Analysis of a protohistoric net from Shahi Tump, Baluchistan (Pakistan)
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The fire that partly destroyed a 4th millennium BCE building at Shahi Tump in the Kech Valley of south-western Pakistan is responsible for the exceptional preservation by carbonisation of a net found on the burnt floor as a heap of entangled cords and knots. Macro- and microscopic observation has allowed a reconstruction of the techniques used to manufacture the net from a two-strand plied cord. The comparison of the phytoliths extracted from the archaeological net to those from a modern reference collection suggests the use of fibres that originate from the leaves of a local palm species: the desert palm or Nannorrhops ritchieana (Griff.) Aitch. Besides the technical and archaeobotanical aspects of the study, the paper discussed past and present uses of the desert palm in the arid regions of the Middle East as well as the possible utilisation (fishing, carrying etc.) of the protohistoric net.