In a new study published by Guillaume Besnard, an archaeobotanist at the National Center for Scientific Research in France, who based his research on the analysis of 1,900 samples, has determined that the first olive crop in history is between 6,000 and 8,000 years old.
It was found on the border between Turkey and Syria, and it is the first known time that wild olive trees were cultivated by humans. At that time, they domesticated them, obtaining a less bitter and larger fruit with a higher fat content.
In this study, they have discovered several olive wells more than 6,000 years old and with clear evidence of olive oil production in Carmel, Israel. In the traditional plantation found here, there was an area of between 2 and 5 hectares which had an irregular planting frame and separation of about 8 to 10 meters between the single-trunk olive trees.
After that first crop was made, domesticated olive trees came about and extra virgin olive oil was obtained from them. Today they mainly come from three access points: the Near East, the Aegean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar. From there, they gradually spread throughout the Mediterranean along with the rise of civilization.
To reach these results, more than 1,300 wild olive trees and more than 600 domesticated trees were analyzed, where, according to the DNA found in them, it was possible to reconstruct a genetic family tree and unravel the expansion of olive trees as a domestic crop and the consequent commercial production of its extra virgin olive oil. It must not be forgotten that it was the basis of trade and expansion in ancient times.