The Human Food Niche in the Levant Over the Past 150,000 Years



Archaeologists have tended to accept Flannery's (1969) broad spectrum revolution (BSR) as a general phase in an evolutionary sequence of subsistence changes leading to the appearance of domestication economies. Previous partial tests of the Flannery model in both hemispheres have tended to support it, especially those aspects of it that predict increasing subsistence diversity over time and increases in the relative intensity of food procurement. Phillip Edwards has recently claimed, however, that the BSR is not documented in Levantine archaeofaunal data and that its generality as a phase in the domestication process in that region can therefore be called into question. We re-analyzed Edwards's data using a simulation approach and came to the conclusion that there was, in fact, considerable support for the BSR. We attribute the disparity between our results and those of Edwards to the way in which diversity is measured.