A Note on the Earliest Evidence on the Distribution of Chickpea (Cicer arietinum) in Near East and Europe

A. MIKIC
Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops, Novi Sad, Serbia

Abstract

MIKIC, A., 2013. A note on the earliest evidence on the distribution of chickpea (Cicer arietinum) in Near East and Europe. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 19: 885-888

 

Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) was a part of the everyday diet of the Eurasian Neanderthal population and the modern human Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers at the end of the last Ice Age. The major criteria to determine the domestication in chickpea and other ancient grain legumes are non-dehiscent pods, larger seed size and smooth seed test. Chickpea seeds were found among the earliest findings of cultivated crops at the site of Tell El-Kerkh, Syria, from 10th millennium BP. Along with cereals, pea and lentil, chickpea has become definitely associated with the start of the ‘agricultural revolution’ in the Old World. Chickpea entered Europe in its southeast regions and progressed into its interior via Danube. Its distribution was rapid, since the available evidence reveals its presence in remote places at similar periods. The
linguistic evidence supports the fact that most of Eurasian peoples have their own words denoting chickpea, meaning that its cultivation preceded the diversification of their own proto-languages.

Key words: archaeobotany, archaeology, Cicer arietinum, chickpea, crop domestication, crop history, Europe, historical linguistics, paleogenetics

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