, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 61-74
Date: 17 Oct 2007

Late Neolithic agriculture in eastern Austria: archaeobotanical results from sites of the Baden and Jevišovice cultures (3600–2800 b.c.)

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Abstract

The article presents archaeobotanical results from six late Neolithic excavation sites in eastern Austria. Two of the sites belong to the Jevišovice culture (3200–2800 cal b.c.), the remaining four to the Baden culture (3600–2900 cal b.c.). Results show that farmers around 3000 cal b.c. were relying on the use of Triticum monococcum and Hordeum vulgare as principal cereals, with Triticum dicoccum and Panicum miliaceum as additional crops. Common millet was found in quantity at one of the Jevišovice sites and shows the remarkably early westward spread of this species. Single records of Triticum spelta are discussed in the light of the recently proposed ideas about an independent central European origin of spelt. Another record concerns the “new-type” glume wheat, providing further evidence for the once widespread occurrence of this cultivar. Triticum aestivum (hexaploid naked wheat) and Setaria italica (foxtail millet) were found as rare admixtures at the Jevišovice settlements. Pulses were represented by Pisum sativum and Lens culinaris, oil plants by Papaver somniferum and Linum usitatissimum. One of the Jevišovice sites offered a good opportunity for a study of the undisturbed spatial distribution of charred plant remains within a burnt house. Among wild plants, the occurrence of Stipa sp., Teucrium chamaedrys, Asperula cynanchica and Plantago media point to the presence of dry steppe grassland in the vicinity of the settlements, which was probably used for grazing. Woodland plants were mainly represented by fruit-bearing plants growing in clearings and forest edges, reflecting both the deliberate collection of wild fruits and the growing human impact on the vegetation.