Tag Archives: agriculture

25th European Archaeological Association (EAA) Conference_Session 60

Session 60: ‘Beyond “founder crops”: new insights into understudied food plant resources’.

The beginning of agriculture is seen as the major transition in the human past, a changeover that strengthened sedentary lifestyle, drastically reduced the risk of famine and the dependence on the environmental conditions, and ultimately, allowed the human population to prosper.

Archaeological and genetic discoveries have shed light on the most relevant processes that accompanied the domestication of the so‐called “founder crops” (emmer, einkorn, barley, lentil, pea, chickpea, bitter vetch and flax). Nevertheless, the role of minor crops and weedy plants, as well as wild plants that could have been cultivated but eventually not domesticated, among hunter‐gatherers and early farmers is relatively understudied. With the increasing corpus of archaeobotanical data, together with the appearance of new and more powerful genomic, biometric and radiocarbon dating techniques, we are gaining new insights into plant cultivation and domestication that had not been possible before.

Within the framework of this session we would like to bring together researchers working on the cultivation of wild plants and the domestication of minor crops in Southwestern Asia, Northern Africa and Europe. We also encourage new archaeobotanical and paleogenomic discoveries to be presented, to track and date changes in the phenotypes and genotypes of plants that are considered marginal, but were instead crucial for the survival of ancient and modern‐primitive communities.

Papers that discuss the mechanism of exploitation of minor crops among modern traditional societies from an ethnographic perspective are considered relevant to the discussion.

The organizers

Valentina Caracuta (France)  valentina.caracuta@umontpellier.fr

Institut de Science de l’Ecologie de Montpellier, France

Ferran Antolin (Switzerland)  Ferran.Antolin@unibas.ch

IPNA/IPAS, University of Basel

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.