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The first identification of Phoenix dactylifera (date palm) from Early Bronze Age Lebanon

Damick, Alison
Vegetation history and archaeobotany 2019 v.28 no.5 pp. 583-589
Phoenix dactylifera, archaeobotany, coastal plains, coasts, phytoliths, sediments, Lebanon
This paper presents preliminary results of the analysis of phytolith evidence for Phoenix dactylifera (date palm) from Early Bronze Age occupation levels at Tell Fadous-Kfarabida on the north-central coast of modern Lebanon. Sediment samples were collected from a wide range of activity areas and contexts, but date palm only occurred in Early Bronze Age (EBIII) storage contexts, its earliest positive identification in the archaeological record of Lebanon. Tell Fadous-Kfarabida is a relatively small early urban settlement of only c. 1.5 ha, but evidence from 10 years of excavation suggests that it held a significant administrative role in the agrarian economy of the Lebanese coastal plain. Archaeobotanical research is still relatively uncommon in the archaeology of Lebanon, but is beginning to make major contributions to better understand ancient plant use practices in the region. This short report contributes significantly to our understanding of the early pathways for the spread and use of date palm in 3rd millennium BCE Lebanon.