Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 101–120 | Cite as

Activity area analysis of a Roman period semi-subterranean building by means of integrated archaeobotanical and geoarchaeological data

  • Ákos Pető
  • Árpád Kenéz
  • Andrea Csabainé Prunner
  • Zsuzsanna Lisztes-Szabó
Original Article


Everyday life in past human societies and the use of specific activity areas within settlements can be explored through the study of the remains of material culture as well as through the application of soil and plant remains analyses. This paper presents the results of complex archaeobotanical and geoarchaeological analyses conducted on 33 samples from a Roman period (1st century ad) semi-subterranean building excavated at the site of Győr-Ménfőcsanak, western Hungary. The aim of this methodological experiment was to try to identify the inner space use of the building with the help of macro- and micro-archaeobotanical and geoarchaeological data. Samples from cultural sediment layers were collected in accordance with a total horizontal sampling strategy using a grid of 50 × 50 cm quadrats. The identified micro- and macrofossils found in the samples from the activity layer imply that a large amount of plant material connected to cereals (stem, leaf, glume, spike fragment, cereal grain fragment, etc.) was either processed or deposited inside the building. The overall interpretation of the distribution patterns projected on the inner space and the spatial evaluation of the data have enabled us to put forward hypotheses regarding the use of the building. Significant differences were detected within the interior space of the feature, which reflect a well-defined selectivity in internal space usage and distinction in activity areas.


Seeds Phytoliths Integrated archaeobotany Geoarchaeology Semi-subterranean buildings Roman period Pannonia Province 



The authors are thankful to Gábor Ilon (leader of the excavation, Hungarian National Museum, National Heritage Protection Centre) who provided access to the material, co-operated in the systematic sampling of Győr-Ménfőcsanak archaeological site, and provided descriptions, images and photographs of the feature. The authors are also grateful to Soultana Maria Valamoti (Department of Archaeology, School of History and Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) for her comments that helped to improve the manuscript. Finally, but not least, the authors are thankful to two anonymous reviewers whose comments helped to improve this paper.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ákos Pető
    • 1
  • Árpád Kenéz
    • 1
  • Andrea Csabainé Prunner
    • 2
  • Zsuzsanna Lisztes-Szabó
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory for Applied Research, National Heritage Protection CentreHungarian National MuseumBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Department of Spatial Planning and GISSzent István UniversityGödöllőHungary
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural Botany and Crop PhysiologyUniversity of DebrecenDebrecenHungary

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