Ebulula Mardin St. Yıldırım Oğuz Göker St. No:1 Carlton 17 Blok A:10 Akat Beşiktaş - İSTANBUL - TURKEY

Anatolia and agriculture: a very long story.

Ancestors of today’s mankind, in other words Homo Sapiens were carnivores . They were fed through hunting and gathering. Nature offered them it’s fruits, plants, vegetables which were naturally offered. And of course the grain too. The cereals were growing wild. It was not and the agriculture has not yet begun.

Around 15,000 BC’s the homo sapiens have been circulating in the Middle East, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Northern Iraq consisted today’s Mesopotamia region back then. This area is located at the East of contemporary Turkey: starting from the foothills of the Taurus Mountains and developed to the South and it is called the ” Fertile Crescent”. In this region for thousands of years our ancestors have lived in semi-sedentary communities: This semi-sedentary communities knew wild grain, and consumed it. Wherever the grain grew they moved there and harvested it and when the source was scarce they migrated to another place. World was hot and the conditions were good in this region. However, between 11,500 and 12,800 BC, the climate cooled again in a short time compared to length of the world history.

The region became infertile again. It was difficult to find food. People of this culture called Natifyan, in other words our past ancestors who were semi-sedentary became compelled. When we reached to 11,500’s when the climate became warm and all was beautiful again and this cold period has been already engraved into memories. It was difficult to live in world where there was no food. Perhaps it was the reason why the people of Natifyan culture were sent to North, geographically today’s Turkey. A backdrop of mountains, fertile land, the Euphrates and the Tigris. This was an awesome geography offered to them: where they could live together in peace as well as they could produce and enumerate the rest of the product in stores for years to come. So this was the passage to the conscious cultivation, they could accumulate seeds and sows field, grow grain: Agriculture could begin.

In 2006, Der Spiegel magazine has published a finding of Cologne Max Planck Institute for Plant Research department: According to this publication, today’s genetic ancestor 68 grain plant was growing spontaneously at the outskirts of Karacadağ. Apparently, according to today’s fine measuring techniques the first agricultural history of the world started in the outskirts of Karacadağ near Diyarbakir 9000 years BC. The first wheat has been planted here, the first plowed field has been irrigated here and perhaps the first harvest probably has been here!

We can say that the settled life in other words the built-in village life has begun here. Southeastern Turkey is the world’s first agricultural region and first village establishment. Now the grain is domesticated, not wild anymore! Extracted and selected healthy and big seeds are planted, the repeated same process for thousands of years has changed the genetic code of the wild wheat, it is now domesticated. And the product is being stored now for the use in the coming years.

This process began in Southeast Turkey, has spread to Anatolia, in a very short period of time and then to the Middle East, Egypt and to the rest of the world. In recent years, archaeologists and anthropologists gathered and discussed the origins of agriculture. Their conclusion was the following:
At least seven different places on the Earth in seven different time, all completely unaware of each other, the farming has started and a variety of wild plants, cereals have been domesticated. Yes, wheat was the oldest of crops but rice and corn were at other place at another time.

However, Anatolia will have the privilege of being in the place where the grain and wheat was planted for the first time and taken to culture. The common heritage of humanity and perhaps the most important output of it came out of this land, and it will continue to protect this heritage.

Prof. Dr. Levent Yılmaz

Phone: +90 (212) 265 05 71-72
Fax: +90 (212) 265 05 73
Beşiktaş - İSTANBUL - TURKEY
Ebulula Mardin St. Yıldırım Oğuz Göker St. No:1 Carlton 17 Blok A:10 Akat