What Was Agriculture Like in Ancient Times?

Agriculture has been an integral part of human civilization since ancient times. It is believed that the first agricultural practices began around 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, a region that encompasses modern-day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. In this article, we will explore what agriculture was like in ancient times.

Early Agricultural Practices

In ancient times, agriculture was a labor-intensive process. People used simple tools such as digging sticks and hoes to cultivate the land.

They cleared fields by hand and used animal-drawn plows to till the soil. Water was transported manually from nearby sources to irrigate crops.

The Importance of Crops

Crops played a vital role in ancient societies. Wheat and barley were staple crops in Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Rice was grown in China and Southeast Asia while maize was cultivated in Central America. These crops provided sustenance for people as well as fodder for their livestock.

The Role of Livestock

Livestock also played an important role in ancient agricultural practices. Cattle were used for plowing fields while sheep and goats provided milk and meat. Horses were also used for transportation and warfare.

The Impact of Agriculture on Ancient Societies

The development of agriculture had a significant impact on ancient societies. It allowed people to settle down in one place instead of being nomadic hunters and gatherers. This led to the development of permanent settlements and the formation of civilizations.

The Rise of Social Classes

The surplus food produced by agriculture allowed societies to grow larger and more complex. This led to the emergence of social classes such as nobility, merchants, and farmers.

Technological Advancements

As societies grew more complex, so did their agricultural practices. Technological advancements such as the plow, irrigation systems, and crop rotation techniques were developed to increase productivity and efficiency.


In conclusion, agriculture has played a vital role in shaping human civilization since ancient times. The development of agriculture allowed people to settle down in one place, form permanent settlements, and create complex societies. Though ancient agricultural practices were labor-intensive and simple compared to modern techniques, they provided the foundation for the agricultural practices we use today.