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Used planet: A global history

Used planet: A global history | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Human use of land has transformed ecosystem pattern and process across most of the terrestrial biosphere, a global change often described as historically recent and potentially catastrophic for both humanity and the biosphere. Interdisciplinary paleoecological, archaeological, and historical studies challenge this view, indicating that land use has been extensive and sustained for millennia in some regions and that recent trends may represent as much a recovery as an acceleration. Here we synthesize recent scientific evidence and theory on the emergence, history, and future of land use as a process transforming the Earth System and use this to explain why relatively small human populations likely caused widespread and profound ecological changes more than 3,000 y ago, whereas the largest and wealthiest human populations in history are using less arable land per person every decade. Contrasting two spatially explicit global reconstructions of land-use history shows that reconstructions incorporating adaptive changes in land-use systems over time, including land-use intensification, offer a more spatially detailed and plausible assessment of our planet's history, with a biosphere and perhaps even climate long ago affected by humans. Although land-use processes are now shifting rapidly from historical patterns in both type and scale, integrative global land-use models that incorporate dynamic adaptations in human–environment relationships help to advance our understanding of both past and future land-use changes, including their sustainability and potential global effects.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

A working synthesis of the long-term pattern of human land use via spiralling cycles of intensification and regime shift, which means we have progressively supported more populations with less land area per capita. This has implications for thinking about where we go from here and for Ruddiman hypothesis that we have been slowly adding to 'natural' greenhouse gases throughout the Holocene and especially the last few millennia. For archaeologists, I regard this a battlecry: we need more big macro-regional databases that integrate the archaeological data for population and landuse. The KK10 model for past landcover which is in this paper (the best available at present) is not good enough; it can only be improved with more empirical data from archaeology and palaeoenvironmental sciences!

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Dorian Q Fuller's comment, April 29, 2013 4:13 PM
should be read alongside Ruddiman's recent "Anthropocene" review (http://sco.lt/7fULYn)

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Crop origins evidence from archaeology and botany
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Domestication: The birth of rice : Nature

Domestication: The birth of rice : Nature | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
From a wild Asian grass to a refined crop that is the staple diet of half the world's population, the domestication of Oryza sativa spans centuries, but the grain's ancestry is hotly contested.
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As part of a Nature journal supplement on rice, its biotechnolgy and future developments, this article reviews our understanding of rice origins, what we think now and how thinking has changed.

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On the Origins of Agriculture

On the Origins of Agriculture | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
This is the first in a series of posts reviewing the 17 articles found in the October 2014 Special Issue of American Journal of Botany, Speaking of Food: Connecting Basic and Applied Science. Agric...
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A blog summarizing the recent review on the archaeobotany of agricultural origins, aimed at bringing archaeobotany to a wider botanical audience, by archaeobotanists from Washington University in St Louis.

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8th International Workshop for African Archaeobotany (IWAA) - Laboratorio di Palinologia e Paleobotanica

8th International Workshop for African Archaeobotany (IWAA) - Laboratorio di Palinologia e Paleobotanica | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Scholars working in the field of African archaeobotany, as well as colleagues from related disciplines, are invited to the 8th International Workshop for African Archaeobotany. The workshop will take place at Modena University organised by the LPP-Laboratory of Palynology and Palaeobotany, and hosted by the Department of Life Sciences.

Workshops have been held regularly every three years as key events where data and knowledge on African archaeobotany are exchanged on a wide range of topics. The 1st IWAA meeting was organised by Krystyna Wasylikowa and was held in Krakow (1994). Following  IWAA workshops were held in Leicester (1997), Frankfurt (2000), Groningen (2003), London (2006), and Cairo (2009). The 7th IWAA (2012) was organised by Ursula Thanheiser at Vienna, University by VIAS-Archaeobotany, hosted by the Department of African Studies.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

An important venue for the latest in African archaeobotany and a chance for lab-based comparisons of samples

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A reference genome for common bean and genome-wide analysis of dual domestications : Nature Genetics : Nature Publishing Group

A reference genome for common bean and genome-wide analysis of dual domestications : Nature Genetics : Nature Publishing Group | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Scott Jackson, Jeremy Schmutz, Phillip McClean and colleagues report the genome sequence of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and resequenced wild individuals and landraces from Mesoamerican and Andean gene pools, showing that common bean underwent two independent domestications.
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

A clear demonstration of two domestications and subsequent introgressions that have shaped the variation in New World beans

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Cover Photo — April 29, 2014, 111 (17)

Cover Photo — April 29, 2014, 111 (17) | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

29 April 2014. Cover of PNAS. The issue with the special feature on the "Modern View of Domestication". Cover image: Pictured are the Gamo-Gofa highlands of southern Ethiopia, a traditional agricultural landscape dotted with domesticated plants and animals such as hybrid cattle. Domesticated plants of diverse geographical origins include maize, sorghum, barley, Ethiopian banana, palm kale, and castor oil plant. The Modern View of Domestication Special Feature, appearing in this issue, presents recent genetic and archaeological evidence regarding the origin and spread of domesticated plants and animals, and addresses questions including those concerning the speed and intentionality of early domestication. See the Introduction to the Special Feature by Greger Larson et al. on pages 6139–6146. Image courtesy of Dorian Fuller.

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have to show off my photo a little...
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Convergent evolution and parallelism in plant domestication revealed by an expanding archaeological record

Convergent evolution and parallelism in plant domestication revealed by an expanding archaeological record | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Agriculture was a transformative development in the history of human societies and natural environments and drove the evolution of new domesticated species. Crop plants are the predominant domesticated species in most agricultural systems and are an essential component in all the food production systems that underpinned the development of urban societies. Archaeological plant remains provide a range of insights into the processes by which plants were domesticated in different parts of the world. The present paper provides a unique synthesis of evidence, including quantitative evidence on the trajectory and rate of domestication in seed crops and patterns in the development of tropical vegetatively propagated crops
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:
This is one of the papers in a Special Feature on domestication in the PNAS issue out next week. This one represents two of the key work packages in the ERC-funded ComPAg project -- quantifying rates of change in domestication and comparing different regional pathways to agriculture in terms of settlement systems and economic styles. On ComPAg, see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/research/directory/compag-fuller ) This paper emerged from a meeting held on NESCENT on domestication (http://www.nescent.org/science/awards_summary.php?id=218)
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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, April 24, 4:35 AM
This paper includes the most upto date data on archaeologically documented domestication traits in rice, include non-shattering spikelet bases from China, and grain size change in both China and India.
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Archaeology of African Plant Use

Archaeology of African Plant Use | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

While the study of plants alongside archaeological projects has long been established within Europe and the Near East, for much of Africa such studies are much rarer. This volume represents an important contribution to this growing focus of research, and provides an important corpus of work both for the archaeobotanist and African archaeologist alike.

The twenty-two newly-authored chapters are divided into four major areas of study; the archaeobotanies of hominids during the Palaeolithic, the West African Neolithic, the role of plants in the economies and structure of complex societies, and finally a series of case studies that apply new techniques and approaches to African archaeological analyses. The themes of the papers cover such diverse topics as primate plant use, diet and evolution, palaeoenvironmental change, domestication, agriculture, iron production and historical linguistics.

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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, February 17, 6:50 PM

Includes a chapter in Nubian agriculture and Meroitic state collapse: "

Agricultural Innovation and State Collapse in Meroitic Nubia: The Impact of the Savannah Package" by Dorian Fuller

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A complete ancient RNA genome: identification, reconstruction and evolutionary history of archaeological Barley Stripe Mosaic Virus : Scientific Reports : Nature Publishing Group

A complete ancient RNA genome: identification, reconstruction and evolutionary history of archaeological Barley Stripe Mosaic Virus : Scientific Reports : Nature Publishing Group | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
The origins of many plant diseases appear to be recent and associated with the rise of domestication, the spread of agriculture or recent global movements of crops. Distinguishing between these possibilities is problematic because of the difficulty of determining rates of molecular evolution over short time frames. Heterochronous approaches using recent and historical samples show that plant viruses exhibit highly variable and often rapid rates of molecular evolution. The accuracy of estimated evolution rates and age of origin can be greatly improved with the inclusion of older molecular data from archaeological material. Here we present the first reconstruction of an archaeological RNA genome, which is of Barley Stripe Mosaic Virus (BSMV) isolated from barley grain ~750 years of age. Phylogenetic analysis of BSMV that includes this genome indicates the divergence of BSMV and its closest relative prior to this time, most likely around 2000 years ago. However, exclusion of the archaeological data results in an apparently much more recent origin of the virus that postdates even the archaeological sample. We conclude that this viral lineage originated in the Near East or North Africa, and spread to North America and East Asia with their hosts along historical trade routes.
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

The first ancient DNA recovery and study of a plant disease: chalk up another score for the amazing plant assemblage from Qasr Ibrim! The recent evolution of this virus and its apparently arrival in Nubia highlights the the ongoing evolution of crop plants after domestication and provides another factor in the ongoing adaptation of improvement of crops.

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David Harris obituary

David Harris obituary | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Academic whose worldwide studies shed new light on the complexity and origins of farming
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

The Guardian newspaper obituary of David Harris, written by Prof. Martin Jones of Cambridge. See also, http://archaeobotanist.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/in-memoriam-professor-david-r-harris.html

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The Archaeobotanist: In Memorian, Professor David R. Harris (1930-2013)

The Archaeobotanist: In Memorian, Professor David R. Harris (1930-2013) | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

It is will a heavy heart that report the passing of David Harris during the holiday period, Professor Emeritus of the Human Environment at the Institute of Archaeology (UCL) and former director of the institute (1989-1996). Our sympathies go to his widow Helen, their children and grandchildren. He also leaves a hole in the intellectual community of the Institute and wider research community on domestication an agricultural origins.

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Plant foods in the Upper Palaeolithic at Dolni Vӗstonice? Parenchyma redux

Plant foods in the Upper Palaeolithic at Dolni Vӗstonice? Parenchyma redux | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Antiquity Vol 87:338, 2013 pp 971-984 - Alexander J.E. Pryor and others - The classic image of Upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers in Europe envisages them hunting large mammals in largely treeless landscapes. That is partly due to the nature of the surviving archaeological evidence, and the poor preservation of plant remains at such ancient sites. As this study illustrates, however, the potential of Upper Palaeolithic sites to yield macrofossil remains of plants gathered and processed by human groups has been underestimated. Large scale flotation of charred deposits from hearths such as that reported here at Dolní Vӗstonice II not only provides insight into the variety of flora that may have been locally available, but also suggests that some of it was being processed and consumed as food. The ability to exploit plant foods may have been a vital component in the successful colonisation of these cold European habitats.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

An illustration of importance of parenchyma analysis in archaeobotany-- an under-developed approach, which also highlights the importance of systematic flotation in palaeolithic sites. While specific identification remains elusive, the evidence dlearly indicates use (probably consumption) of aquatic tubers as well as terestrial dicots, probably Asteaceae.

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People in Mexico Were Using Chili Peppers to Make Spicy Drinks 2400 Years Ago

People in Mexico Were Using Chili Peppers to Make Spicy Drinks 2400 Years Ago | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
New analysis of the insides of ancient drinkware shows chemical traces of Capsicum species, proof positive that its owners made spicy beverages

Via Meristemi, Eve Emshwiller
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Farmers, smelters and caravans: Two thousand years of land use and soil erosion in North Pare, NE Tanzania

Farmers, smelters and caravans: Two thousand years of land use and soil erosion in North Pare, NE Tanzania | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Slope deposits in North Pare provide evidence of two millennia of anthropogenically driven land clearance, soil erosion and land degradation. Drawing on deposit stratigraphy, soil magnetic parameters, stable carbon isotope composition and radiocarbon dating, three phases of soil erosion are distinguished characterized by distinct surface processes and increasing levels of agricultural land use.

Onset of slope deposit formation in Pare since about 300 BC documents soil erosion as an immediate consequence of new land use practices associated with the spread of agriculture and iron working across northern Tanzania. By AD 500, slope deposits extended into valley bottoms and to middle slopes suggesting catchment-wide land clearance and soil erosion. In the 15th century AD, progressive anthropogenic soil erosion had exhausted the topsoil resource and material changes of the slope deposits reflect widespread subsoil erosion. The exposure of subsoils represents an ecological tipping point and triggered the transition to a new morphodynamic framework dominated by runoff-based erosion processes that are recorded as sand lenses and sand layers. The most recent deposits show ongoing accelerated erosion and severe land degradation whilst cessation of sand lens preservation indicates pre-colonial intensification of agricultural land use. Land use changes and socioeconomic transitions associated with the establishment of the Ugweno chiefdom and the 19th-century caravan trade are discussed as possible responses to imperceptible long-term land degradation in Pare.

The study demonstrates that anthropogenic soil erosion and not external climatic drivers shaped landscape development in Pare and shows that the identification of environmental thresholds is essential for the assessment of resilience in human-dominated ecosystems.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Geoarchaeological evidence suggests agricultural landuse from the later First Millennium BC. This is only slightly older than current archaeobotanical evidence from the region; so is this poijting to a quite late introduction of cultivation in the hills region of east Africa? If so, it casts further questions on the reported early banana from Cameroun.

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diana buja's curator insight, December 13, 2013 7:55 AM

Another great links and thoughts from Dorian Fuller.  Thanks, Dorian!

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Iron Age agriculture, fishing and trade in the Mafia Archipelago, Tanzania: new evidence from Ukunju Cave

Iron Age agriculture, fishing and trade in the Mafia Archipelago, Tanzania: new evidence from Ukunju Cave | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Small-scale excavations were recently undertaken at the site of Ukunju Cave in the Mafia Archipelago, Tanzania, to collect new bioarchaeological and material culture data relating to the site's occupation and the nature of early subsistence and long-distance trade in the region. Our findings suggest that occupation of the cave began during the Middle Iron Age (MIA, seventh to tenth centuries AD), as indicated by the presence of local Early Tana Tradition (ETT)/Triangular Incised Ware (TIW) pottery in the lowest layers above bedrock, as well as small quantities of imported ceramics and glass beads also dating from the mid- to the late first millennium AD. Small assemblages of faunal and botanical remains, including introduced African crops (pearl millet, sorghum, baobab and possibly cowpea) were found in association with these finds, indicating that these MIA communities practised a mixed economy of fishing, domestic livestock keeping and agriculture. In addition, the presence of cotton suggests they may have also been producing fibres or textiles, most likely for local use, but possibly also for long distance trade. Although some quartz artefacts were recovered, we found no evidence of any pre-Iron Age LSA culture at the cave, contrary to previous claims about the site
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Another site on the archaeobotanical map of Africa.

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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, Today, 8:04 AM

Sealinks project results: indicating settlement of Mafia only definitice in the Middle Iron Age, associated with evidence for trade (e.g. glass beads) and African crops (pearl millet, sorghum), as well as local cotton production.

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Ancient nomads spread earliest domestic grains along Silk Road, study finds

Ancient nomads spread earliest domestic grains along Silk Road, study finds | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Charred grains of barley, millet and wheat deposited nearly 5,000 years ago at campsites in the high plains of Kazakhstan show that nomadic sheepherders played a surprisingly important role in the early spread of domesticated crops throughout a mountainous east-west corridor along the historic Silk ...
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

More archaeobotanical data from the labwork of Robert Spengler, which add the crowing heap of recent paper exploring the 'Bronze Age globalization" by which crops moved into and out of China.

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The Near-Eastern Roots of the Neolithic in South Asia

The Near-Eastern Roots of the Neolithic in South Asia | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

The Fertile Crescent in the Near East is one of the independent origins of the Neolithic, the source from which farming and pottery-making spread across Europe from 9,000 to 6,000 years ago at an average rate of about 1 km/yr. There is also strong evidence for causal connections between the Near-Eastern Neolithic and that further east, up to the Indus Valley. The Neolithic in South Asia has been far less explored than its European counterpart, especially in terms of absolute (14C) dating; hence, there were no previous attempts to assess quantitatively its spread in Asia. We combine the available 14C data with the archaeological evidence for early Neolithic sites in South Asia to analyze the spatio-temporal continuity of the Neolithic dispersal from the Near East through the Middle East and to the Indian subcontinent. We reveal an approximately linear dependence between the age and the geodesic distance from the Near East, suggesting a systematic (but not necessarily uniform) spread at an average speed of about 0.65 km/yr

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

An first approximation effort to model the spread rate of Near Eastern farming from the fertile crescent eastwards to the Indus, to derive an average rate much as Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza did for Europe in the 1970s or Pinhasi et al. more recently. While the dataset appear straightforward and the analyses are statisticaly robust, one can question details of their assumptions (like choosing the western fertile crescent as a starting, which is almost certainly wrong). Of interest too is the cultural links between Mehrgarh and western Asia persist from the aceramic through Neolithic period, implying continued cultural contact, and if that is true in the developed Neolithic than why not in the formative stages, allowing for diffusion of farming and no necessarily migration of people?

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Cover Photo — April 29, 2014, 111 (17)

Cover Photo — April 29, 2014, 111 (17) | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

29 April 2014. Cover of PNAS. The issue with the special feature on the "Modern View of Domestication". Cover image: Pictured are the Gamo-Gofa highlands of southern Ethiopia, a traditional agricultural landscape dotted with domesticated plants and animals such as hybrid cattle. Domesticated plants of diverse geographical origins include maize, sorghum, barley, Ethiopian banana, palm kale, and castor oil plant. The Modern View of Domestication Special Feature, appearing in this issue, presents recent genetic and archaeological evidence regarding the origin and spread of domesticated plants and animals, and addresses questions including those concerning the speed and intentionality of early domestication. See the Introduction to the Special Feature by Greger Larson et al. on pages 6139–6146. Image courtesy of Dorian Fuller.


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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, April 29, 7:02 PM
have to show off my photo a little...
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Origins of Domesticated Chili Pepper Found in Mexico - Popular Archaeology

Origins of Domesticated Chili Pepper Found in Mexico - Popular Archaeology | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Origins of Domesticated Chili Pepper Found in Mexico Popular Archaeology Results from the four-pronged investigation — based on linguistic and ecological evidence as well as the more traditional archaeological and genetic data — suggest a regional,...
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

This is based on another PNAS paper in the new domestication special feature. In this case the authors also conclude: "Our results suggest that food crops in Mexico had a multiregional origin with chili pepper originating in central-east Mexico, maize in the Balsas River Basin and common bean in the Lerma–Santiago River Basin, resembling similar finds for the Fertile Crescent and China."

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Current perspectives and the future of domestication studies

Current perspectives and the future of domestication studies | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

It is difficult to overstate the cultural and biological impacts that the domestication of plants and animals has had on our species. Fundamental questions regarding where, when, and how many timesdomestication took place have been of primary interest within a wide range of academic disciplines. Within the last two decades, the advent of new archaeological and genetic techniques has revolutionized our understanding of the pattern and process of domestication and agricultural origins that led to ourmodern way of life. In the spring of 2011, 25 scholars with a central interest in domesticationrepresenting the fields of genetics, archaeobotany, zooarchaeology, geoarchaeology, and archaeology met at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center to discuss recent domestication research progress and identify challenges for the future. In this introduction to the resulting Special Feature, we present thestate of the art in the field by discussing what is known about the spatial and temporal patterns ofdomestication, and controversies surrounding the speed, intentionality, and evolutionary aspects of thedomestication process. We then highlight three key challenges for future research. We conclude by arguing that although recent progress has been impressive, the next decade will yield even more substantial insights not only into how domestication took place, but also when and where it did, and where and why it did not.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Out online this week is a series of papers in a special section on Domestication, which provided updated datasets, syntheses and new perspectives on this key process in the evolution of modern ecosystems and economies, drawn from genetics and archaeology. This article is the overview that introduces the feature, including an updated map of accepted and probably centres of domestication-- there were ~20, and a time line of domestication for selected crops and livestock. The SI provides more detailed references and tabulation for these.  Most of these papers, and the section, arise from a meeting held a few years ago in Durham as part of the Natiotnal Evolutionary Synthesis Center sponsered by NSF (http://www.nescent.org/science/awards_summary.php?id=218).

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Transoceanic drift and the domestication of African bottle gourds in the Americas

Transoceanic drift and the domestication of African bottle gourds in the Americas | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Bottle gourd, one of the most cross-culturally ubiquitous crops, had a pan-tropical distribution by the beginning of the Holocene. Our findings overturn a major component of the current model for bottle gourd’s early global dispersal, specifically regarding how it entered the Americas. Our findings also indicate that the domestication process itself took place in a diffuse pattern throughout the bottle gourd’s New World range, explaining early and nearly contemporaneous use of bottle gourds in North, Central, and South America. Bottle gourd’s weedy growth habit and the diffuse domestication pattern also suggest that early cultivation were probably not restricted to known centers of domestication. It is likely, however, that domesticated phenotypes emerged in these centers alongside food crops.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Having accepted hook line and sinker that bottlegourds had come to the Americas with Palaeoindians, and were thus a Pleistocene plant domestication, this paper forces me to reject that hypothesis. Gourds did drift across and get domesticated in parallel. Still there are gourds in Jomon Japan and Neolithic China that like represent human translocation from Africa in the Pleistocene.

 

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4 | 2013 Le palmier dattier

4 | 2013 Le palmier dattier | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Le palmier dattier (Phoenix dactylifera L.) constitue une espèce emblématique des régions chaudes et arides de l’Ancien Monde où il est cultivé depuis la Préhistoire. Malgré son rôle économique primordial, en tant qu’espèce nourricière et élément structurant dans les cultures en palmeraie, son origine et l’histoire ancienne de son exploitation avaient jusqu’alors fait l’objet de très peu de recherches. Dans ce numéro spécial, nous avons rassemblé onze textes qui abordent ces thématiques de perspectives très diverses, reflétant les travaux des auteurs venant d’horizons disciplinaires variés. Les questions centrales sont celles de la domestication et de la culture ancienne du palmier dattier, approchées par l’archéologie, l’archéobotanique, la morphométrie géométrique, la génétique et l’iconographie. À ces contributions percevant le palmier dattier dans une perspective historique s’ajoutent deux textes portant sur la gestion de l’agrobiodiversité et des ressources en eau dans des palmeraies actuelles en Oman et en Égypte.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

A useful collection of papers in a special issue on the botany and archaeobotany of date palms (some in French and some in English)

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The early chronology of broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum) in Europe

The early chronology of broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum) in Europe | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Antiquity Vol 87:338, 2013 pp 1073-1085 - Giedre Motuzaite-Matuzevici<wbr></wbr>ute and others - The majority of the early crops grown in Europe had their origins in south-west Asia, and were part of a package of domestic plants and animals that were introduced by the first farmers. Broomcorn millet, however, offers a very different narrative, being domesticated first in China, but present in Eastern Europe apparently as early as the sixth millennium BC. Might this be evidence of long-distance contact between east and west, long before there is any other evidence for such connections? Or is the existing chronology faulty in some way? To resolve that question, 10 grains of broomcorn millet were directly dated by AMS, taking advantage of the increasing ability to date smaller and smaller samples. These showed that the millet grains were significantly younger than the contexts in which they had been found, and that the hypothesis of an early transmission of the crop from east to west could not be sustained. The importance of direct dating of crop remains such as these is underlined.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Chalk up another major score for direct AMS-dating of crop remains. No reliable Neolithic dates for European broomcorn millet? No surprise to this commentator, as I have expressed my doubts elsewhere (http://sco.lt/60NLij). So far direct dates go back to Middle Bronze Age only. This agress, more or less, with a recent critical survey of the Greek archaeobotanical record of millets by Valamoti (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12520-013-0152-5)

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Early seventh-millennium AMS dates from domestic seeds in the Initial Neolithic at Franchthi Cave (Argolid, Greece)

Early seventh-millennium AMS dates from domestic seeds in the Initial Neolithic at Franchthi Cave (Argolid, Greece) | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Antiquity Vol 87:338, 2013 pp 1001-1015 - Catherine Perles and others - When, and by what route, did farming first reach Europe? A terrestrial model might envisage a gradual advance around the northern fringes of the Aegean, reaching Thrace and Macedonia before continuing southwards to Thessaly and the Peloponnese. New dates from Franchthi Cave in southern Greece, reported here, cast doubt on such a model, indicating that cereal cultivation, involving newly introduced crop species, began during the first half of the seventh millennium BC. This is earlier than in northern Greece and several centuries earlier than in Bulgaria, and suggests that farming spread to south-eastern Europe by a number of different routes, including potentially a maritime, island-hopping connection across the Aegean Sea. The results also illustrate the continuing importance of key sites such as Franchthi to our understanding of the European Neolithic transition, and the additional insights that can emerge from the application of new dating projects to these sites

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

At long last some reliable, high-precision, direct AMS dates on domesticated emmer wheat from aceramic Francthi cave, confirming that crop cultivated was established by 6700-6600 cal. BC. This neagtes the hytpohtesis that the 6200 BC dry event was instrumental in farming leaving Anatolia for Europe.

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Left Coast Press : Archaeology of African Plant Use

Left Coast Press : Archaeology of African Plant Use | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

 It explores the effects that plant life has had on humans as they evolved from primates through the complex societies of Africa, including Egypt, the Buganda Kingdom, southern African polities, and other regions. With over 30 contributing scholars from 12 countries and extensive illustrations, this volume is an essential addition to our knowledge of humanity’s relationship with plants.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

FInally out, this book included papaers from 2006 African Archaeobotany meeting held in London, but updated, in addition to further invited papers. It ioncluded sections on the Palaeolithic (including primate plant use), early agriculture in West Africa, archaeobotany of complex socities, and novel apporaches from comparative ethnography, historical linguistics and the plant remains found in slag as a window on past metallurgy. 

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A review of palaeobotanical findings of early Vitis in the mediterranean and of the origins of cultivated grape-vines, with special reference to new pointers to prehistoric exploitation in the west...

The presence in S.E. Spain of Vitis vinifera L. seeds at prehistoric siites of the 3rd millennium B.C., and pollen at Quaternary stations, are considered in the light of conflicting views about the origins of cultivation of the grape and their relation to spontaneous and subspontaneous Vitis in Western Mediterranean Europe. It is proposed that new findings from Spain cast doubt on the widely-held view that Vitis exploitation there is no older than Classical times. Botanical as well as archaeological arguments are put forward to support a greater antiquity of exploitation of Vitis in Mediterranean prehistory, based on a critical review of the literature about both palaeobotanical finds of Vitis and the modern distribution of spontaneous Vitis in the Mediterranean basin and adjacent regions.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

New evidence for prehistoric use of grapes in Spain.

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diana buja's curator insight, December 13, 2013 7:52 AM

Info. on ancient history and distribution of grape vines - it's greater antiquity than normally presented.  There is quite early recording of (domestic?) grapes in ancient Egypt and I'll try to find the reference