Impressions of wild cereal chaff in pisé from the 10th millennium uncal B.P. at Jerf et Ahmar and Mureybet: Northern Syria

  • George Willcox
  • Sandra Fornite


Pisé (daub or building earth) from Jerf el Ahmar and Mureybet was examined and found to contain plant impressions made by the fine fraction of cereal chaff which had been added to the pisé as a tempering medium. Four wild grasses were identified from impressions, while over fifty taxa were identified from charred remains. Chaff tempering was present in all samples examined and was composed of spikelet bases and fragments of spikelets. Several aspects of these findings complement results obtained from charred remains. The sheer quantity of building material with chaff implies that cereals were widely available. De-husking and winnowing appear to have been carried out on a large scale, probably near the site. Firm evidence for wild rye confirms previous identifications for this period in the middle Euphrates, rye being difficult to distinguish from wild einkorn if only grain is available for identification. The quality of the chaff provides some evidence of crop processing.

Key words

Chaff impressions Early Neolithic Dehusking Secale Northern Syria 


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Copyright information

© 341Springer-Verlag 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Willcox
    • 1
  • Sandra Fornite
    • 1
  1. 1.UPR7537, CNRSInstitut de Préhistoire OrientaleBerriasFrance

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