Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 17, Supplement 1, pp 35–41 | Cite as

Storage of crops during the fourth and third millennia b.c. at the settlement mound of Tell Brak, northeast Syria

  • Mette Marie HaldEmail author
  • Mike Charles
Original Article


Excavations at Tell Brak in northeast Syria have uncovered two monumental non-domestic structures from the fourth and third millennia b.c. respectively, containing evidence for large-scale supra-household economic organisation. The charred plant remains from these structures include glume wheat, two-row hulled barley and flax, all found in storage contexts. In the fourth millennium b.c. (the late Chalcolithic), barley grain and flax seeds have been found in storage contexts, as well as glume wheat chaff, indicating the economic importance of this by-product of crop processing. In the third millennium b.c. (the early Bronze Age), barley is the only crop found in a definite storage context, indicating that storage practices may have changed by this time and focused on a much narrower range of crops to be held in communal storage.


Archaeobotany Crop storage Tell Brak Late Chalcolithic Early Bronze Age Northern Mesopotamia 



The authors wish to thank George Willcox, Tim Skuldbøl, and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. MMH wishes to thank the University of Sheffield (Edgar Allen Scholarship) for funding her doctoral research, during which time much of the above analysis was carried out. She also wishes to thank the Danish Research Council for the Humanities for funding her postdoctoral research including the writing up of this paper.

Supplementary material

334_2008_154_MOESM1_ESM.xls (64 kb)
Table 1 Summary table of TW archaeobotanical data analysed by Hald (XLS 64 kb)
334_2008_154_MOESM2_ESM.xls (31 kb)
Table 2 Summary table of TC archaeobotanical data analysed by Hald (XLS 31 kb)
334_2008_154_MOESM3_ESM.xls (10 kb)
Table 3 Summary table of TC archaeobotanical data analysed by Stone (XLS 9 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cross-cultural and Regional StudiesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen SDenmark
  2. 2.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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