Turkish Journal of BotanyPrehistoric and Medieval Plant Remains from Two Sites on the Euphrates, South-eastern Turkey
Hacettepe University, Department of Biology, 06800 Beytepe, Ankara - TURKEY
Abstract: The results of the archaeobotanical examination of 2 sites, namely Mezraa Höyük and Gre Virike, on the Euphrates in the Karkamış (Carchemish) area, near Birecik (Şanlıurfa) in south-east Turkey are given. The cultural levels that yielded carbonised plant remains date from the Early Bronze Age (3000-2000 BC), Middle Bronze Age (2000-1500 BC) and Medieval period (11th - 13th centuries AD). The plant assortment in the Bronze Age did not differ essentially from that during the Medieval period. The major crop plant of the farmers was Hordeum L. (barley, hulled). Other cereal crops included Triticum dicoccum Schübl. (emmer wheat), T. monococcum L. (einkorn wheat) and T. aestivum L./T. durum Desf. (bread wheat/macaroni wheat) (naked wheat). The latest became important and replaced the hulled wheats in Medieval times. Hulled barley was also favoured by the visitors to Gre Virike, which was used as a common sanctuary of the Karkamış area in the Early Bronze Age, in ritual ceremonies and probably in food preparation. Domesticated legumes recorded in the study area are Lens culinaris Medik. (lentil), Lathyrus sativus L./L. cicera L. (grass pea) and Pisum sativum L. (garden pea), Vicia ervilia (L.) Willd. (bitter vetch) and Cicer arietinum L. (chickpea). The legumes played a minor part in plant husbandry. Vitis vinifera L. (grape) would have been grown, but Olea europaea L. (olive) was probably imported. A single fruit remain of Coriandrum sativum L. (coriander) found at Medieval Mezraa Höyük is recorded as a condiment. The plants of grazing lands, including Trifolium L. (clover), are associated with animal husbandry. Weed seeds, such as Aegilops L. (goat grass), Galium L. (bedstraw) and Lolium L. (rye grass), provided information on crop field weeds of both Bronze Age and Medieval times.
Key Words: Prehistoric, Medieval, plant remains, the Euphrates, Turkey
Turk. J. Bot., 30, (2006), 11-38.
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Other articles published in the same issue: Turk. J. Bot.,vol.30,iss.1.