Legume Laboratory- 18th IWGP Conference. http://conference.unisalento.it/ocs/index.php/iwgp2019/index/pages/view/laboratories-workshops

Problems identifying legumes in archaeological sites?

Attend the Legume Laboratory at the

18th International WorkGroup of Palaeoethnobotany  Conference

experts will discuss the most advanced techniques to study legumes collected from archaeological sites.

The scope of the laboratory is to extend the knowledge about the identification of legumes, with theoretical and practical approaches for the study of their anatomical features.
Morphological characteristics used by archaeobotanists to identify legumes are rarely illustrated or described. The earliest attempt to provide criteria for the identification of legumes from  archaeological sites was that of Butler, in the early 2000’s, who studies pods and, later, seeds testa (Butler 2002, 2014).
Among the most detailed study is that carried out by Fuller and Harvey who listed the criteria for the identification of archaeological seeds of Indian native legumes (Fuller &
Harvey 2006). Around the same time, Tanno and Willcox analyzed in detail the anatomy of chickpea and faba bean seeds from a Pre-Pottery Neolithic site in northern Levant (Tanno & Willcox 2006). More recently, Caracuta and colleagues developed criteria for
the identification of wild and domesticated legumes coming from Natufian and Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites in Southern Levant (Caracuta et al. 2016, 2017).
The laboratory session at the 18th IWGP conference is meant to provide archaeobotanists criteria for the identification of legumes coming from different ecological regions.
Modern reference material will be compared to the archaeological samples to assess the effect of degradation on the anatomy of ancient specimens.

Valentina Caracuta, Yoel Melamed will lead this laboratory session

Butler, A. (2002). Investigations of pod characters in the Vicieae. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 11(1-2), 127-132.
BUTLER, A. (2014). 24 Cryptic anatomical characters as evidence of early cultivation in the grain legumes (pulses). Foraging and Farming: The Evolution of Plant Exploitation, 390.
Fuller, D. Q., & Harvey, E. L. (2006). The archaeobotany of Indian pulses: identification, processing and evidence for cultivation. Environmental Archaeology, 11(2), 219-246.
Tanno, K. I., & Willcox, G. (2006). The origins of cultivation of Cicer arietinum L. and Vicia faba L.: early finds from Tell el-Kerkh, north-west Syria, late 10th millennium BP. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 15(3), 197-204.
Caracuta, V., Weinstein-Evron, M., Kaufman, D., Yeshurun, R., Silvent, J., & Boaretto, E. (2016). 14,000-year-old seeds indicate the Levantine origin of the lost progenitor of faba bean. Scientific Reports, 6, 37399.
Caracuta, V., Vardi, J., Paz, Y., & Boaretto, E. (2017). Farming legumes in the pre-pottery Neolithic: New discoveries from the site of Ahihud (Israel). PloS ONE, 12(5), e0177859.

Talk on ‘The origin and distribution of faba bean (Vicia faba) – new insight from the past’


the 21st of May 2019, Dr. Valentina Caracuta will give a talk at the 3rd International Legume Society meeting -Pozdnan. https://ils3.org/program

The origin and distribution of faba bean (Vicia faba) – new insight from the past’

Faba bean is a staple in the diets of many societies from North Africa to China and India. Despite its agronomic and economic importance, very little can be done to improve the crop sensitiveness to pests, diseases and environmental stress. All the subspecies are domesticated and useful genetic traits, often preserved in the wild type, cannot be selected to increase the crop resistance.
This work aims to identify the original distribution of the wild progenitor of faba bean and the routes used by prehistoric farmers to spread the domesticated types across the Mediterranean. The study is based on the survey of the findings of faba bean in archaeological sites, where the seeds can be preserved for thousands of years.
The data collected show that the wild progenitor grew on Mount Carmel (Israel) about 14,000 years ago and that the earliest domesticated types were cultivated in Lower Galilee (Israel) around 10,200 years ago. From this point onward, remains of faba bean started appearing in the Middle East, then in the Mediterranean, and later, in central Europe, following the dispersal routes of the Neolithic farmers.

Seminar at the Weizmann Institute of Science on ‘Insights from the past to study the ecology of faba bean’.

The 12th May 2019, Dr. Valentina Caracuta will hold an invited seminar  on:

 ‘Insights from the past to study the ecology of Faba bean

at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, as part of the Academic Education Activities of the Archaeological Unit of the Institute.

The seminar will be held at the Benoziyo Biochemistry Building, 5th Floor, room # 591 C.

Scheduled Time_ 14-15.30

More information at: http://www.weizmann.ac.il/pages/he/calendar?page=1