Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 761–773

Intensive agriculture and land use at Roman Gordion, central Turkey

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00334-014-0467-x

Cite this article as:
Marston, J.M. & Miller, N.F. Veget Hist Archaeobot (2014) 23: 761. doi:10.1007/s00334-014-0467-x


Few archaeobotanical studies of Roman agricultural practices and their environmental impact in Anatolia (modern Turkey) have been published. New data from Roman levels at Gordion, a multi-period urban centre in central Anatolia, indicate that free-threshing wheat, most likely Triticum aestivum (bread wheat), was the focus of agricultural practice, in contrast to earlier periods when a more diverse agricultural system included greater amounts of barley and pulses. Evidence for increased levels of irrigation and wood fuel use relative to dung, along with regional overgrazing, provide further evidence for significant change in land-use practices during the Roman period. The emphasis on T. aestivum cultivation coupled with extensive grazing had significant environmental implications, leading to severe overgrazing and soil erosion on a regional scale. Historical sources and limited data from other Roman period sites suggest that similar patterns of agriculture may have been practiced across central Anatolia during the Roman period. We propose that this may have been due to externally imposed demands for taxation or military tribute in the form of wheat, and conclude that these demands led to the adoption of an unsustainable agricultural system at Gordion.


Agricultural intensification Crop choice Dung fuel Roman Gordion Anatolia 

Supplementary material

334_2014_467_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (68 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 68 kb)
334_2014_467_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (57 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 57 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Near East SectionUniversity of Pennsylvania MuseumPhiladelphiaUSA

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