Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 439–446

Is naked barley an eastern or a western crop? The combined evidence of archaeobotany and genetics

Review

Abstract

Forms of Hordeum vulgare ssp. vulgare (barley) that possess a naked caryopsis are an important human staple and are mainly found today in eastern Asia. However, naked barley has not always been an eastern crop: archaeobotanical data show that it was prevalent in Europe and the Near East during various periods in prehistory. In this review we have collated data on the incidence of hulled and naked barley at archaeological sites in Europe and the Near East from two sources: archaeobotanical literature reviews and an archaeobotanical database, both assembled by Helmut Kroll. We have also examined the incidence of hulled and naked barleys in extant germplasm collections. Our compilation of this archaeobotanical data has enabled us to elucidate long-term changes in the ratio of hulled to naked barley under cultivation in these regions; specifically, these records show that naked barley begins to disappear from the archaeobotanical record from the Chalcolithic/Bronze Age onwards in the Near East, and from the Iron Age/Roman periods onwards in Europe. We discuss the possible causes of this decline in naked barley cultivation in these regions, along with the present-day prevalence of naked barley landraces in eastern Asia, particularly in relation to genetic evidence, which shows that naked barley has a single origin.

Keywords

Hulled and naked barley Prehistoric Roman and post-Roman Europe Near East Germplasm 

References

  1. Asfaw Z (2000) The barleys of Ethiopia. In: Brush SB (ed) Genes in the field: on-farm conservation of crop diversity, Chapt 4. IPGRI, IDRC, Ottawa, pp 77–108Google Scholar
  2. Buxó i Capdevilla R, Alonso N, Canal D, Echave C, Gonzalez I (1997) Archaeobotanical remains of hulled and naked cereals in the Iberian Peninsula. Veget Hist Archaeobot 6:15–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Charles M, Bogaard A (2010) Charred plant macro-remains from Jeitun: implications for early cultivation and herding practices in western Central Asia. In: Harris DR (ed) Origins of agriculture in western Central Asia. An environmental-archaeological study. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, pp 150–165Google Scholar
  4. Ciferri R (1944) Osservazioni ecologico-agrarie e sistematiche su piante coltivate in Etiopia (/Guizotia, Linum, Avena, Sorghum, Eragrostis, Eleusine, Pennisetum, Hordeum, Triticum/) Atti dell’Istituto Botanico e del Laboratorio Crittogamico dell’Universita di Pavia 5:2. 232 ppGoogle Scholar
  5. Costantini L (1984) The beginning of agriculture in the Kachi plain: the evidence of Mehrgarh. In: Allchin B (ed) South Asian Archaeology 1981. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 29–33Google Scholar
  6. Crawford GW, Lee GA (2003) Agricultural origins in the Korean peninsula. Antiquity 77(295):87–95Google Scholar
  7. Flad R, Li S, Wu X, Zhao Z (2010) Early wheat in China: results from new studies at Donghuishan in the Hexi Corridor. Holocene 17:555–560Google Scholar
  8. Fu D, Xu T, Feng ZY (2000) The ancient carbonized barley (Hordeum vulgare L. var. nudum) kernel discovered in the middle of Yalu Tsanypo river basin in Tibet. SW China J Agric Sci 13:38–41Google Scholar
  9. Fuller DQ, Rowlands M (2009) Towards a long-term macro-geography of cultural substances: food and sacrifice tradition in East, West and South Asia. Chin Rev Anthropol 12:1–37Google Scholar
  10. Fuller DQ, Korisettar R, Venkatasubbaiah PC, Jones MK (2004) Early plant domestications in southern India: some preliminary archaeobotanical results. Veget Hist Archaeobot 13:115–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fuller DQ, Willcox G, Allaby RG (2011) Cultivation and domestication had multiple origins: arguments against the core area hypothesis for the origins of agriculture in the Near East. World Archaeol 43:628–652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Grabowski R (2011) Changes in cereal cultivation during the Iron Age in southern Sweden: a compilation and interpretation of the archaeobotanical material. Veget Hist Archaeobot 20:479–494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Harlan HV (1920) Daily development of kernels of Hannchan barley from flowering to maturity at Aberdeen, Idaho. J Agric Res 19:393–429Google Scholar
  14. Helbæk H (1969) Plant-collecting, dry-farming and irrigation agriculture in prehistoric Deh Luran. In: Hole F et al (eds) Prehistory and human ecology of the Deh Luran plain. An early village sequence from Khuzistan, Iran. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, pp 383–426Google Scholar
  15. Hillman GC (1975) The plant remains from Tell Abu Hureyra: a preliminary report. Proc Prehist Soc 41:70–73Google Scholar
  16. Hillman G, Hedges R, Moore A, Colledge S, Pettitt P (2001) New evidence of Lateglacial cereal cultivation at Abu Hureyra on the Euphrates. Holocene 11:383–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jin G (2007) Zhongguo zaoqi xiaomai de kaogu faxian yu yanjiu (Study on wheat reported from archaeological sites in China). Nongye Kaogu (Agricultural Archaeology) 92:11Google Scholar
  18. Kroll H (1996) Literature on archaeological remains of cultivated plants (1994/95). Veget Hist Archaeobot 5:169–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kroll H (1997) Literature on archaeological remains of cultivated plants (1995/1996). Veget Hist Archaeobot 6:25–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kroll H (1998) Literature on archaeological remains of cultivated plants (1996/1997). Veget Hist Archaeobot 7:23–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kroll H (1999) Literature on archaeological remains of cultivated plants (1997/1998). Veget Hist Archaeobot 8:129–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kroll H (2000) Literature on archaeological remains of cultivated plants (1998/1999). Veget Hist Archaeobot 9:31–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kroll H (2001) Literature on archaeological remains of cultivated plants (1999/2000). Veget Hist Archaeobot 10:33–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Li XQ, Shang X, Dodson J, Zhou XY (2009) Holocene agriculture in the Guanzhong Basin in NW China indicated by pollen and charcoal evidence. Holocene 19:1,213–1,220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Li Y, Long C, Kato K, Yang C, Sato K (2011) Indigenous knowledge and traditional conservation of hulless barley (Hordeum vulgare) germplasm resources in the Tibetan communities of Shangri-la, Yunnan, SW China. Genet Resour Crop Evol 58:645–655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Matsui A, Kanehara M (2006) The question of prehistoric plant husbandry during the Jomon Period in Japan. World Archaeol 38:259–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Morrell PL, Clegg MT (2007) Genetic evidence for a second domestication of barley (Hordeum vulgare) east of the Fertile Crescent. Proc National Acad Sci USA 104:3,289–3,294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nesbitt M (2005) Grains. In: Prance G, Nesbitt M (eds) The cultural history of plants. Routledge, New York, pp 45–60Google Scholar
  29. Orlov AA (1929) The barley of Abyssinia and Eritrea. Bull Appl Bot Genet Plant Breed 20:283–345Google Scholar
  30. Saisho D, Purugganan MD (2007) Molecular phylogeography of domesticated barley traces expansion of agriculture in the Old World. Genetics 177:1,765–1,776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Salamini F, Ozkan H, Brandolini A, Schafer-Pregl R, Martin W (2002) Genetics and geography of wild cereal domestication in the Near East. Nat Rev Genet 3:429–441Google Scholar
  32. Sallares R (1991) The ecology of the ancient Greek world. Cornell University Press, CornellGoogle Scholar
  33. Schultze-Motel J (1968) Literatur über archäologische Kulturpflanzenreste (1965–1967). Kulturpflanze 16:215–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Staudt G (1961) The origin of cultivated barleys: a discussion. Econ Bot 15:203–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Takahashi R, Yamamoto J (1950) Studies on the classification and the geographical distribution of the Japanese barley varieties. XIII. Covered/naked caryopsis character. Nogaku Kenkyu 39:32–36Google Scholar
  36. Taketa S, Kikuchi S, Awayama T, Yamamoto S, Ichii M, Kawasaki S (2004) Monophyletic origin of naked barley inferred from molecular analyses of a marker closely linked to the naked caryopsis gene (nud). Theor Appl Genet 108:1,236–1,242Google Scholar
  37. Taketa S, Amano S, Tsujino Y, Sato T, Saisho D, Kakeda K, Nomura M, Suzuki T, Matsumoto T, Sato K, Kanamori H, Kawasaki S, Takeda K (2008) Barley grain with adhering hulls is controlled by an ERF family transcription factor gene regulating a lipid biosynthesis pathway. Proc National Acad Sci USA 105:4,062–4,067CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Van Zeist W, Bakker-Heeres JAH (1985) Archaeobotanical studies in the Levant I. Neolithic sites in the Damascus Basin: Aswad, Ghoraifé, Ramad. Palaeohistoria 24:165–256Google Scholar
  39. Warren P, Jarman MR, Jarman HN, Shackleton NJ, Evans JD (1968) Knossos Neolithic, part II. Annu Brit School Athens 63:239–276Google Scholar
  40. Weiss E, Wetterstrom W, Nadel D, Bar-Yosef O (2004) The broad spectrum revisited: evidence from plant remains. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:9,551–9,555Google Scholar
  41. Zohary D, Hopf M (2000) Domestication of plants in the Old World, 3rd edn. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McDonald Institute for Archaeological ResearchUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations