The significance accorded by various scholars to the inception of food production (agriculture and stock rearing) in the Middle East is discussed. It has generally been associated with the development of permanent village settlement, although it is now clear that sedentism preceded the domestication of plants and then of animals. The role of climatic change is considered, and the cultural sequence and its accompanying symbolic revolution are reviewed. The extent of early interaction throughout the Middle East, as documented by obsidian analysis is discussed. The new economy proved an expansive one, lying the foundations for the Neolithic Revolution in the Middle East, Egypt, northern India and Europe, and thus ultimately for the succeeding Urban Revolution.
Agriculture, sedentism, Middle East, symbols, deities, obsidian