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Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 231–242 | Cite as

Morphological characterisation of Vitis vinifera L. seeds by image analysis and comparison with archaeological remains

  • Martino Orrù
  • Oscar Grillo
  • Gianni Lovicu
  • Gianfranco Venora
  • Gianluigi Bacchetta
Original Paper

Abstract

In archaeobotanical studies, the taxonomic classification of diaspores has usually been done by simple morphological observation and visual comparison with ex situ collections of seeds, although the use of biometric indices has often proved to be a powerful approach in the taxonomic studies of the genus Vitis as well as for the species attribution of archaeological remains. Using image analysis techniques, seeds from two Sardinian archaeological sites, the pre-Nuragic and Nuragic complex of Sa Osa in central-western Sardinia, attested as the oldest Sardinian archaeological site with remains of Vitis seeds, and the Isola di Coltellazzo in southwest Sardinia, were selected and characterized on the basis of morphological features and Elliptic Fourier Descriptors. Moreover, seeds of five modern populations of V. vinifera ssp. sylvestris collected from southwest Sardinia and the seeds of 41 cultivars of V. vinifera ssp. vinifera mainly from southern and central-western Sardinia were also analysed by computer image analysis. The obtained data were used to implement a database of biometric parameters and to compare the unknown archaeological seeds with the characterized recent seeds, using Linear Discriminant Analysis. The similarity of the archaeological seeds to V. vinifera ssp. vinifera cultivars rather than to V. vinifera ssp. sylvestris populations could allow it to be stated that, between the Middle and Final Bronze Age, varieties very close to modern V. vinifera ssp. vinifera were already being used to produce wine and/or to be preserved for foodstuffs. Moreover, the better matching of the archaeological seeds to white grapes rather than black grape cultivars could indicate the origins of the traditional cultivation of white grapes in these regions of Sardinia.

Keywords

Archaeological grape pips Computer image analysis Seed morphometry Sardinia V. vinifera V. sylvestris 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici per le province di Cagliari e Oristano, and in particular Alessandro Usai, for kindly providing the seeds of Vitis recovered in shaft N of the pre-Nuragic and Nuragic complex of Sa Osa, Cabras (OR); Antonio Aru, Massimo Farci, Giampiero Piano, Fabio Piras, Mauro Sedda and Roberto Zurru for the seed collecting and processing work; Giacomo Piazza and Concetta Ravalli of the Stazione Sperimentale di Granicoltura per la Sicilia for their contribution on the seed analysis; Paolo Atzeri, Davide Cocco, Efisio Mattana, Roberto Sarigu and Mariano Ucchesu of Centro Conservazione Biodiversità for their assistance in the management and conservation of materials in the Sardinian Germplasm Bank (BG-SAR); AGRIS of Ussana for providing the ex-situ experimental fields. The authors would also like to express their appreciation to Prof. Gaetano Forni of the Centro Studi e Ricerche di Museologia Agraria of the University of Milano for providing precious bibliographic material. Many thanks to the “Regione Autonoma Sardegna” for the support to the realization of this work, on the basis of the Legge Regionale 7 agosto 2007, n. 7 “Promozione della ricerca scientifica e dell’innovazione tecnologica in Sardegna”, pubblica selezione per il conferimento di borse di ricerca destinate a giovani ricercatori—Bando 2008.

Supplementary material

334_2012_362_MOESM1_ESM.doc (34 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 34 kb)
334_2012_362_MOESM2_ESM.doc (33 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 33 kb)
334_2012_362_MOESM3_ESM.doc (64 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOC 64 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martino Orrù
    • 1
  • Oscar Grillo
    • 1
  • Gianni Lovicu
    • 3
  • Gianfranco Venora
    • 2
  • Gianluigi Bacchetta
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro Conservazione Biodiversità (CCB), Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’Ambiente (DISCIVA)Università degli Studi di CagliariCagliariItaly
  2. 2.Stazione Consorziale Sperimentale di Granicoltura per la SiciliaCaltagironeItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento per la Ricerca nell’ArboricolturaAGRIS SARDEGNACagliariItaly

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