Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate

Committee Chair(s)

George Stewart


George Stewart


Until the beginning of the present centry the general opinion was that Egypt and Mesopotamia were the earliest homes of cultivated plants. Recent translations of the old Chinese records, however, reveal the fact that many of our cultivated plants were grown by the ancient peoples of China prior to the time of the Egyptians.

Dettweiler (11) (1914) writes: "Today it is admitted--except by a few--that the original home of the primitive European population, the Indo-Germans, is not Asia but northern Europe, that they developed their culture there in the late stone age, and that they then dispersed in their wanderings to the South and East as far as India."

In some of the Swiss ruins of the ancient Lake Dwellers of the Neolithic age have been uncovered evidences of a highly advanced culture and several varieties of our cultivated plants 2000-4000 years B.C. Among them were found a short-eared, six-rowed barley, a two-rowed barley, small Lake Dwelling wheat, a true Binkel wheat, Egyptian or Indian wheat, Emmer, Einkorn, Meadow Millet, Club Millet, and Flax, although this is one of the present wild types. In another place the same varieties plus a few others and what appeared to be apple seeds were found. One thing seems evident, that is, some of our cultivated crops were grown by ancient peoples long before they made any record of it.