may interact or mix, contaminating the used ingredients. Rough ceramic mortar and pestle sets can be used to reduce substances to fine powders, but stain and are brittle. Porcelain mortars are sometimes conditioned for use by grinding some sand to give them a rougher surface which helps to reduce the particle size. Glass mortars and pestles are fragile, but suitable for use with liquids. However, they do not grind as finely as the ceramic type. Other materials used include stone marble or agate, bamboo, steel and basalt. Mortar and pestle sets made from the wood of old grape vines have proved reliable for grinding salt and pepper at the dinner table. Uncooked rice is sometimes ground in mortars to clean them; this process must be repeated until the rice comes out white. Some stones, such as molcajete, need to be seasoned first before use. Metal mortars are kept oiled. Since the results obtained with hand grinding are neither reproducible nor reliable, most laboratories work with automatic mortar grinders.
Grinding time and pressure of the mortar can be adjusted and fixed, saving time and labor. The first automatic Mortar Grinder was invented by F. Kurt
A granary is a storehouse or room in a barn for threshed grain or animal feed. Ancient or primitive granaries are most made out of pottery. Granaries are built above the ground to keep the stored food away from mice and other animals. From ancient times grain has been stored in bulk; the oldest granaries yet found date back to 9500 BC and are located in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A settlements in the Jordan Valley. The first were located in places between other buildings; however beginning around 8500 BC, they were moved inside houses, by 7500 BC storage occurred in special rooms. The first granaries measured 3 x 3 m on the outside and had suspended floors that protected the grain from rodents and insects and provided air circulation; these granaries are followed by those in Mehrgarh in the Indus Valley from 6000 BC. The ancient Egyptians made a practice of preserving grain in years of plenty against years of scarcity; the climate of Egypt being dry, grain could be stored in pits for a long time without discernible loss of quality.
A silo was a pit for storing grain. It is distinct from a granary, an above-ground structure. Simple storage granaries raised up on four or more posts appeared in the Yangshao culture in China and after the onset of intensive agriculture in the Korean peninsula during the Mumun pottery period as well as in the Japanese archipelago during the Final Jōmon/Early Yayoi periods. In the archaeological vernacular of Northeast Asia, these features are lumped with those that may have functioned as residences and together are called'raised floor buildings'. In vernacular architecture of Indonesian archipelago granaries are made of wood and bamboo materials and most of them are built raised up on four or more posts to avoid rodents and insects. Examples of Indonesian granary is Sundanese Minang rangkiang. In Great Britain small granaries were built on mushroom-shaped stumps called staddle stones, they were built of timber frame construction and had slate roofs. Larger ones were similar to linhays, but with the upper floor enclosed.
Access to the first floor was via stone staircase on the outside wall. Towards the close of the 19th century, warehouses specially intended for holding grain began to multiply in Great Britain. There are climatic difficulties in the way of storing grain in Great Britain on a large scale, but these difficulties have been overcome. Modern grain farming operations use manufactured steel granaries to store grain on-site until it can be trucked to major storage facilities in anticipation of shipping; the large mechanized facilities seen in Russia and North America are known as grain elevators. Grain must be kept away from moisture for as long as possible to preserve it in good condition and prevent mold growth. Newly harvested grain brought into a granary tends to contain excess moisture, which encourages mold growth leading to fermentation and heating, both of which are undesirable and affect quality. Fermentation spoils grain and may cause chemical changes that create poisonous mycotoxins. One traditional remedy is to spread the grain in thin layers on a floor, where it is turned to aerate it thoroughly.
Once the grain is sufficiently dry it can be transferred to a granary for storage. A modern variation on this, is to use a grain auger to move grain stored in one granary to another. In modern silos, grain is force-aerated in situ or circulated through external grain drying equipment. Hórreo Raccard Storage silo Corn crib Groote Schuur, the stately South African home was a granary. Rice barn Treppenspeicher Ghorfa Parish granary
A stone circle is a circular alignment of standing stones. They are found across Northern Europe and Great Britain and date from the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age eras, with most concentrations appearing from 3000 BC; the best known examples include those at the henge monument at Avebury, the Rollright Stones and elements within the ring of standing stones at Stonehenge. Ancient stone circles appear throughout Europe with many appearing in the Pyrenees, on the Causse de Blandas in southern France in the Cevennes, in the Alps, Bulgaria. Stone circles are grouped in terms of the shape and size of the stones, the span of their radius and their population within the local area. Although many theories have been advance to explain their use around providing a setting for ceremony or ritual, there is no consensus among archaeologists as to their intended function, their construction involved considerable communal effort, including specialist tasks such as planning, transportation, laying the foundation trenches, final construction.
There is growing evidence that megalithic constructions began as early as 5000 BCE in northwestern France, that the custom and techniques spread via sea routes throughout Europe and the Mediterranean region from there. The Carnac Stones in France are estimated to have been built around 4500 BCE and many of the formations include megalithic stone circles; the earliest stone circles in England were erected 2500-3000 BCE during the Middle Neolithic. Around that time stone circles began to appear in coastal and lowland areas towards the north of the United Kingdom; the Langdale axe industry in the Lake District appears to have been an important early centre for circle building because of its economic power. Many had set stones similar to the earth banks of henges, others were made from unfounded boulders rather than standing stones. Recent research shows that two oldest stone circles in Britain were constructed to align with solar and lunar positions; some sites do not contain evidence of human dwelling.
This suggests. The variety of the stones excludes the possibility that they had astronomical observation purposes of any precision. Sometimes a stone circle is found in association with a burial pit or burial chamber, but the great majority of these monuments have no such association. Recumbent stone circles are a variation containing a single large stone placed on its side; the stones are ordered by height, with the tallest being the portals, with reducing heights around each side of the circle, down to the recumbent stone, the lowest. The type is found throughout the British Isles and Brittany, with 71 examples in Scotland, at least 20 in south west Ireland, including Drombeg stone circle near Rosscarbery, Co. Cork. Scottish recumbent circles are flanked by the two largest of the standing stones on either side; these are known as'flankers'. The stones are graded in height with the lowest stones being diametrically opposite to the tall flankers, it is common for the circle to contain a ring cairn and cremation remains.
Irish recumbent stone circles are found in Kerry. There are no tall flanking stones on either side of the recumbent stone. Instead, there are two tall stones at the side of the circle opposite the recumbent stone; these are known as ` portals'. The portals are turned so that their flat sides face each other, rather than facing into the centre of the circle. A concentric stone circle is a type of prehistoric monument consisting of a circular or oval arrangement of two or more stone circles set within one another, they were in use from the late Neolithic to the end of the early Bronze Age, are found in England and Scotland. Cobble pavements have been found in the centre of many examples. Connected features at some sites include central mounds, outlying standing stones, avenues or circular banks on which the stones are set. Alternatively, they may be replicas of earlier timber circles rebuilt in stone the examples in Wessex. A funerary purpose is thought especially by Burl who sees sites in Cumbria as being analogous to the kerbs that surround some chamber tombs.
Burials have been found at all excavated concentric stone circles: both inhumations and cremations, with the burnt remains either within an urn or placed directly in the earth. Megalithic monuments are found in great number on the European Atlantic fringe and in the British Isles. Experts disagree as to whether the construction of megaliths in England was independently developed or imported from mainland Europe. A 2019 comprehensive radiocarbon dating study of Megalithic structures across Europe and the British Isles concluded that megalithic construction techniques were spread over sea routes starting from northwestern France. There are 1,300 stone circles in Britain and Ireland; the French archaeologist Jean-Pierre Mohen in his book Le Monde des Megalithes has written that British Isles megalithism are "outstanding in the abundance of standing stones, the variety of circular architectural complexes of which they formed a part... strikingly original, they have no equivalent elsewhere in Europe – supporting the argument that the builders were independent."
Some theories suggest that invaders from Brittany may have been responsible for constructing StonehengeAlthough distributed across the island, the two main concentrations of stone circles in Ireland are in the Cork/Kerry area and in mid-Ulster. The latter consist of larger amount of small stones 03.m high, are found in upland areas, o
Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides; the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain; the union created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce
The ard, ard plough, or scratch plough is a simple light plough without a mouldboard. It is symmetrical on either side of its line of draft and is fitted with a symmetrical share that traces a shallow furrow but does not invert the soil, it began to be replaced in most of Europe by the carruca turnplough from the 7th century. In its simplest form it resembles a hoe, consisting of a draft-pole pierced with a nearly vertical, spiked head, dragged through the soil by draft animals and rarely by people; the ard-head is at one end a stilt for steering and at the other a share which gouges the surface ground. More sophisticated models have a composite pole, where the section attached to the head is called the draft-beam, the share may be made of stone or iron; some have two separate stilts for handles. The share comes in two basic forms: a socket share slipped over the nose of the ard-head. Additionally, a slender protruding chisel can be fitted over the top of the mainshare. Rather than cutting and turning the soil to produce ridged furrows, the ard breaks up a narrow strip of soil and cuts a shallow furrow, leaving intervening strips undisturbed.
The ard is not suited for clearing new land, so grass and undergrowth are removed with hoes or mattocks. Cross-ploughing is necessary to break the soil up better, where the soil is tilled twice at right angles to the original direction; this results in square or diamond-shaped fields and is effective at clearing annual weeds. The ard's shallow furrows are ideal for most cereals, if the seed is sown broadcast, the ard can be used to cover the seed in rows. In fact, the ard may have been invented in the Near East to cover seed rather than till; that would explain. The ard is most useful on light soils such as loams or sands, or in mountain fields where the soil is thin, can be safely used in areas where deep ploughing would turn up hardpan or would cause salination or erosion. Ards may be drawn by oxen, water buffalo, camels, or other animals. Ards come in a number of varieties. Based on use, there are two kinds: the tilth ard, for cutting furrows in cleared land, the rip ard, or sod buster, which has a hooked share that gouges deeper into the soil and more clears virgin or fallow land.
The two were in early times used in conjunction with each other. Third is the seed drill ard, used in Mesopotamia, which added a funnel for dropping seed in the furrows as the ard cut them; the earliest and most basic tilth ards are the two-piece models: bow ard, made of a bow-shaped draft-pole pierced by a spear-like head developing a composite body with a separate head and stilt inserted in the pole. The bow ard is the weaker and earlier of the two, it is used for shallow tillage with a tang share, in dry, stony soils. It is restricted to the Mediterranean, Ethiopia and eastern India and Sumatra; the more widespread body ard and heavier for deeper tillage has a socket share, sometimes laterally extended or has serrated wings for better mixing of soil and cutting of weeds. It had a short portion of the body, first made to slide on the furrow bottom and developed into a horizontal body; the body ard dominates in Portugal, western Spain, the Balkans, Sri Lanka, Thailand and most of Latin America.
The bow ard favored the development of a long horizontal sole body sliding on the ground. This led to the sole ard, first attested in Bronze Age Cyprus, being single-handled and consisting of a flat sole into which were set the draft-pole and stilt, meaning there were three separate pieces, their use in Ancient Greek agriculture was described by Hesiod. In northern Europe the single-handled crook ard was favored, consisting of a stilt inserted into a pole with a crook-shaft, i.e. the pole had a curved shape and had a natural crook tip that served as a share. Variations of the sole ard come in two types: the triangular and quadrangular ards; the triangular ard has a horizontal sole body holding the beam and stilt which cross each other, forming a triangle at the base. The quandrangular ard has a horizontal sole body connected to a straight, nearly parallel beam by a stilt and a brace. Evidence of its use in prehistory is sometimes found at archaeological sites where the long, shallow scratches it makes can be seen cutting into the subsoil.
The ard first appears in the mid-Neolithic and is related to the domestication of cattle. It spread with animal traction in general across the cereal-growing cultures of the Neolithic Old World, its exact point of origin is unknown, but it spread throughout West Asia, South Asia and Europe in the late Neolithic and early Chalcolithic. Evidence appears in the Near East in the 6th millennium BC. Iron versions appeared c. 2300 BC both in 3rd-dynasty Egypt. In Europe, the earliest known wooden ard dates from around 2300-2000 BC, but the earliest scratch marks date from 3500-3000 BC. All of these were bow ards depicted in the rock drawings of Bohuslän, Fontanalba, France; the first bow ards were adapted from hoes and like instruments a
Inverness is a city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for The Highland Council and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands. Inverness lies near two important battle sites: the 11th-century battle of Blàr nam Fèinne against Norway which took place on the Aird and the 18th century Battle of Culloden which took place on Culloden Moor, it is the northernmost city in the United Kingdom and lies within the Great Glen at its north-eastern extremity where the River Ness enters the Moray Firth. At the latest, a settlement was established by the 6th century with the first royal charter being granted by Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim in the 12th century; the Gaelic king Mac Bethad Mac Findláich whose 11th-century killing of King Duncan was immortalised in Shakespeare's fictionalized play Macbeth, held a castle within the city where he ruled as Mormaer of Moray and Ross. The population of Inverness grew from 40,969 in 2001 to 46,869 in 2012; the Greater Inverness area, including Culloden and Westhill, had a population of 59,969 in 2012.
In 2018, it had a population of 69,989. Inverness is one of Europe's fastest growing cities, with a quarter of the Highland population living in or around it, is ranked fifth out of 189 British cities for its quality of life, the highest of any Scottish city. In the recent past, Inverness has experienced rapid economic growth: between 1998 and 2008, Inverness and the rest of the central Highlands showed the largest growth of average economic productivity per person in Scotland and the second greatest growth in the United Kingdom as a whole, with an increase of 86%. Inverness is twinned with one German city and two French towns, La Baule and Saint-Valery-en-Caux. Inverness College is the main campus for the University of the Islands. With around 8,500 students, Inverness College hosts around a quarter of all the University of the Highlands and Islands' students, 30% of those studying to degree level. In 2014, a survey by a property website described Inverness as the happiest place in Scotland and the second happiest in the UK.
Inverness was again found to be the happiest place in Scotland by a new study conducted in 2015. Inverness was one of the chief strongholds of the Picts, in CE 565 was visited by St Columba with the intention of converting the Pictish king Brude, supposed to have resided in the vitrified fort on Craig Phadrig, on the western edge of the city. A 93 oz silver chain dating to 500–800 was found just to the south of Torvean in 1983. A church or a monk's cell is thought to have been established by early Celtic monks on St Michael's Mount, a mound close to the river, now the site of the Old High Church and graveyard; the castle is said to have been built by Máel Coluim III of Scotland, after he had razed to the ground the castle in which Mac Bethad mac Findláich had, according to much tradition, murdered Máel Coluim's father Donnchad, which stood on a hill around 1 km to the north-east. The strategic location of Inverness has led to many conflicts in the area. Reputedly there was a battle in the early 11th century between King Malcolm and Thorfinn of Norway at Blar Nam Feinne, to the southwest of the city.
Inverness had four traditional fairs, including Legavrik or "Leth-Gheamhradh", meaning midwinter, Faoilleach. William the Lion granted Inverness four charters, by one. Of the Dominican friary founded by Alexander III in 1233, only one pillar and a worn knight's effigy survive in a secluded graveyard near the town centre. Medieval Inverness suffered regular raids from the Western Isles by the MacDonald Lords of the Isles in the 15th century. In 1187 one Domhnall Bán led islanders in a battle at Torvean against men from Inverness Castle led by the governor's son, Donnchadh Mac An Toisich. Both leaders were killed in the battle, Donald Ban is said to have been buried in a large cairn near the river, close to where the silver chain was found. Local tradition says that the citizens fought off the Clan Donald in 1340 at the Battle of Blairnacoi on Drumderfit Hill, north of Inverness across the Beauly Firth. On his way to the Battle of Harlaw in 1411, Donald of Islay harried the city, sixteen years James I held a parliament in the castle to which the northern chieftains were summoned, of whom three were arrested for defying the king's command.
Clan Munro defeated Clan Mackintosh in 1454 at the Battle of Clachnaharry just west of the city. Clan Donald and their allies stormed the castle during the Raid on Ross in 1491. In 1562, during the progress undertaken to suppress Huntly's insurrection, Queen of Scots, was denied admittance into Inverness Castle by the governor, who belonged to the earl's faction, whom she afterwards caused to be hanged; the Clan Munro and Clan Fraser of Lovat took the castle for her. The house in which she lived meanwhile stood in Bridge Street until the 1970s, when it was demolished to make way for the second Bridge Street development. Beyond the northern limits of the town, Oliver Cromwell built a citadel capable of accommodating 1,000 men, but with the exception of a portion of the ramparts it was demolished at the Restoration; the only surviving modern remnant is a clock tower. Inverness played a role in the Jacobite rising of 1689. In early May, it was besieged by a contingent of Jacobites led by MacDonell of Keppoch.
The town was rescued by Viscount Dundee, the overall Jacobite commander, when he arrived with the main Jacobite army, although he required Inverness to profess loyalty to King James VII. In 1715 the Jacobites occupie
History of agriculture
The history of agriculture records the domestication of plants and animals and the development and dissemination of techniques for raising them productively. Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, included a diverse range of taxa. At least eleven separate regions of the Old and New World were involved as independent centers of origin. Wild grains were collected and eaten from at least 20,000 BC. From around 9500 BC, the eight Neolithic founder crops – emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, hulled barley, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas, flax – were cultivated in the Levant. Rye may have been cultivated earlier but this remains controversial. Rice was domesticated in China by 6200 BC with earliest known cultivation from 5700 BC, followed by mung and azuki beans. Pigs were domesticated in Mesopotamia around 11,000 BC, followed by sheep between 11,000 BC and 9000 BC. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan around 8500 BC. Sugarcane and some root vegetables were domesticated in New Guinea around 7000 BC.
Sorghum was domesticated in the Sahel region of Africa by 5000 BC. In the Andes of South America, the potato was domesticated between 8000 BC and 5000 BC, along with beans, llamas and guinea pigs. Bananas were hybridized in the same period in Papua New Guinea. In Mesoamerica, wild teosinte was domesticated to maize by 4000 BC. Cotton was domesticated in Peru by 3600 BC. Camels were domesticated late around 3000 BC; the Bronze Age, from c. 3300 BC, witnessed the intensification of agriculture in civilizations such as Mesopotamian Sumer, ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilisation of South Asia, ancient China, ancient Greece. During the Iron Age and era of classical antiquity, the expansion of ancient Rome, both the Republic and the Empire, throughout the ancient Mediterranean and Western Europe built upon existing systems of agriculture while establishing the manorial system that became a bedrock of medieval agriculture. In the Middle Ages, both in the Islamic world and in Europe, agriculture was transformed with improved techniques and the diffusion of crop plants, including the introduction of sugar, rice and fruit trees such as the orange to Europe by way of Al-Andalus.
After the voyages of Christopher Columbus in 1492, the Columbian exchange brought New World crops such as maize, sweet potatoes, manioc to Europe, Old World crops such as wheat, barley and turnips, livestock including horses, cattle and goats to the Americas. Irrigation, crop rotation, fertilizers were introduced soon after the Neolithic Revolution and developed much further in the past 200 years, starting with the British Agricultural Revolution. Since 1900, agriculture in the developed nations, to a lesser extent in the developing world, has seen large rises in productivity as human labour has been replaced by mechanization, assisted by synthetic fertilizers and selective breeding; the Haber-Bosch process allowed the synthesis of ammonium nitrate fertilizer on an industrial scale increasing crop yields. Modern agriculture has raised social and environmental issues including water pollution, genetically modified organisms and farm subsidies. In response, organic farming developed in the twentieth century as an alternative to the use of synthetic pesticides.
Scholars have developed a number of hypotheses to explain the historical origins of agriculture. Studies of the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies indicate an antecedent period of intensification and increasing sedentism. Current models indicate that wild stands, harvested started to be planted, but were not domesticated. Localised climate change is the favoured explanation for the origins of agriculture in the Levant; when major climate change took place after the last ice age, much of the earth became subject to long dry seasons. These conditions favoured annual plants which die off in the long dry season, leaving a dormant seed or tuber. An abundance of storable wild grains and pulses enabled hunter-gatherers in some areas to form the first settled villages at this time. Early people began altering communities of flora and fauna for their own benefit through means such as fire-stick farming and forest gardening early. Exact dates are hard to determine, as people collected and ate seeds before domesticating them, plant characteristics may have changed during this period without human selection.
An example is the semi-tough rachis and larger seeds of cereals from just after the Younger Dryas in the early Holocene in the Levant region of the Fertile Crescent. Monophyletic characteristics were attained without any human intervention, implying that apparent domestication of the cereal rachis could have occurred quite naturally. Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, included a diverse range of taxa. At least 11 separate regions of the Old and New World were involved as independent centers of origin; some of the earliest known domestications were of animals. Domestic pigs had multiple centres of origin in Eurasia, including Europe, East Asia and Southwest Asia, where wild boar were first domesticated about 10,500 years ago. Sheep were domesticated in Mesopotamia between 11,000 BC and 9000 BC. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan around 8500 BC. Camels were domesticated late around 3000 BC, it was not until after 9500 BC that the eight so-called founder crops of agriculture appear: first emmer and einkorn wheat hulled barley, lenti