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Certain cereals and pulses (legumes) were domesticated in very ancient times. In about 8000 BC in the Fertile Crescent of the Near and Middle East (present-day Syria, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Israel), wheats, barley, lentil, pea, bitter vetch, chick-pea, and possibly faba bean, were brought into cultivation by the Neolithic people. These crops spread from the point of origin. Archaeological evidence indicates that the wheats, and some of the legumes, had reached Greece by 6000 BC and evidence of their presence within that millennium has been found in the Danube Basin, the Nile valley, and the Indian subcontinent (Pakistan). Dispersal continued throughout Europe, the crops reaching Britain and Scandinavia in 4,000-2,000 BC.

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Source: The New Oxford Book of Food Plants, xv, 1997, by J. G . Vaughan and C. A. Geissler.

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