agricultural revolution

Swing of the Scythe Sculpture, 2002, Efrat Natan, Born Israel 1947. Lacquered iron Purchase, Artvision Acquisition Committee

The domestication of plants and animals marked a crucial turning point in the history of humankind that revolutionized human behavior. Also known as the Neolithic Revolution, it transformed nomadic bands foraging for food into sedentary communities cultivating the land and living from its produce. The land also provided the materials to build homes that offered protection and a place to stock food surplus. This in turn accelerated population growth and promoted the creation of larger societies.

Similar processes took place in several parts of the world within a couple of thousand years. In the Fertile Crescent (of which the Land of Israel was a part), it occurred some 9,500 years ago. Farmers built homes in which they lived for generations, and these crystallized into organized societies characterized by a centralized administration, social hierarchy, complex economy, and technological progress. They also formed ties with other villages, creating a common cultural realm that extended from Lake Van in Anatolia to ancient Jericho.

Thus, the creators of the sickle (such as the one displayed here) can be seen as the creators of civilization — the precursors of the social structures and cultural institutions that still characterize our way of life today.