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Archaeobotanical data and crop storage evidence from an early Bronze Age 2 burnt house at Arslantepe, Malatya, Turkey

Sadori, Laura, Susanna, Francesca, Persiani, Carlo
Vegetation history and archaeobotany 2006 v.15 no.3 pp. 205-215
Cicer, Hordeum, Populus, Quercus, barley, charcoal, chickpeas, crops, fires, food processing, fruits, furniture, grinding, jars, landscapes, seeds, terraces, villages, wood, Turkey (country)
Excavations on the southwest area at Arslantepe, Malatya, Turkey, by far the largest tell on the Malatya plain from the 5th millennium to the Neo-Hittite age, revealed an important change in the settlement patterns during the two main levels of the VI C Period of the site (Early Bronze Age 2, 2750–2500 cal B.C.). The latter level corresponds to a village founded on neatly shaped terraces in a layout which lasted for centuries, well into the following Early Bronze Age 3. This continuity was not broken even by violent fires that at times destroyed some houses, producing a huge quantity of charred plant remains, which comprised fruits, seeds and wood charcoal. The archaeobotanical data so far obtained from the EB2 house A607, the richest one in macro-remains, on which efforts have been concentrated first, provides much data about the use of the surrounding land. Charcoal of Quercus (deciduous oaks) (85%) followed by Populus (poplar) (9%) are dominant among wood remains, while Hordeum (barley) (70%) is the dominant crop found, followed by Cicer (chickpea) (17%). The crop storage methods were investigated by mapping the positions of charred fruits and seeds both according to the grid system and in comparison to the layout of facilities (grinding stone, hearths, oven) and the distribution of pottery (jars, bowls, pots) in order to detect where the crops were kept and the ways in which they were stored, processed, and used. The house facilities and furniture suggest that the house was a multifunctional place, which included storage space, but which was limited to household needs. The new archaeobotanical investigation so far carried out on the burnt house A607 suggests some implications on the degree of agriculture, on crop storage and on food processing practises and also gives information on the natural landscape surrounding the site.