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Contribution to the development of the Bronze Age plant economy in the surrounding of the Alps : an archaeobotanical case study of two Early and Middle Bronze Age sites in northern Italy (Lake Garda region)

Perego, Renata. Contribution to the development of the Bronze Age plant economy in the surrounding of the Alps : an archaeobotanical case study of two Early and Middle Bronze Age sites in northern Italy (Lake Garda region). 2015, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_12220

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Abstract

During the Bronze Age human communities became more and more complex in their social organization and subsistence economy. A crucial role was played by the production of metal objects, which intensified exchange of goods and established new trade routes, but farming and animal husbandry were still the stronghold of Bronze Age economy. They underwent some innovations such as the introduction of new cultivars (e.g. spelt and millet), the intensification of pulse cultivation and the diffusion of rotation systems. The present research contributed to the reconstruction of the development of plant economy during the Bronze Age, within and in the surroundings of the Alps. A comprehensive archaeobotanical study has been carried out on two of the currently-excavated Bronze Age (Early and Middle Bronze Age phases) lake-dwelling sites (Lavagnone and Lucone D) in the Lake Garda area of northern Italy. The investigation in these sites south of the Alps is crucial to understand the spread of Bronze Age plant economy in the Po Plain, into the Alpine valleys and finally to the regions North of the Alps.
The standard methods of archaeobotany concerning sample strategy and quantitative analysis have been applied. This has formed the basis for a reliable comparison of lake dwelling cultures and husbandry between the northern and southern sides of the Alps. Plant macrofossil analysis focused on crop and weed assemblages collected from all archaeological layers, as well as on macroremains representing the local flora, useful for a palaeoenvironmental reconstruction.
Important results have been obtained in both sites. A large variety of cereal crops have been detected in both age periods. Emmer, the ‘new glume wheat’ type (NGW), barley and einkorn resulted to be the most important cereals, while spelt and naked wheat (both, 4n and 6n) were secondary crops. The abundance of the NGW remains is particularly noteworthy. The spread of broomcorn millet cultivation and of pulses (mainly horsebean) have been detected in the MBA layers of Lavagnone. The rich weed spectra and several archaeological finds such as farming tools allowed reconstructing crop husbandry practices. The finds of a conspicuous amount of wild edible plants testifies the large contribution of gathered species in food supply. Thanks to excellent preservation of plant remains in both sites and comparison with pollen data, we reconstructed open land, the perilacustrine belt, the aquatic habitats and their dynamics. The importance of open environments, particularly fallow land and dry meadows, is documented by a high number of open habitat plant taxa and also detected by the analysis of ruminants (goats and sheep) coprolites recovered from sediment samples.
In addition some remarkable finds such as several complete ears of “new glume wheat” (Triticum nn, possibly T. timopheevi), a necklace made of Staphylea pinnata L. (bladder-nut) seeds and marble stones, Carthamus tinctorius (safflower) achenes, and Orlaya grandiflora fruits shed light on the history of these taxa and pathways from their native range. Thus, they corroborate the arguments about probable trade routes across the Alps.
Advisors:Jacomet, Stefanie and Ravazzi, Cesare
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Archäobotanik (Jacomet)
UniBasel Contributors:Perego, Renata and Jacomet, Stefanie
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:12220
Thesis status:Complete
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Number of Pages:1 Online-Ressource (vi, 435 Seiten)
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:22 Jan 2018 15:52
Deposited On:09 Oct 2017 14:06

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