Archaeobotany and Domestication
14.2K views | +0 today
Follow
Archaeobotany and Domestication
Crop origins evidence from archaeology and botany
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Rescooped by Dorian Q Fuller from Indian Ocean Archaeology
Scoop.it!

Evolution of crop species: genetics of domestication and diversification : Nature Reviews Genetics : Nature Publishing Group

Evolution of crop species: genetics of domestication and diversification : Nature Reviews Genetics : Nature Publishing Group | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Domestication is a good model for the study of evolutionary processes because of the recent evolution of crop species (<12,000 years ago), the key role of selection in their origins, and good archaeological and historical data on their spread and diversification. Recent studies, such as quantitative trait locus mapping, genome-wide association studies and whole-genome resequencing studies, have identified genes that are associated with the initial domestication and subsequent diversification of crops. Together, these studies reveal the functions of genes that are involved in the evolution of crops that are under domestication, the types of mutations that occur during this process and the parallelism of mutations that occur in the same pathways and proteins, as well as the selective forces that are acting on these mutations and that are associated with geographical adaptation of crop species.

more...
Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, November 20, 2013 4:40 AM

A nice review on the current genetics of parallel and convergent evolution of domestication traits.

Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

La question de l’identification du blé vêtu : « Hulled wheat workshop » à Jalès | ArchéOrient – Le Blog

La question de l’identification du blé vêtu : « Hulled wheat workshop » à Jalès | ArchéOrient – Le Blog | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
L’objectif de la rencontre « Hulled wheat workshop », qui s’est tenue du 16 au 20 septembre 2013 à l’antenne d’A...
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

A small, elite gathering to discuss and debate the continuing challenge of hulled wheat identifications, which is very important for recognition of number of "lost crops" of the early Near Eastern Neolithic, such as striate emmeroid and 2-grained einkorn. Here is a summary (in French) from the convener George Willcox.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

Contrasts in the large herbivore faunas of the southern continents in the late Pleistocene and the ecological implications for human origins - Owen-Smith - 2013 - Journal of Biogeography - Wiley On...

Contrasts in the large herbivore faunas of the southern continents in the late Pleistocene and the ecological implications for human origins - Owen-Smith - 2013 - Journal of Biogeography - Wiley On... | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

The Archaeobotanist: The eastern fertile crescent returns

The Archaeobotanist: The eastern fertile crescent returns | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

The recent paper in Science by Riehl et al. on the evidence for Chogah Golan has rightly garnerd wide attention (e.g. Science news; commentary by Willcox). This is a highly significant paper, which shows that the beginnings of cultivation were indeed mutlicentric within the fertile ccrescent, and it suggests that there was an independent domestication process for emmer wheat in the eastern fertile crescent in addition to that in the western fertile crescent.

 

Are there surprises? Yes. The big surprise here is the emmer wheat domestication, as many have argued on biogeographical and modern genetic grounds that there should have been and eastern and western barley domestication, but this has been little considered for wheat. 

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

my quick digestion of, digression from, the recent Science paper by Riehl, et al.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

High-quality reference genes for quantifying the transcriptional responses of Oryza sativa L. (ssp. indica and japonica) to abiotic stress conditions - Springer

High-quality reference genes for quantifying the transcriptional responses of Oryza sativa L. (ssp. indica and japonica) to abiotic stress conditions - Springer | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is important to food security and is also an excellent model plant for numerous cereal crops. A functional genomics study in rice includes characterization of the expression dynamics of genes by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) analysis; this is a significant key for developing rice varieties that perform well in the face of adverse climate change. The qPCR analysis requires the use of appropriate reference genes in order to make any quantitative interpretations meaningful. Here, the new potential reference genes were selected from a huge public database of rice microarray experiments. The expression stability of 14 candidates and 4 conventional reference genes was validated by geNormPLUS and NormFinder software. Seven candidates are superior to the conventionally used reference genes in qPCR and three genes can be used reliably for quantitating the expression of genes involved in abiotic stress responses. These high-quality references EP (LOC_Os05g08980), HNR (LOC_Os01g71770), and TBC(LOC_Os09g34040) worked very well in three indica genotypes and one japonica genotype. One ofindica genotypes including the Jasmine rice, KDML105 developed in Thailand for which no reference genes have been reported until now.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

Bioarcheology and Climate Change: A View from South Asian Prehistory. Edited by Gwen Robbins Schug. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida. 2011. 180 pp. ISBN 978-0-8130-3667-0. $79.95 (hardc...

Bioarcheology and Climate Change: A View from South Asian Prehistory. Edited by Gwen Robbins Schug. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida. 2011. 180 pp. ISBN 978-0-8130-3667-0. $79.95 (hardc... | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

new book review.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

Leicester Research Archive: Iron Age and Roman Arable Practice in the East of England

This thesis provides an interpretation of Iron Age and Roman arable practice in the East of England, using data on carbonised plant macrofossils recovered during excavation as its primary data. Choice of crop, strategies employed in cultivation, and the ways in which crops were processed, stored and utilised are explored and linked to wider social and economic changes over time. Spelt and barley are confirmed as the major crops of the region/period, with localised emmer cultivation well attested in the Middle Iron Age; bread wheat cultivation was rare. Investment of sufficient labour/resources to maintain reasonable crop-yields is revealed as the normal attitude to cultivation throughout the region and period. Small-scale handling of crops was the norm until the Middle Roman period, when increased scale of production, along with malting, use of chaff as fuel, and concern with efficiency of crop-storage/transport suggest a switch from subsistence production to participation in a more market-oriented economy. Middle Iron Age emmer cultivation (alongside spelt) and investment in large-scale production indicate surplus production on the Isle of Ely, suggested to have been enabled by inter-settlement co-operation or exchange of labour for grain by settlements pursuing other economic strategies. Middle Iron Age hillforts are suggested to have had a role similar to that of the classic Wessex examples. Roman small towns are suggested to have been partly self-sufficient, but households are also thought to have imported some (semi-processed) grain. By contrast, clean grain was supplied in bulk to Early Roman Colchester through large-scale local cultivation. The Middle Roman surge in production is suggested to have met the demands (rent, taxation) of new systems of land ownership, but also to have contributed to supplying townspeople and/or the army in the region and beyond.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

archaeobotanical phd available in PDF.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

Wadi Hammeh 27, an Early Natufian Settlement at Pella in Jordan

Wadi Hammeh 27, an Early Natufian Settlement at Pella in Jordan | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

PHILLIP C. EDWARDS Wadi Hammeh 27, an Early Natufian Settlement at Pella in Jordan. Culture and History of the Ancient Near East, 2013

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Mongraph on an important Natufian site is now published and a a few preview pages can be seen on-line. It details the sites and artefacts. It does not include the small byt tantalizing Natufian plant assemblage, for which one shoud refe to the 2001 BAR volume by Sue Colledge: Plant Exploitation on Epipalaeolithic and Early Neolithic Sites in the Levant. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

A day in the life of an Ubaid household: archaeobotanical investigations at Kenan Tepe, south-eastern Turkey

A day in the life of an Ubaid household: archaeobotanical investigations at Kenan Tepe, south-eastern Turkey | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Antiquity Vol 87:336, 2013 pp 405-417 - Philip J. Graham and Alexia Smith -- The Ubaid period in south-west Asia constitutes a key period of social and political change anticipating the emergence of complex societies in the following millennium. Well-preserved archaeobotanical assemblages have enormous potential to document these changes at both the site and individual household levels. The conflagration that consumed Structure 4 at the Ubaid settlement of Kenan Tepe in south-eastern Turkey provides a case study through the analysis of almost 70 000 charred macrobotanical remains. The results suggest that labour may have been pooled between households to process emmer wheat to spikelet stage after harvesting. Final processing was conducted on the roof of the house by members of the individual household as need arose. The pooling of resources may reflect the intensification of production and the emergence of elites during the Ubaid period in this region.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Ubaidy, ubaidy! And they burnt the store house down. Nice spatial analysis of archaeobotanical evidence and the social interpretation of crop-processing patterns (a la Stevens 2003).

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

Agricultural innovation to protect the environment

Agricultural innovation to protect the environment | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

In a world of 9.5 billion people, global demand for food, fiber, and biofuels has to be met with minimal possible increases in land, water, fossil fuels, and the minerals used to produce fertilizers. The problem is debated at three levels: first, that agriculture will not be able to produce enough because it will come up against both biophysical and environmental limits that restrict yields; second, that the need to expand and intensify agriculture will destroy the broader environmental values of forests, wetlands, marine systems, and their associated biodiversity; and third, that there are institutional obstacles to the diffusion and adoption of the innovations that could solve these problems.

Although there is debate on these issues, there is also strong consensus that we are witnessing unprecedented changes in our major agricultural systems. Major shifts are occurring in the way food and other agricultural commodities are produced, in the scale at which this happens, in the geographical locations of agriculture, and perhaps most notable, the agencies and actors driving these processes. Growth in demand for agricultural products will mainly occur in markets of emerging economies, particularly in the most populous countries of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, the ways in which China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and South Africa respond to growing food demand will be major determinants of environmental change at a global scale.

The papers in this special feature of PNAS highlight innovations in agriculture that could contribute to producing more food without increasing environmental pressures. The papers are based on some of the more exciting ideas that emerged from a forum in Beijing in October 2011 that brought together agricultural and environmental scientists from China with their peers from the rest of the world.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Dorian Q Fuller from Rice origins and cultural history
Scoop.it!

Archaeobotanical implications of phytolith assemblages from cultivated rice systems, wild rice stands and macro-regional patterns

Archaeobotanical implications of phytolith assemblages from cultivated rice systems, wild rice stands and macro-regional patterns | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Rice can be cultivated in a range of arable systems, including upland rainfed, lowland rainfed or irrigated, flooded or décrue, and deep water cultivation. These agricultural regimes represent ecosystems controlled to large degree by agricultural practices, and can be shown to produce different weed flora assemblages. In order to reconstruct early rice cultivation systems it is necessary to better establish how ancient rice farming practices may be seen using archaeobotanical data. This paper focuses on using modern analogue phytolith assemblages of associated crop weeds found within cultivation regimes, as well as in wild rice stands (unplanted stands of Oryza nivara or O. rufipogon), as a means of interpreting archaeobotanical assemblages. Rice weeds and sediment samples have been recorded and collected from a range of arable systems and wild stands in India. The husks, leaves and culms of associated weeds were processed for phytolith reference samples, and sediment samples were processed for phytoliths in order to establish patterns identifiable to specific systems. The preliminary results of the phytolith analysis of samples from these modern fields demonstrate that phytolith assemblage statistics show correlation with variation in rice cultivation systems on the basis of differences in environmental conditions and regimes, with wetness being one major factor. Analysis of phytoliths from archaeological samples from contrasting systems in Neolithic China and India demonstrate how this method can be applied to separate archaeological regions and periods based on inferred differences in past agricultural practices, identifying wet cultivation systems in China, dry millet-dominated agriculture of north China and rainfed/dry rice in Neolithic India.

more...
Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, May 17, 2013 4:15 AM

We present a new methodology for identifying ancient rice arable systems.

We create modern analogues of phytolith assemblages of rice weeds from modern fields.

These analogues are used as models to understand archaeobotanical samples.

We present an analysis of different systems from Neolithic India and China.

More studiies applying and improving on this study are underway now as part of the rice project, which recieved further NERC support: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/calendar/articles/20130509b

Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, May 17, 2013 4:15 AM

next we will be expanding on this sort of analysis in the Lower Yangtze...watch this space.

Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

Ancient Maya wood selection and forest exploitation: A view from the Paynes Creek salt works, Belize

Ancient Maya wood selection and forest exploitation: A view from the Paynes Creek salt works, Belize | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Early and Late Classic construction wood is identified from salt works in southern Belize.

• Avicennia germminans dominates the Early Classic assemblage.

• The broadleaf species, Symplocos martinicensis, dominates the Late Classic assemblage.

• Results conform to principles of optimal foraging

• Forest resources were overexploited resulting in deforestation and a change in wood selection

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Dorian Q Fuller from Indian Ocean Archaeology
Scoop.it!

Trends in Genetics - Genetic tracking of mice and other bioproxies to infer human history

Trends in Genetics - Genetic tracking of mice and other bioproxies to infer human history | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

The long-distance movements made by humans through history are quickly erased by time but can be reconstructed by studying the genetic make-up of organisms that travelled with them. The phylogeography of the western house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus), whose current widespread distribution around the world has been caused directly by the movements of (primarily) European people, has proved particularly informative in a series of recent studies. The geographic distributions of genetic lineages in this commensal have been linked to the Iron Age movements within the Mediterranean region and Western Europe, the extensive maritime activities of the Vikings in the 9th to 11th centuries, and the colonisation of distant landmasses and islands by the Western European nations starting in the 15th century. We review here recent insights into human history based on phylogeographic studies of mice and other species that have travelled with humans, and discuss how emerging genomic methodologies will increase the precision of these inferences.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

So here is a conundrum. The house mouse is an indicator of early sedentism, or at least permanent grain stores associated with early cultivation of the PPNA and PPNB. It goes with early Neolithic settlers to Cyprus. It does not, however, appear to spread to Europe in the Neolithic, and indeed European lineages are thought to track Iron Age trade expansion in the Mediterranena. . .

more...
Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, May 7, 2013 9:21 AM

A nice review on the house mouse, with mention of other small commensals. While the case study focus is on European spreads, it also discusses the Indian Ocean and Madagascar.

Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

The Archaeobotanist: Origins of Rice Podcasts

The Archaeobotanist: Origins of Rice Podcasts | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Link to recent IRRI radio (Rice Today) interview on the archaeobotany of rice origins (with yours trully)

more...
Eve Emshwiller's curator insight, December 14, 2013 9:12 PM

Nice podcasts about domestication of rice, featuring both Dorian Fuller (archaeological studies) and Susan McCouch (molecular studies).  

Rescooped by Dorian Q Fuller from Kaogu
Scoop.it!

The origins of wheat in China and potential pathways for its introduction: A review

The origins of wheat in China and potential pathways for its introduction: A review | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Today in China, hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum – common wheat or bread wheat) is one of the major staple food crops. The other key cereal staples – rice, foxtail millet and broomcorn millet – are widely accepted as Chinese domesticates, but the origins of wheat cultivation in China are the subject of debate. There has long been a belief among Chinese scholars that China was an independent centre of wheat domestication, but recent scholarship suggests that cultivated wheat was introduced to China from its original site of domestication in the Near East. The precise path of entry is unknown. It is argued here that it is most likely to have been introduced at some time around the late 6th to early 5th millennium BP. Two hypotheses are presented. One hypothesis, supported primarily by the paleobotanical evidence, postulates that T. aestivum came in from the west, through northern Xinjiang, probably from Afghanistan or the Central Asian oases rather than the Eurasian steppes. The second, supported by the available archaeological evidence, proposes that the route of entry might have been from the north-west, from Eurasia, through southern Siberia and Mongolia.

more...
Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, September 1, 2013 3:47 AM

Another attempt to make sense of the esrly wheat finds in China, in this case in terms of hypotheses for routes of introduction. There is a preference in this paper from a route from southern central Asia via Xinjiang, with the case made that the lack of early finds in Xinjiang is due to a lack of archaeobotanical sampling. An introduction from Sibera/Mongolia directly to Gansu is also entertained as a second possibility.

Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

Scanning Electron and Optical Light Microscopy: two complementary approaches for the understanding and interpretation of usewear and residues on stone tools

Scanning Electron and Optical Light Microscopy: two complementary approaches for the understanding and interpretation of usewear and residues on stone tools | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Usewear analysis is now well established as a powerful means by which to identify the function of stone tools excavated from archaeological sites. However, one of the main issues for usewear analysts is still to provide quantified analyses and interpretations. Several attempts have yielded promising results but have not, as of yet, been widely applied and usewear analyses are still mainly performed using either Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) or Optical Light Microscopy (OLM). The systematic comparison of micrographs from both types of microscope presented here enables us to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each system. Furthermore, it shows beginners or experts using only one type of microscope that these techniques are complementary and should be considered as such. It also represents a significant basis for developing the implementation of quantitative methods for usewear analysis with SEM and OLM.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Looks like some promising methodological developments in this often problematic field, which can contribute to a more integrated view on past plant use

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

Agriculture's roots spread east to Iran | Humans | Science News

Agriculture's roots spread east to Iran | Humans | Science News | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Agriculture originated across a broader swath of southwestern Asia’s Fertile Crescent, and over a longer time period, than many scientists have thought, excavations in western Iran suggest.

Between 11,700 and 9,800 years ago, residents of Chogha Golan, a settlement in the foothills of Iran’s Zagros Mountains, went from cultivating wild ancestors of modern crops to growing a form of domesticated wheat called emmer, say archaeobotanist Simone Riehl of the University of Tübingen, Germany, and her colleagues. Until now, most evidence of farming’s origins came from sites 700 to 1,500 kilometers west of Chogha Golan, the scientists report in the July 5Science.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

Patterns and processes in crop domestication: a historical review and quantitative analysis of 203 global food crops

Domesticated food crops are derived from a phylogenetically diverse assemblage of wild ancestors through artificial selection for different traits. Our understanding of domestication, however, is based upon a subset of well-studied “model” crops, many of them from the Poaceae family. We investigate domestication traits and theories using a broader range of crops. We reviewed domestication information (e.g., center of domestication, plant traits, wild ancestors, domestication dates, domestication traits, early and current uses) for 203 major and minor food crops. Compiled data were used to test classic and contemporary theories in crop domestication. Many typical features of domestication associated with model crops, including changes in ploidy level, loss of shattering, multiple origins, and domestication outside the native range, are less common within this broader dataset. In addition, there are strong spatial and temporal trends in our dataset. The overall time required to domesticate a species has decreased since the earliest domestication events. The frequencies of some domestication syndrome traits (e.g., non-shattering) have decreased over time, while others (e.g., changes to secondary metabolites) have increased. We discuss the influences of the ecological, evolutionary, cultural and technological factors that make domestication a dynamic and ongoing process.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Access to this recent Tansley review article with an updated database of references and info on 203 crops

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

The Onset of the Anthropocene

A number of different starting dates for the Anthropocene Epoch have been proposed, reflecting different disciplinary perspectives and criteria regarding when human societies first began to play a significant role in shaping the earth's ecosystems. In this article these various proposed dates for the onset of the Anthropocene are briefly discussed, along with the data sets and standards on which they are based. An alternative approach to identifying the onset of the Anthropocene is then outlined. Rather than focusing on different markers of human environmental impact in identifying when the Anthropocene begins, this alternative approach employs Niche Construction Theory (NCT) to consider the temporal, environmental and cultural contexts for the initial development of the human behavior sets that enabled human societies to modify species and ecosystems more to their liking. The initial domestication of plants and animals, and the development of agricultural economies and landscapes are identified as marking the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch. Since this transition to food production occurred immediately following the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary, the Anthropocene can be considered as being coeval with the Holocene, resolving the contentious “golden spike” debate over whether existing standards can be satisfied for recognition of a new geological epoch.

  
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

An important archaeological contribution on discussions of the "Used Planet" topic. I agree with the importance of the shift in human behaviour early in the Holocene, although I would diagree with using this to redifeine the Holocene as the "Anthropocene" as there is an issue of scale of impact, and the human committment to agricultural systems, which developed monly from the middle to late Holocene or, so. (see, also blog: http://archaeobotanist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/used-planet.html ;)

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Dorian Q Fuller from Kaogu
Scoop.it!

Origin and spread of wheat in China

Origin and spread of wheat in China | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Wheat was added as a new crop to the existing millet and rice based agricultural systems of China. Here we present 35 radiocarbon ages from wheat seeds collected from 18 sites between western (Xinjiang Province) and eastern (Henan Province) China. The earliest wheat ages cluster around 2100–1800 BCE in northern China's Hexi corridor of Gansu Province, where millet was already a well-established crop. Wheat first appears in Xinjiang and Henan about 300–400 years later, and perhaps a little earlier than this in Xinjiang, and we hypothesize that the likely route of wheat into China was via Russia through Gansu.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Contrary to the author's conclusion, however, it seems a bit of a stretch to see a transition to from millet to wheat at 2000 BC (which they try to attribute to climatic change), as wheat did not become really significant agriculturally until perhaps the Han Dyansty. Given aridification ~2000 BC, millets would have been far better, drought-tolerant crops to stick with. The adoption of wheat, instead, needs to be seen in terms of social drivers for the adoption of the exotic.

more...
Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, June 10, 2013 8:53 AM

This paper reports 35 direct AMS dates on archaeological wheat collected along ther Gansu corridor into central China. It corroborates the conclusions reasched by Flad et al (2010):http://archaeobotanist.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/arrival-of-wheat-in-china.html, and the low quantities of wheat underline its minor dietary role when first introduced (as argued recently by Boivin et al 2012: http://archaeobotanist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/unravelling-agricultural-packages.html). It may still be the case the Zhaojiazhuang has earlier wheat by a couple of hundred years...

Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

Early Pig Management in the Zagros Flanks: Reanalysis of the Fauna from Neolithic Jarmo, Northern Iraq - Price - 2013 - International Journal of Osteoarchaeology - Wiley Online Library

Early Pig Management in the Zagros Flanks: Reanalysis of the Fauna from Neolithic Jarmo, Northern Iraq - Price - 2013 - International Journal of Osteoarchaeology - Wiley Online Library | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

In this paper, we present a reanalysis of pig (Sus scrofa) remains from the Neolithic site of Qalat Jarmo, originally excavated in the 1940s and 1950s. Employing modern zooarchaeological techniques, not available during the initial analyses, we explore the nature of swine exploitation strategies and demonstrate that pigs were most likely managed by the early 7th millennium (Pottery Neolithic) and perhaps earlier. Comparing biometric data with those from other sites in the region, we show that the Jarmo pigs exhibit evidence for size decrease associated with intensive management, but had not yet achieved the degree of dental or post-cranial size reduction seen in later Neolithic domestic populations. Although samples from the earliest (Pre-Pottery) occupation of the site are small, there is some evidence to suggest that domestic pigs were present at Jarmo as early as the late 8th millennium cal. bc. In either case, Jarmo likely represents the earliest appearance of pig husbandry along the Zagros flanks, and we discuss the mechanisms by which Neolithic technologies, including domesticated animals, spread to new regions. This project emphasises the value of curated faunal assemblages in shedding new light on the spread of Neolithic economies

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Useful reanalysis of old collections, of the Jarmo pigs. Questionmarks remain over whether the earliest Jarmo pigs of the M/L PPNB, >7000 BC, were herded, but it is clear that by the upper Jarmo ceracmi Neolithic they were an important domesticate.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

Donkey Domestication - Springer

Donkey Domestication - Springer | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Donkeys are one of the least studied large domestic animals, even though they are economically important in many regions of the world. They are predominantly used as transport animals. Consequently, they are not kept in large numbers and this limits the number of archaeological specimens available for study. The donkey’s closest relative is the African wild ass, and genetic studies and zooarchaeological analyses of early donkeys indicate domestication of two genetically separate groups of wild asses in Africa. Maternal relationships revealed by mitochondrial DNA show that one group of donkeys was derived from the Nubian wild ass and that one was derived from an unknown ancestor distinct from the Somali wild ass.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Donkey's are undoubtedly one of the most important domesticates from Africa, but less well-documented then cattle or many crops, as they have rarely been food sources. This article provides updated review of the archaeology and genetics of donkey, including some ancient DNA evidence such as Uan Muhhgiag donkeys from prehistoric Libya. Of interest is the argument that reports of "wild" donkeys in the Levant or Arabia, such as the quantities from Ash-Shumah in Yemen, are early domesticates and not endemic wild populations. If this is the case then it would put donkey herding back to the early Holocene before 6000 BC, putting them in competition of Bos africanus for the earliest African domesticates [excluding Pleistocene bottlegourds]. Alternatively, as mapped in Boivin & Fuller (2009 in J. of World Prehistory) we extend the map of wild donkeys through the Sinia and down the west coast of Arabia to make the Ash-Shumah remains those of hunted wild animals. The latter would open the possibility of southern Levant donkey domestication. The current review by Kimura, Marshall and colleagues makes an interesting but inconclusive case against this. (Historical linguistic evidence does tend to point to African domestication among Afroasiatic/Cushitic sub-groups). As this paper concludes there is a need for more targetted research on donkeys!

more...
Rescooped by Dorian Q Fuller from pathogens
Scoop.it!

PLOS Genetics: The Genomic Signature of Crop-Wild Introgression in Maize

PLOS Genetics: The Genomic Signature of Crop-Wild Introgression in Maize | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

From the abstract... "We found evidence suggestive of the incorporation of adaptive Zea mays ssp mexicana [aka teosinte] alleles into maize during its expansion to the highlands of central Mexico. In contrast, very little evidence was found for adaptive introgression from maize to mexicana."


Via Mary Williams, Ricardo Oliva
more...
Mary Williams's curator insight, May 10, 2013 4:33 AM

Very nice study of gene flow between a domesticated crop and its wild, conspecific relative, and its evolutionary and ecological implications.

Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

JSTOR: Current Anthropology, Vol. 54, No. 3 (June 2013), pp. 299-345

JSTOR: Current Anthropology, Vol. 54, No. 3 (June 2013), pp. 299-345 | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

The scale and nature of early cultivation are topics that have received relatively limited attention in research on the origins of agriculture. In Southwest Asia, one the earliest centers of origin worldwide, the transition to food production is commonly portrayed as a macroevolutionary process from hunter-gatherer through to cultivator-forager and farming stages. Climate change, resource intensification, sedentism, rising population densities, and increasing social complexity are widely considered by prehistorians as pivotal to the emergence of protoagricultural village life. In this paper we revisit these narratives that have been influenced by culture-history and social evolution, together forming the dominant theoretical paradigms in the prehistory of Southwest Asia. We propose a complementary contextual approach seeking to reconstruct the historical development of Early Holocene plant-food production and its manifold sociocultural environments by intersecting multiple lines of evidence on the biology of plant domestication, resource management strategies, settlement patterns, cultivation and harvesting technologies, food storage, processing and consumption, ritual practices and symbolic behaviors. Furthermore, we propose that early plant-food production in Southwest Asia should be dissociated from ethnographically derived notions of sedentary village life. Plants emerge as important components of community interactions and ritual performances involving suprahousehold groups that were mediated through communal food consumption.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Here we argue that the Neolithic is a non-analogue society, i.e. it cannot be closely paralled easily or directly by anything we know from ethnography. This article also provides an up-to-date comprehensive review of the archaeobotanical evidence from the Fertyile Crescent from the PPNA to the middle PPNB, and taking the best site datasets, looks at the placement of plant processing behaviours on those sites in relation to social contexts of consumption, possibilities of periodic mobility.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Dorian Q Fuller
Scoop.it!

A Middle Neolithic Well from Northern Germany: A Precise Source to Reconstruct Water Supply Management, Subsistence Economy, and Deposition P...

A Middle Neolithic Well from Northern Germany: A Precise Source to Reconstruct Water Supply Management, Subsistence Economy, and Deposition P... | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Wells constitute a seldom, but important archive particularly as a source for reconstructing prehistoric economy. For the newly discovered Middle Neolithic well of the Funnel Beaker North Group at the domestic site of Oldenburg-Dannau LA77 (North Germany), a deposition of settlement refuse in a former well was documented. Due to depositional processes, the remains provided a detailed palaeo-ecological and archaeological archive for a short time-span around 3050 cal BC. The integration of wells in Middle Neolithic water management strategies, the high value of cereal production - including cereal threshing in the settlement and the documentation of a large number of querns - as well as the early management of ”fruit gardens” were reconstructed. Subsequently, the probabilities of profane versus ritual social praxis associated with the depositional process were discussed.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Includes a nuce assemblage of Neolithic cereal cultivation along side wide gathering of hazelnuts, trapa and crab apples. Although the authors suggest the hypothesis that these apples might have been cultivated. High levels of Chenopodium are also intriguing as another potentual food.

more...
No comment yet.