Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 841–849 | Cite as

The first archaeobotanical evidence of Dasypyrum villosum in Hungary: an archaeophyte weed or a native grass?

  • Árpád Kenéz
  • Ákos Malatinszky
  • Ákos Pető
Short Communication


Caryopsis and spikelet fork remains of Dasypyrum villosum (L.) Coss. & Durieu ex P. Candargy have been recovered from a Hallstatt period archaeobotanical assemblage (ca. 900/800–450 cal. bc) in western Hungary (Carpathian basin). The presence of D. villosum has not been reported previously from any Hungarian archaeological sites, however there are accounts of its possible occurrence from the Neolithic, the Bronze and Iron Age in northern Serbia. The exact identification of the species has been hindered by its morphological similarity to wild rye and wheat species, as well as to Secale cereale L. and Triticum timopheevii Zhuk. ssp. timopheevii. D. villosum has been found growing at seven locations in Hungary during the past 100 years. Most of these occurrences do not exist today, and the species is not considered indigenous to the present Hungarian flora. The new finds of this species from an Iron Age feature dated to 702–696 cal. bc in western Hungary leave doubts as to whether it is indigenous or not, and should encourage archaeobotanists to consider the possibility of the occurrence of this species on other sites.


Dasypyrum villosum Haynaldia villosa Triticoid grains Carpathian basin Iron age Weeds 



Authors are grateful to Helmut Kroll (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Institute of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology) and Aleksandar Medović (Museum of Vojvodina) for their support, comments and consultation on the Serbian finds of Dv. The access to herbarium specimens of the species at the Herbarium of Debrecen University was provided by Zsuzsanna Lisztes-Szabó (Debrecen University) to whom the authors are grateful. The support in providing reference material from the Research Centre for Agrobiodiversity (NöDIK) (Tápiószele, Hungary) and the Leibnitz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) (Gatersleben, Germany) is highly appreciated. The authors thank Attila Takács and Dávid Schmidt for information on the past and present occurrences of the species in Hungary. Gábor Ilon (Hungarian National Museum, National Heritage Protection Centre) provided access to the excavation material. The authors are also grateful to George Willcox (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Archéorient, Maison de L’Orient Lyon) for his comments that helped to improve the manuscript, as well as to two anonymous reviewers whose comments also helped to improve this paper. Authors are grateful for the support of the Research Centre of Excellence (17586-4/2013/TUDPOL).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Árpád Kenéz
    • 1
  • Ákos Malatinszky
    • 2
  • Ákos Pető
    • 1
  1. 1.National Heritage Protection CentreHungarian National MuseumBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Department of Nature Conservation and Landscape EcologySzent István UniversityGödöllőHungary

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