, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 453-464
Date: 23 Jul 2005

Nutrition and environment in medieval Serbia: charred cereal, weed and fruit remains from the fortress of Ras

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Abstract

This study presents the results of archaeobotanical examination of remains from the medieval complex of Ras in Serbia. The samples were collected from the fortress situated on the hilltop (Gradina) and from a settlement below (Podgradje) during the archaeological excavations of 1972–1984. They were taken primarily from the buildings containing charred cereals dating to the 12th and 13th centuries. The main staple was bread wheat, followed by rye. Grains of barley, oats, and millet were also present. The weeds, including ruderals, were represented by many species. Agrostemma githago (corn cockle) was an important contaminant of the cereal fields. Exceptional finds include a piece of charred round bread, the cereal content of a pot, and peach stone fragments. Previous information about the agriculture and food in medieval Serbia was based solely on documents that were either written after this period or that were not pertinent to the region. This study is the first direct evidence providing information about agriculture and food of the inhabitants of medieval Serbia.