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Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 137–142 | Cite as

New archaeobotanical finds of Isatis tinctoria L. (woad) from Iron Age Gaul and a discussion of the importance of woad in ancient time

  • Véronique Zech-Matterne
  • Luc Leconte
Original Article

Abstract

Although chemical analyses of textile remains have traced the use of Isatis tinctoria L. (woad) back to the Neolithic period, archaeobotanical remains of the plant are scarce in north-western Europe, especially in France. A new discovery in the rural settlement of Roissy, north of Paris, raises the question of local cultivation of woad from at least the fifth–fourth century b.c. (La Tène A/B1) in northern Gaul. The plant assemblage comes from the filling of a storage pit, which also included a wide variety of cultivated plants. These data represent a valuable contribution to the study of the circumstances of the adoption of woad as a new crop.

Keywords

Archaeobotany Northern France Woad Isatis tinctoria Dyestuff 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are very grateful to Margareta Tengberg and Robin Bendrey for previous review of this manuscript. Also best thanks are due to Corrie Bakels and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and improvements on the text, as well as to James Greig for editorial review. We are also indebted to colleagues who provided information about woad and chemical aspects of the dyeing process: Witold Nowik, Bernard Verhille and Dominique Cardon.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS, UMR 7209National Museum of Natural HistoryParisFrance
  2. 2.INRAP CIF/ConservareCompiègne France

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