Charred plant remains from a 10th millennium B.P. kitchen at Jerf el Ahmar (Syria)
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The Pre-potteryNeolithic A (PPNA) site of Jerf el Ahmar, Syria, dated to the 10th millennium uncal B.P., has produced over 657 flotation samples which are now under study. The results described in this article were obtained from the analysis of 32 samples of charred plant remains taken from a room of 2.5 × 3 m, which had been destroyed by fire. The room contained three saddle querns, two flat polished stone plates (each of 60 cm in diameter), one hearth, and three limestone "basins". These objects were in situ and the room appeared to represent a food preparation area (kitchen). On one of the querns two charred seed cakes were found. The finely ground seeds have been identified as Brassica/Sinapis, a rare taxon for this period. The major taxa, which are morphologically wild, have distinct spatial distributions, which provide evidence for plant processing activities. Hordeum spontaneum and Triticum/Secale were processed separately. The association of H. spontaneum with stone basins suggests soaking of this grain.
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