Meeting Summary: The last 10,000 years of Earth’s history has been increasingly driven by the ever-tightening relationship between humans and a handful of plant and animal species. In fact, it is difficult to overstate the degree to which domestication has shaped human history. The advent and spread of settled agriculture triggered wide-ranging transformations that continue to this day: demographic increases, the emergence of social elites and wealth disparities, and significant impacts on the earth's ecology and atmosphere. Given its fundamental importance, a vast literature from a wide variety of academic disciplines has explored and explained the origins of domestication and more recent studies have begun unpacking the complexity of not just how it happened, but what domestication is.
This conference will bring together 16 academics, all of whom have experience working with a wide variety of empirical data, and each of whom has engaged with theoretical aspects of domestication’s origins, history, and practice. Our primary objective is to debate the most recent findings regarding modern and ancient domesticates and incorporate them into the wider domestication context as a means to develop the next set of big questions that the field should address. Ultimately, our goal is to understand how domestication took place and the factors responsible for its dynamic history as we hurdle towards the 22nd century.