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Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 17–34 | Cite as

Early farming economy in Mediterranean France: fruit and seed remains from the Early to Late Neolithic levels of the site of Taï (ca 5300–3500 cal bc)

  • Laurent BoubyEmail author
  • Frédérique Durand
  • Oriane Rousselet
  • Claire Manen
Original Article
  • 157 Downloads

Abstract

This article presents the archaeobotanical study of Taï, a Neolithic settlement located in Languedoc, southern France. In the western Mediterranean, the Neolithization process occurred during the 6th millennium bc and is supposed to have induced a fundamental change in the subsistence economy, with the development of agriculture and animal husbandry. Unfortunately, the Neolithic farming economy is still poorly known in southern France, mostly from old archaeobotanical studies. At Taï, soil flotation of 127 samples provided the largest dataset available for the Early Neolithic in southern France, which testifies to the changes occurring in cultivated plants and in the subsistence economy during the Neolithic. Sampling also allowed comparisons between the archaeobotanical record inside the cave and from the outside settlement. Naked barley and naked wheat were the most cultivated plants throughout the Neolithic sequence. The contribution of emmer and the probable use of opium poppy during the Early Neolithic should also be highlighted. This encourages us to reconsider the role of glume wheats during the early stages of agriculture in the area. Einkorn was more common in the Late Neolithic, in agreement with results from other sites in the region. Chaff remains were always underrepresented. Remains of weeds and wild fruits were very abundant in the Early Neolithic samples from the cave. Wild plants were probably brought to the site for the tending of domestic animals or by the animals themselves (dung, fodder and/or litter). Livestock was most probably occasionally kept at the site.

Keywords

Plant macroremains Languedoc Epicardial culture Hulled wheats Opium poppy Animal husbandry 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by Agence Nationale de la Recherche, project PROCOME, CULT program (ANR-13-CULT-0001-01). We would like to thank Thierry Pastor (ISEM, Université Montpellier), who carried out a large part of flotation and sieving of the Taï sediments, and Isabel Figueiral (ISEM, Inrap) for her correction of the English text. We thank Vincent Bonhomme (ISEM, CNRS) for his help with the preparation of the figures and Dominique Sordoillet (Chrono-Environnemet, Inrap) for sharing unpublished sedimentological and micromorphological data. Many thanks are also due to two anonymous reviewers and to the associate and copy editors for their useful comments and help in improving the manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 311 KB)
334_2018_683_MOESM2_ESM.docx (347 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 346 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS, ISEM UMR 5554, Université MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.Inrap, TRACES UMR 5608, Université Toulouse 2 Jean JaurèsToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Freelance ArchaeobotanistMontarlot-lès-RiozFrance
  4. 4.CNRS, TRACES UMR 5608, Université Toulouse 2 Jean JaurèsToulouseFrance

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