Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 567–575 | Cite as

On the origins and spread of Olea europaea L. (olive) domestication: evidence for shape variation of olive stones at Ugarit, Late Bronze Age, Syria—a window on the Mediterranean Basin and on the westward diffusion of olive varieties

  • Claire Newton
  • Christine Lorre
  • Caroline Sauvage
  • Sarah Ivorra
  • Jean-Frédéric Terral
Original Article

Abstract

Charred archaeological stones of Olea europaea L. (olive) from Late Bronze Age Ugarit, Syria, were analyzed with geometric morphometry and compared with a morphological differentiation model established on the basis of analyses of modern spontaneous (uncultivated) olive populations and cultivated varieties of various origins within the Mediterranean Basin. The results allow a reinterpretation of the east–west morphological diversity previously observed in wild olives. The archaeobotanical data were compared in detail to the partly geographically structured modern morphological diversity of the cultivated olive. Ancient morphotypes could be distinguished, among which one is dominant in the assemblage. Their diffusion from east to west is shown, and their time of arrival in the northwestern Mediterranean can be evaluated by comparison to archaeological material from that area. Combining morphometric and genetic data, modern reference and archaeological material also guides us in understanding the mechanisms that prevailed in the long-term agrobiodiversity of the olive.

Keywords

Agricultural biological diversity Archaeological olive stones Diffusion Geometric morphometry Olea europaea 

Supplementary material

334_2013_412_MOESM1_ESM.doc (108 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 107 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claire Newton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christine Lorre
    • 3
  • Caroline Sauvage
    • 4
    • 5
  • Sarah Ivorra
    • 1
  • Jean-Frédéric Terral
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.Centre de Bio-Archéologie et d’Ecologie, Institut de BotaniqueUMR 5059 CNRS/Université Montpellier 2/EPHE/INRAPMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Archéologie et de PatrimoineUniversité du Québec à RimouskiRimouskiCanada
  3. 3.Musée d’Archéologie NationaleSaint-Germain-en-LayeFrance
  4. 4.Pitzer CollegeClaremontUSA
  5. 5.ArchéorientUMR 5133 - CNRS/Université Lumière Lyon 2Lyon Cedex 7France
  6. 6.Université Montpellier 2Montpellier CedexFrance

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