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Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 17, Supplement 1, pp 139–148 | Cite as

Plant remains from the early Iron Age in western Sicily: differences in subsistence strategies of Greek and Elymian sites

  • Hans-Peter Stika
  • Andreas G. Heiss
  • Barbara Zach
Original Article

Abstract

For the early Iron Age Elymian town on Monte Polizzo, inland western Sicily, hulled barley was the dominant cereal, followed by emmer and free-threshing wheat. The dominant legume was Vicia faba. In the contemporary Greek harbour town of Selinunte on the southern coast of western Sicily, free-threshing wheat was dominant, while hulled barley and the legume V. ervilia were subdominant. For Selinunte, an import of cereals from the Elymians is suggested. The investigated area around the agora (marketplace) yielded a processed cereal product and edible fruit as the predominantly consumed plant-based food in Selinunte. Its hinterland most probably provided space for large-scale maintenance of horses and oxen as well as for stock breeding for consumption. At “House 1” on Monte Polizzo, the archaeobotanical record matches well with the archaeological interpretation of different rooms used for ritual consumption, everyday life, crop processing and crop storage. During feasts in the style of Greek symposia, grapes and figs were consumed. The Elymians most probably adopted olive cultivation quite late. The charcoal analyses, mainly of roof beams from Monte Polizzo residential contexts, point to a sufficient availability of undisturbed natural climax woodland for timberwork.

Keywords

Early Iron Age Sicily Plant macrofossils Ritual feasting Human impact 

Supplementary material

334_2008_171_MOESM1_ESM.doc (36 kb)
Supplementary material (DOC 36 kb)
334_2008_171_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (185 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 3. Aerial photograph of Monte Polizzo, with the excavation areas indicated (Morris et al. 2004, p 248). Image source: Google (2007), modified (PDF 185 kb)
334_2008_171_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (417 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 4. Carbonised plant remains from the Greek town of Selinunte. a, b, Triticum aestivum/durum (free-threshing wheat) caryopses; c Vicia ervilia (bitter vetch) seed; d, Vitis vinifera (grape) pip. Scale bar = 1 mm (PDF 416 kb)
334_2008_171_MOESM4_ESM.xls (19 kb)
Supplementary Table 3. Results from a recent vegetation survey on Monte Polizzo in July 2006 (XLS 19 kb)
334_2008_171_MOESM5_ESM.xls (43 kb)
Supplementary Table 4. Wild plant remains from the western Sicilian sites of Mokarta, Monte Polizzo, and Selinunte (XLS 43 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans-Peter Stika
    • 1
  • Andreas G. Heiss
    • 2
  • Barbara Zach
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut für BotanikUniversität HohenheimStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Vienna Institute for Archaeological Science (VIAS)Universität WienViennaAustria
  3. 3.BernbeurenGermany

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