Analysis of Archaeobotanical Material from the Tüpraş Field Project of the Kinet Höyük Excavations, Turkey
Issue: Vol 2 No. 1 (2015)
Journal: Journal of Islamic Archaeology
The Tüpraş Field project is located near the high mound of Kinet Höyük in the Hatay Province of Turkey. The site was founded in the 8th century and continually occupied until the 12th century CE. Contemporary Arabic writers described the region as rich in agriculture and known for its cultivation of date palms and for its valuable timber resources. This paper presents the analysis of archaeobotanical macro remains, which are rare from this period, to allow for a greater understanding of the floral diversity, in terms of cereals, weeds, trees and wild species that would have been present in the region during the Islamic through medieval periods. The data supports cereal agriculture but also documents the emergence of a cotton boom, which is attested to in ethnohistorical sources but has rarely been confirmed through archaeobotanical remains. Substantial quantities of C. album in single contexts, likely representing storage, were recovered and raise questions about its role as either an agricultural weed species or a more significant contributor to the diet and health of the ancient population. The agricultural economy is clearly more complex than previously believed and this study adds to discussions on the intersections of environmental and Islamic studies with crucial archaeological evidence, which can, for example, counter-balance and nuance certain well-worn debated ideas, such as the nature of the Islamic Green ‘Revolution’.
Author: Jennifer Ramsay, A. Asa Eger
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