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No. 86: Mar-Apr 1993

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Where did agriculture really begin?

The archeological party line points to the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. There, the authorities say that, about 10,000 years ago, humans suddenly learned how to sow and harvest such crops as wheat and barley. There, civilization really began. Or was it there?

Wadi Kubbaniya, Egypt. At this site, G. Hillman, of the Institute of Archeology, London, has found grinding stones and tubers. This site is dated at 17,000-18,000 years old.

New Guinea highlands. J. Golson, formerly of the Australian National University, has found ditches and crude fields in this area. The implication is that humans were tending plants here between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago.

Buka Island, Solomons. While excavating Kilu cave, M. Spriggs and S. Wickler unearthed small flake tools with surfaces displaying starch grains and other plant residues. Evidently, these tools were used for processing taro. Further, the starch grains resembled those of cultivated rather than wild taro. Date: about 28,000 years ago.

(Dayton, Leigh; "Pacific Islanders Were World's First Farmers," New Scientist, p. 14, December 12, 1992.)

From Science Frontiers #86, MAR-APR 1993. 1993-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987