Original Article

Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 207-212

First online:

Radiocarbon age of carbonate in fruits of Lithospermum from the early Bronze Age settlement of Hirbet ez-Zeraqōn (Jordan)

  • Konstantin E. PustovoytovAffiliated withInstitut für Bodenkunde und Standortlehre, Institute of Soil Science and Land Evaluation, University of Hohenheim
  • , Simone RiehlAffiliated withInstitut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Ältere Abteilung, Labor für Archäobotanik Email author 
  • , Siegfried MittmannAffiliated withInstitut für Biblische Archäologie, Evangelisch-Theologisches Seminar, Universität Tübingen

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Uncarbonized fruits of the Boraginaceae occur widely in cultural layers of archaeological sites in the Mediterranean and the Near East. To date, interpreting their origin remains problematic. It is difficult for archaeobotanists to tell whether such fruits were deposited as part of the cultural layer or were introduced post-depositionally. In an attempt to answer this question for the early Bronze Age site of Hirbet ez-Zeraqon (Jordan), we used direct 14C dating of biogenic carbonate from calcareous fruits of Lithospermum. The radiocarbon ages of seven fossil samples of the fruits suggest that they originate from plants that grew during or around the time of occupation.


Archaeobotany Lithospermum Biogenic carbonate Radiocarbon dating Near East Early Bronze Age