Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 571–577

Lallemantia, an imported or introduced oil plant in Bronze Age northern Greece

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00334-005-0004-z

Cite this article as:
Jones, G. & Valamoti, S.M. Veget Hist Archaeobot (2005) 14: 571. doi:10.1007/s00334-005-0004-z


This paper reports on seeds of Lallemantia (Lamiaceae) found at Bronze Age sites in northern Greece. At several of these sites, the seeds were found in significant concentrations in storage contexts, suggesting that they were deliberately stored for use by the inhabitants. Oil from the seeds of Lallemantia can be used for a variety of purposes, including food, lighting and medicine. This genus is not native to Greece, the nearest modern occurrences of Lallemantia species being in Anatolia from where they extend further east as far as Iran, or beyond. To date, it has not been found in Neolithic deposits in Greece, despite significant archaeobotanical research, especially in northern Greece. This suggests that it first appeared in Greece in the early Bronze Age, and indicates long distance contacts with communities to the east or north at this time. It is difficult to establish whether its continued use indicates that seeds of this genus were repeatedly brought into Greece throughout the Bronze Age or that the genus was introduced in the early Bronze Age and then locally cultivated. The presence of seeds, however, may suggest that Lallemantia was locally cultivated, as it would have been possible to import it in the form of oil. The appearance of a new import or introduction at this time adds to the evidence for external contact during the Bronze Age. Lallemantia may have been part of a group of oil producing taxa which became significant during the Bronze Age in northern Greece paralleling the increased importance of the olive in southern Greece.


Lallemantia Oil Greece Bronze Age Trade 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologySheffieldUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Department of ArchaeologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

Personalised recommendations