Sunday, February 28, 2021

Origin of durum wheat

Durum wheat originated from the domesticated form of a wild species named emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum Koern.) between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, in the West Levantine.

The first step in the improvement of durum wheat involved the domestication of its wild progenitors in the hilly area of southwest Asia at the Tigris and Euphrates basin (ancient Mesopotamia) and in the mountains of Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Jordan, in the area often referred to as the “Fertile Crescent”.

Phoenicians, Greeks, and above all Romans were active in the expansion and success of durum cultivation in all Mediterranean Rim that started displaced emmer by the mid first millennium BC.

Archaeological evidence suggests that naked emmer reached Ethiopia approximately 5000 years ago, probably arriving from the Levantine, through Egypt, along the Silk Road.

Emmer spread from the Near East to various European, African, and Asian regions. Archaeological evidence has shown the arrival of emmer into regions far away from the Near East (its center of origin) into Britain, to the West, around 3500 BC and in the Indian subcontinent, to the East, around 5000 BC.

Durum evolved in the eastern Mediterranean region and it had established as a major crop by 2300 BC. Phoenicians have traded it along the Mediterranean shores since historical times and throughout the rise of civilizations this crop has encountered several waves of expansion until today’s global importance.

Its grains have been found in eight archaeological sites of the Iron Age, dating from the end of the 2nd millennium BC to the end of the 4th century BC in Northern Greece. The first agricultural book on wheat was written using cuneiform on a clay tablet around 1700 BC and was discovered in Israel in 1950.
Origin of durum wheat