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Beginning of Farming and Herding: From Gathering To Growing Food

Last updated date: 09th Apr 2024
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The Start of Farming and Herding

Let's take a look back at how humans went from gathering to growing food. 10,000 years ago, the New Stone Age began. This was also seen as the era in which humanity made the most development. Humans shifted from gathering to growing food, as well as breeding and herding animals, during this time.

Humans evolved from hunters and gatherers to farmers and herders throughout the Neolithic Period. Plants and animals were able to spread to previously cold regions due to the increased climatic environment. People began to learn how to raise crops of grains and vegetables, as well as how to tame animals. Neolithic towns have been discovered at a range of areas across the Indian subcontinent.

In this article, we will be covering the  information on the start of farming and herding.

Beginning of Farming and Herding

There was said to be an increase in temperature in the world, approximately 12,000 years ago. As a result, the number of plants, trees, grasslands, and overall greenery has risen. As a result, grass-eating animals such as deer, goats, sheep, and others began to increase.

Humans were still gatherers who only gathered what they could eat. As the amount of greenery increased, people began to notice the places where food plants might be found, as well as how seeds broke off stalks, fell to the ground, and sprouted new plants.

While it is impossible to find out exactly when humans began farming, most people believe that this slow process allowed them to begin planting and growing the seeds they desired. This was the start of agriculture.

Animals gradually began to visit areas where humans planted crops in order to eat the grass. People began to allow non-aggressive animals like sheep and goats to come close to them and stay since these animals provided milk, meat, and in some circumstances, even carried a weight.

Wild animals hunting for food would attack these animals. Humans, on the other hand, began to protect them against these attacks and gradually became herders. Interesting fact: A dog was the first animal tamed by man.

A New Way of Life From Gathering to Growing Food

Humans realized that seeds took days, weeks, months, and even years to grow when they first started farming. This required people to stay in one place for a lengthy amount of time in order to care for the plants, water them, and keep birds and animals at a distance. This had to be done until the grain was fully mature. The grain had to be carefully kept after that for future use as food and seed. People began to construct clay pots and woven baskets over time, and some even dug earthen storage pits.

Animals, on the other hand, required careful attention as well. They served as food storage when needed because they offered milk and meat to the people. People settled down in one place for longer periods of time as a result of this transformation. As he transitioned from gathering to cultivating food, the man began to plant roots.

Archaeological Findings

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of early farmers and herders in the squares on the map. Grain and bones were found at a number of locations across the subcontinent. It was evidence of a time when humans switched from gathering to cultivating food. The following is a basic outline of where grains and bones have been discovered:

Grains and Bones


Rice & fragmented animal bones

Koldihwa (in present-day Uttar Pradesh)

Wheat, Barley, Sheep, Goat & Cattle

Mehrgarh (in present day-Pakistan)

Lentil & Wheat

Gufkral (in present-day Kashmir)

Rice & cattle (hoof marks on clay surface)

Mahagara (in present-day Uttar Pradesh)

Green Gram, Wheat, Barley, Buffalo & Ox

Chirand (in present-day Bihar)

Wheat, lentil, dog, cattle & sheep

Burzahom (in present-day Kashmir)

Black Gram, Millet, Cattle, Sheep & Pig

Paiyampalli (in present-day Andhra Pradesh)

Millet, Cattle, Sheep, Goat & Pig

Hallur (in present-day Andhra Pradesh)

In Burzahom, archaeologists uncovered pit-houses with steps leading into them, as well as cooking items both inside and outside the buildings. Many other tools, such as those with a polished edge for cutting and mortars and pestles for grinding, were uncovered. Earthen pots, which were used for both storage and cooking, were unearthed in many locations.

Let's look at two of the places on the map in more detail - Mehrgarh and Daojali Hading:


Mehrgarh was the site of the first known civilization on the Indian subcontinent (now in Pakistan). This happened near the Bolan Pass, which is a crucial section of the path to Iran. Archaeologists discovered many charred grains and animal bones during their excavations. Other excavations turned up the remnants of square or rectangular dwellings with four or more compartments – a storage-friendly design. Also, some burial sites were discovered there.

As a consequence of their investigations, they came to the conclusion that Mehrgarh was one of the earliest villages known to mankind. Mehrgarh was likely one of the first areas where humans began to cultivate wheat and barley and raise animals. Furthermore, because burial is an arrangement for taking care of the deceased, the burial sites showed that individuals believed in some type of life beyond death.

Daojali Hading

Daojali Hading is situated in the highlands surrounding the Brahmaputra River, near to the Chinese and Myanmar (Burma) border crossings (in Assam). During their excavations in this region, archaeologists uncovered stone tools such as a mortar and pestle. This showed that people could be able to grow and cook their own food. Aside from them, other implements made of fossil wood (hardened wood) and pottery, as well as Jadeite – a stone that may have been imported from China – were uncovered.

How do we Come to Know About Farmers and Herders?

  • Archaeologists discovered the life traces of early farmers.

  • Peasant and herder traces were discovered in the form of pottery, pit houses, tools, paintings, and everyday life.

  • Traces have been discovered in Mehrgarh, Burzahom, and other parts of North-East India.

The Chalcolithic Age

  • Copper was first used by men roughly 6000 years ago.

  • Stone tools were superior to copper tools.

  • It was also known as the Copper Stone Age.

  • This marked the beginning of the transition from stone to metal.

The Mehrgarh North-West

  • The earliest known civilisation on the Indian subcontinent was in Mehrgarh (now Pakistan).

  • Around 7,000 BC, the animals were initially tamed and raised here.

  • Mehrgarh was most likely the first area where humans began to cultivate barley and wheat, as well as raise sheep and goats.

  • It is one of the first towns that the world is aware of.

  • Animal bones and charred grains have been discovered here.

  • This location revealed the remains of rectangular and square homes. Each house contained at least four compartments, the majority of which could have served as storage.

  • Mehrgarh has a large number of burial sites. The deceased was buried with goats, which were to be used as meat in the hereafter.

The North-East

  • Evidence of early settlements was discovered in Manipur, Tripura, and the Garo Hills.

  • Daojali Hading was one of Assam's most well-known Neolithic sites. This site had traces of polished stone tools, ceramics, and cooking utensils.

  • Jadeite, a rock that may have been transported from China, was also discovered.

  • Fossil wood tools (former wood that has hardened into stone) and a pot have also been discovered.


Thus, in the article we have covered about the early period when change in temperature started occurring. Early men started getting knowledge about the crops and their patterns. Earlier to this, people used to do hunting and gathering only and also used to move from one place to another for food and shelter. After this period, when change in temperature was seen, this led to the beginning of agriculture. This agriculture led to the formation of a settled lifestyle and other occupations as well.

FAQs on Beginning of Farming and Herding: From Gathering To Growing Food

1. Explain the Significance of Pottery.

Man learned to produce fire-baked clay pottery by hand. The Potter's wheel enabled them to create a variety of pots with varying forms and sizes, each serving a different purpose. There were also a variety of painted earthen jars that were used to keep items. This was the start of using containers to cook food, particularly grains like rice, wheat, and lentils, which have since become a part of the diet.

2. Explain the Beginning of Agriculture and Herding.

People began collecting seeds and protecting them from animals and birds from 5 to 10 thousand years ago when they saw the natural processes of plant growth, seed fall from fruits, and then sprouting into additional plants. And it was via this process that humans first became farmers.

They also began to keep and raise animals such as dogs, lambs, goats, pigs, and other livestock. Herding is the term for this.

Plants are grown in different places and for varying lengths of time depending on their natural conditions. Similarly, different creatures require various conditions in order to live and grow.