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Massive storage in As Laias/O Castelo (Ourense, NW Spain) from the Late Bronze Age/Iron Age transition to the Roman period: a palaeoethnobotanical approach

Tereso, João Pedro, Ramil-Rego, Pablo, Álvarez González, Yolanda, López González, Luis, Almeida-da-Silva, Rubim
Journal of archaeological science 2013 v.40 no.11 pp. 3865-3877
Panicum miliaceum, Quercus, Triticum, Vicia faba, archaeology, crops, fires, fruits, grains, hills, legumes, models, spikelets, terraces, Iberian Peninsula, Spain
The highest platforms of As Laias, a settlement located in northwest Iberia, were used for storage during the Iron Age and until the turn of the Era. In this time-span, the whole hilltop – the croa – was a walled enclosure mostly used for storage and due to recurrent fires affecting the settlement's terraces, abundant plant remains were preserved in overlying wattle and daub storage structures.Triticum aestivum subsp. spelta was the predominant crop stored in As Laias and was often stored in spikelets. Panicum miliaceum and Vicia faba were important crops too and the presence of Quercus acorns testifies for its storage together with cereals and legumes. Evidence suggests a twofold situation occurred since, in some structures, multiple species were stored while others were possibly filled with a single crop.The evidence of massive storage, the abundance of charred plant remains and the uniqueness of the storage structures makes As Laias one of the most important Iron Age sites in the whole NW Iberia. The interpretation of the site, together with other archaeological contexts in the region is controversial and can have major consequences for the interpretative models of the social and economic features of the local Iron Age. The site itself is sufficient to testify for the productivity of Iron Age agriculture, but further considerations must include remarks regarding the social significance of a massive storage place.