Identification and exploitation of wild rye (Secale spp.) during the early Neolithic in the Middle Euphrates valley - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Vegetation History and Archaeobotany Year : 2023

Identification and exploitation of wild rye (Secale spp.) during the early Neolithic in the Middle Euphrates valley

Abstract

Abstract Charred remains of wild rye from five sites in the Middle Euphrates region in Syria dated to the end of the Pleistocene and the beginning of the Holocene are examined. This period spans the transition from gathering to the beginnings of cultivation. Today wild rye cannot grow in the region because temperatures and aridity are too pronounced. Wild rye grains and wild two-grained einkorn are morphologically similar, which has led to difficulties in identification; in some cases rye may have been identified as two-grained einkorn or as Triticum/Secale . In this paper, with reference to modern specimens and re-examination of charred material from Dja’de el-Mughara, Jerf el-Ahmar and Mureybet, we examine the criteria for identification and revise the results for charred caryopses and wild spikelet bases. We then present these new results which show that at the early Neolithic sites of Jerf el-Ahmar, Mureybet, Dja’de el-Mughara and Tell ‘Abr 3 wild rye frequencies are much higher than einkorn but wild barley is the dominant cereal. This is followed by discussions of how and why wild rye may have been exploited during the early Neolithic and why rye disappears from Euphrates sites with the advent of mixed farming.
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Dates and versions

hal-04050161 , version 1 (07-02-2024)

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Carolyne Douché, George Willcox. Identification and exploitation of wild rye (Secale spp.) during the early Neolithic in the Middle Euphrates valley. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 2023, ⟨10.1007/s00334-023-00906-4⟩. ⟨hal-04050161⟩
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