Garden cultivation played an important role in early food production but the definition of a garden is often unclear and encompasses a variety of different cultivation methods. This paper explores the intensive cultivation of small plots using horticultural methods through an investigation of garden and field agriculture in the Greek island of Evvia. Evidence is presented to demonstrate that intensive cultivation practices, such as hoeing, weeding, manuring and watering, have a significant impact on soil and crop productivity and are most likely to be applied to areas located near to settlement. The implications of intensive, small-scale cultivation for settlement location, population mobility and land tenure in prehistory are then explored. For example, while an economic system dependent on cereal cultivation does not necessarily involve extensive land clearance or field systems, the investment in land inherent in intensive cultivation provides a strong incentive for remaining in the same place and repeatedly cultivating the same spot.
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