Archaeologists have unearthed the earliest evidence of farming in Egypt.
The crops and animals—and techniques for raising them—were all introduced to Egypt from the ancient Middle East, where domestication of plants and animals is known to have existed as far back as 9000 B.C. It came together as a "package" around 7000 B.C., according to Zeder, an expert in Middle East domestication.It's hard to keep a good idea to yourself, especially when it's literally out in the open. One of the great strengths of our profession is its operational transparency - we can watch what the competition is doing and usually come close to duplicating it on our own farms.
"An increasing area of study is looking at how this package diffused out of its homeland into other areas," Zeder said. We now have "really good prima facie evidence of some of the earliest movement of that technology into Egypt."
It's not clear whether the crops and animals were brought to Egypt by ancient mariners on the Mediterranean Sea or overland through the rugged Sinai desert or both. The presence of Red Sea shells at the site could indicate that the trading routes cut through the Sinai Peninsula.
As the new evidence is studied further, it could help experts iron out those details and also map the initial spread of farming across the African continent.
Faiyum "really is the beachhead front now in the movement of agriculture and the increase in trade into Africa," said Zeder, who added that the movement of agriculture may be the first example of globalization. [More]
That's about the only upside to farming next to really great operators.