New AMS 14C dates track the arrival and spread of broomcorn millet cultivation and agricultural change in prehistoric Europe

Filipović, Dragana and Meadows, John and Corso, Marta Dal and Kirleis, Wiebke and Alsleben, Almuth and Akeret, Örni and Bittmann, Felix and Bosi, Giovanna and Ciută, Beatrice and Dreslerová, Dagmar and Effenberger, Henrike and Gyulai, Ferenc and Heiss, Andreas G. and Hellmund, Monika and Jahns, Susanne and Jakobitsch, Thorsten and Kapcia, Magda and Klooß, Stefanie and Kohler-Schneider, Marianne and Kroll, Helmut and Makarowicz, Przemysław and Marinova, Elena and Märkle, Tanja and Medović, Aleksandar and Mercuri, Anna Maria and Mueller-Bieniek, Aldona and Nisbet, Renato and Pashkevich, Galina and Perego, Renata and Pokorný, Petr and Pospieszny, Łukasz and Przybyła, Marcin and Reed, Kelly and Rennwanz, Joanna and Stika, Hans-Peter and Stobbe, Astrid and Tolar, Tjaša and Wasylikowa, Krystyna and Wiethold, Julian and Zerl, Tanja. (2020) New AMS 14C dates track the arrival and spread of broomcorn millet cultivation and agricultural change in prehistoric Europe. Scientific Reports, 10 (1). p. 13698.

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Broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum L.) is not one of the founder crops domesticated in Southwest Asia in the early Holocene, but was domesticated in northeast China by 6000 bc. In Europe, millet was reported in Early Neolithic contexts formed by 6000 bc, but recent radiocarbon dating of a dozen 'early' grains cast doubt on these claims. Archaeobotanical evidence reveals that millet was common in Europe from the 2nd millennium bc, when major societal and economic transformations took place in the Bronze Age. We conducted an extensive programme of AMS-dating of charred broomcorn millet grains from 75 prehistoric sites in Europe. Our Bayesian model reveals that millet cultivation began in Europe at the earliest during the sixteenth century bc, and spread rapidly during the fifteenth/fourteenth centuries bc. Broomcorn millet succeeds in exceptionally wide range of growing conditions and completes its lifecycle in less than three summer months. Offering an additional harvest and thus surplus food/fodder, it likely was a transformative innovation in European prehistoric agriculture previously based mainly on (winter) cropping of wheat and barley. We provide a new, high-resolution chronological framework for this key agricultural development that likely contributed to far-reaching changes in lifestyle in late 2nd millennium bc Europe.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Altertumswissenschaften > Fachbereich Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Provinzialrömische Archäologie > Vindonissa Professur Provinzialrömische Archäologie (Schwarz)
05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Archäozoologie (Schibler)
UniBasel Contributors:Akeret, Ernst Örni
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:18 Jan 2021 10:42
Deposited On:15 Jan 2021 21:20

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