Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

http://link.springer.com/journal/334

List of Papers (Total 93)

Dung burning in the archaeobotanical record of West Asia: where are we now?

In the early 1980s Naomi Miller changed the field of palaeoethnobotany; her research into whether the ancient seed eaters of southwest Asia were human or herbivore opened an ongoing debate over the impact that burning of animal dung had on the formation of archaeobotanical assemblages, and how researchers can differentiate between human and animal food remains. As the number of...

Holocene vegetation history of the southern Levant based on a pollen record from Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), Israel

Lake Kinneret, also known as the Sea of Galilee and Lake Tiberias, is located in the northeast of Israel. At a lake level of 211 m b.s.l. (below mean sea level), the central basin is 43 m deep. The maximum length of the lake is 21 km (N–S) and its maximum width is 12 km (W–E). Lake Kinneret’s surface area is 166 km2. A new 17.8 m long sedimentary core was drilled in 2010. Here...

Long and attenuated: comparative trends in the domestication of tree fruits

This paper asks whether we can identify a recurrent domestication syndrome for tree crops (fruits, nuts) and track archaeologically the evolution of domestication of fruits from woody perennials. While archaeobotany has made major contributions to documenting the domestication process in cereals and other annual grains, long-lived perennials have received less comparative...

Buckwheat: a crop from outside the major Chinese domestication centres? A review of the archaeobotanical, palynological and genetic evidence

The two cultivated species of buckwheat, Fagopyrum esculentum (common buckwheat) and F. tataricum (Tartary buckwheat) are Chinese domesticates whose origins are usually thought to lie in upland southwestern China, outside the major centres of agricultural origins associated with rice and millet. Synthesis of the macro- and microfossil evidence for buckwheat cultivation in China...

On the history of Brasenia Schreb. in the European Pleistocene

Brasenia Schreb. is a monotypic genus in the Cabombaceae, present nowadays on all continents except Europe and Antarctica. This thermophilous aquatic plant, which originated in the Tertiary, was a frequent element of aquatic plant life during the interglacial stages of the European Pleistocene. A systematic review of the palaeobotanical records of Brasenia pollen and seeds...

Trees and shrubs used in medieval Poland for making everyday objects

This article presents the results of the wood identification of 3,867 everyday objects dated from the 9th to the 15th century ad, which were excavated from 48 medieval strongholds and early urban centres in Poland. The analyses have shown that medieval craftsmen used the wood of 27 tree and shrub taxa. The timber used the most was Pinus sylvestris (pine), Quercus sp. (oak...

Pollen-vegetation richness and diversity relationships in the tropics

Tracking changes in biodiversity through time requires an understanding of the relationship between modern diversity and how this diversity is preserved in the fossil record. Fossil pollen is one way in which past vegetation diversity can be reconstructed. However, there is limited understanding of modern pollen-vegetation diversity relationships from biodiverse tropical...

Relative pollen productivity estimates for major plant taxa of cultural landscapes in central eastern China

In this study we estimate relative pollen productivity (RPP) for plant taxa characteristic of human-induced vegetation in ancient cultural landscapes of the low mountain ranges of Shandong province in eastern temperate China. RPP estimates are required to achieve pollen-based reconstructions of Holocene plant cover using modelling approaches based on Prentice’s and Sugita’s...

Barley grain at Uppåkra, Sweden: evidence for selection in the Iron Age

A metric analysis on hulled barley grain from the Iron Age regional centre of Uppåkra and surrounding sites in southern Sweden has identified a variation in the size of the grain found on these archaeological sites. Large, high-quality grain was found more frequently at Uppåkra when compared to sites in the surrounding area, where smaller grain was more frequent. The observed...

Pollen, women, war and other things: reflections on the history of palynology

The development of palynology since its recognised launch in 1916 by Lennart von Post is examined in terms of its historiography, the biographies of pollen analysts and the role of those who have influenced the discipline. Emphasis is placed upon research beginnings in Scandinavia (especially Sweden), Great Britain and Ireland. Within an analytical narrative which includes...

Four points on Lennart von Post and the invention of “Pollen Statistics”

This essay is a contribution to the historiography of Lennart von Post and the early development of quantitative pollen analysis. Based on von Post’s own publications and source material from the archives of Stockholm University College, where he was appointed professor in 1929, the essay offers four points on von Post’s scientific identity and the collective work through which...

Palaeo-ecological and archaeological analysis of two Dutch Celtic fields (Zeijen-Noordse Veld and Wekerom-Lunteren): solving the puzzle of local Celtic field bank formation

Celtic fields are the best preserved and most widely distributed type of prehistoric agricultural landscape in the Netherlands, and occur throughout north-western Europe. In this contribution, data from two excavated Dutch Celtic fields are used to explain the process of bank formation and to unravel the agricultural regime of Celtic fields. To this end, traditional...

Environmental context and the role of plants at the early medieval artificial island in the lake Paklicko Wielkie, Nowy Dworek, western Poland

This paper reports the archaeobotanical investigation of the early medieval lake site near Nowy Dworek, in the west of Poland, focussing on the role of plants on and around the site. The construction of a small, artificial island in a lake similar to Irish crannogs, traces of a wooden bridge and archaeological artefacts all indicate that the site was a special place for the local...

Evidence for rare crop weeds of the Caucalidion group in Southwestern Germany since the Bronze Age: palaeoecological implications

The crop weed communities of dry calcareous soils are today very rare and endangered. In the first half of the 20th century this group was already in an advanced stage of disappearance, caused by the intensification of agriculture since the 19th century. Therefore, botanists only found these plants in a few regions with calcareous soils, obviously reflecting the geological...

A methodological approach to the study of archaeological cereal meals: a case study at Çatalhöyük East (Turkey)

This paper presents an integrated methodology for the analysis of archaeological remains of cereal meals, based on scanning electronic microscopic analyses of microstructures of charred food fragments from Neolithic Çatalhöyük (Turkey). The remains of cereal foods as ‘bread-like’ or ‘porridge-like’ small charred lumps of various amalgamated plant materials are frequently...

Neolithic land use in the northern Boreal zone: high-resolution multiproxy analyses from Lake Huhdasjärvi, south-eastern Finland

Two high-resolution pollen and charcoal analyses were constructed from sediments obtained from a small bay in eastern Finland in order to gain information on human activity during the Neolithic Stone Age, 5200–1800 bc. We used measurements of loss on ignition (LOI), magnetic susceptibility and geochemical analyses to describe the sedimentological characteristics. Palaeomagnetic...

High-resolution palynology reveals the land use history of a Sami renvall in northern Sweden

The limited availability of historical and archaeological evidence means that much is still unknown about the development of Sami reindeer herding in Fennoscandia in both the recent and more distant past. To address this problem, high-resolution palynological analyses, 14C and 210Pb dating were undertaken on two adjacent (<25 m apart) peat profiles collected at a recently...

Cereal cultivation from the Iron Age to historical times: evidence from inland and coastal settlements in northernmost Fennoscandia

For several decades researchers have debated when cereal cultivation was introduced to northernmost Europe. Most previous studies have concentrated on sites along the coast or close to major rivers; these are areas well-suited to agriculture and represent routes for people and knowledge transfer, but omit other vast areas suitable for cultivation and sedentary settlement. Here...

From wetland to commercial centre: the natural history of Wyspa Spichrzów (“Granary Island”) in medieval Gdańsk, northern Poland

This paper describes the analyses of pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, macroremains and geochemistry in sediments from archaeological excavations at Wyspa Spichrzów (“Granary Island”) in Gdańsk, northern Poland. The aim of this study was to reconstruct the environmental conditions in this part of the town in the period preceding its occupation and during its transformation with...

Exploring Indus crop processing: combining phytolith and macrobotanical analyses to consider the organisation of agriculture in northwest India c. 3200–1500 bc

This paper presents a preliminary study combining macrobotanical and phytolith analyses to explore crop processing at archaeological sites in Haryana and Rajasthan, northwest India. Current understanding of the agricultural strategies in use by populations associated with South Asia’s Indus Civilisation (3200–1900 bc) has been derived from a small number of systematic...

Determining the responses of vegetation to natural processes and human impacts in north-eastern Poland during the last millennium: combined pollen, geochemical and historical data

Pollen, charcoal and geochemical investigations were carried out on annually laminated sediments of Lake Żabińskie (54°07′54.5″N; 21°59′01.1″E) and the results were combined with historical and climate data to better understand the mechanism behind plant cover transformations. A millennium-long record of environmental history at 6-years time resolution permitted an assessment of...