I'm just re-reading Inside the Neolithic Mind by David Lewis-Williams and David Pearce.
It's something of a sequel to Lewis-Williams's earlier book, The Mind in the Cave. It struck me that a book about the change to the Neolithic way of life might interest some here.
Theories about that change have been around for a while: that farming might have been less work than hunting (doubtful); that it might have happened because of climate change, and so on.
We being who we are, archaeologists have tended to look for "logical" (in their terms) explanations for the rise of farming, assuming that people must have deliberately chosen it as a strategy for rather prosaic reasons.
Archaeologists have also, unfortunately, been rather influenced by Karl Marx (c.f. the importance of the Australian archaeological theorist, V. Gordon Childe). In Marx's "materialist" view, all change was revolutionary rather than gradual, and came about because of "material" conditions. For Marx "production relations" were the "base"; people's beliefs just "superstructure" that merely flowed from and justified a set of "production relations".
However, recent careful examination of early settlement sites has led archaeologists to conclude that the change in Neolithic people's religious beliefs came before the shift to farming:
Mithen concluded that the religious beliefs embodied in the massive stone structures and associated carvings came before and eventually led to agriculture.</blockquote>
Here's how that might have come about:
Large numbers of people, possibly measured in hundreds, would have been needed to make the G?blecki Tepe structures and pillars, and this would have necessitated the gathering and processing of much wild grain to sustain the workers. This activity would, in time, have resulted in fallen grain springing up, being gathered again and thus becoming domesticated.</blockquote>
Curiously, it seems that the agricultural revolution may have been merely an accidental by-product of people's religious activities.
Anyway, much more in the book. It's a fascinating look at the past.