为什么觅食者成为农民？还是从考古学角度来讲，为什么中石器时代变成了新石器时代？大约一代人以前，人类学家观察非洲的丛林居民时指出，他们似乎比农民拥有更多的业余时间，并且工作更少。那么，为什么要从狩猎和采集转变为农业呢？我面前有两本书，试图解释这一悖论。首先， 史前的农业革命 by 格雷姆·巴克, the newly appointed Disney Professor of Archaeology at Cambridge, is published by the Oxford University Press, for £80 in hard back and is 600 pages long. The other is 第一农：农业社会的起源 由澳大利亚国立大学考古学教授彼得·贝尔伍德（Peter Bellwood）设计，平装本售价为17.99英镑。
格雷姆·巴克’该书在范围和权威上具有权威性。我一直认为，除非他们写了一篇‘big book’, an apologia pro vita sua as Cardinal Newman termed it, a justification for their academic existence, making sense of their subject in terms that are both acceptable to their peers as well as comprehensible to the layman. This is 格雷姆·巴克’s ‘big book’。他从历史调查开始，考察了1960年代和70年代由于新石器时代革命的原因而发生的经典冲突。但是，我们如何区分觅食者和农民？ （请注意，‘huntergatherers’现在已被替换‘foragers’.) Here the latest scientific techniques are beginning to help by studying the chemical and DNA analysis of bones of both the people and the animals: 觅食者 tend to eat more fish, farmers eat more meat. He then goes on to a world wide survey, starting in South West 亚洲 where farming first began. He then moves to Central and South 亚洲 and the wheat/rice frontier, then through to tubers (i.e. potatoes) and maize in the Americas before coming through to 非洲 and the Bantu farmlands, ending up in the well trodden paths of 欧洲, asking how far the Neolithic revolution in 欧洲 was in fact derived from the Near East.
他认为，对农业的崛起有两个主要驱动力，即气候变化和社会演变的结合。在过去的40,000至50,000年间，出现了现代人类，‘无限的好奇心和新发现的创造力’, which took human 觅食者 throughout most of the world. When this new force was combined with the impact of rapid climate change at the end of the ice ages, agriculture and sedentism, in their various forms, were likely to emerge.
从许多方面来看，这本书都可以视为史蒂芬·米森（Steven Mithen）的下一阶段’s book 冰后. 格雷姆·巴克 has himself worked in many different parts of the world and here he triumphantly stakes his claim to the Cambridge chair. He is clearly a worthy successor to Grahame Clark, Glyn Daniel and Colin Renfrew.
Peter Bellwood tackles the same subject from a slightly different perspective. He too is the product of Cambridge, though of a slightly older generation, beginning his studies under the headship of Grahame Clark and forming part of the great Cambridge diaspora that Clark promoted. Thus in 1967, he was appointed to a lectureship in New Zealand and in 1973 he moved to the 澳大利亚n National University, so here we see the first farmers from an Antipodean view point. He begins like 格雷姆·巴克 in South West 亚洲 and then sees the spread to 非洲, East 亚洲, South East 亚洲 and Oceania and then the Americas.