Cereal chaff used as temper in loom-weights: new evidence from a Slovenian Eneolithic pile-dwelling site (ca. 3100 cal bc)

Tolar, Tjaša and Jacomet, Stefanie and Verluscek, Anton. (2016) Cereal chaff used as temper in loom-weights: new evidence from a Slovenian Eneolithic pile-dwelling site (ca. 3100 cal bc). Vegetation history and archaeobotany, 25 (3). pp. 291-301.

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We present newevidence of the intentional use of cereal by-products at Stare gmajne, an Eneolithic piledwelling site in Slovenia, dated approximately 3160–3100 cal BC . The chaff material, which had been used for tempering, was discovered inside one of the largest discovered loomweights and analysed. Clay, which was used by the dwellers to make the weight, was tempered with cereal chaff to reinforce it. The practice of tempering, not necessarily for loom weights, has already been proven for earlier settlements, mostly in arid areas where firewood, grazing and building material were scarce. However, tempering has rarely been found in European prehistoric sites. More than 1,800 carbonised and half-carbonised, excellently preserved and well identifiable cereal plant macroremains in less than 1 l of waterlogged clayeymaterial were sorted and counted.Among the recognized plant macroremains, barley rachis fragments and glume wheat (emmer and einkorn) by-products such as spikelet forks and glume bases prevailed. A few grains were also found. Cultivation of the main crops of emmer, einkorn and barley at Slovenian Eneolithic pile-dwelling sites was confirmed again. Among the chaff, a new ‘‘strange type’’ of Triticum dicoccum  (emmer) spikelet forks was discovered. The size of the weight and the intentional local use of cereal by-products as temper suggest that late Neolithic (Eneolithic) pile-dwelling societies all around the Alps were highly organized and developed due to expansion of crop production and processing.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Archäobotanik (Jacomet)
UniBasel Contributors:Jacomet, Stefanie
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Springer International
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Identification Number:
Last Modified:30 Jun 2016 11:00
Deposited On:30 May 2016 08:28

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