Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 655–671 | Cite as

An archaeobotanical analysis of the Islamic period occupation at Caesarea Maritima, Israel

Original Article

Abstract

The urban site of Caesarea Maritima located on the Mediterranean coast of modern Israel was founded by King Herod and dedicated to emperor Caesar Augustus between 22 and 10 bce. The site subsequently went through many phases of occupation generally classified as Roman, Late Roman (Byzantine), Early Islamic, Crusader and Mamluk in which cultural and settlement size transitions occurred. This paper offers an analysis from this culturally significant site of the plant remains recovered from three specific areas of Caesarea (Arabic–Qaysariyya) during the Islamic period of occupation from 640 to 1101 ce under the Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid dynasties. The Combined Caesarea Expeditions, or CCE, devoted significant attention to archaeobotanical research and recovered samples from several excavation sectors across the site, specifically for the present study areas TP, the Temple Platform; and LL, a warehouse quarter. Although the goals of CCE’s project were to study monuments of the Roman and Late Roman (Byzantine) city, a dense Early Islamic domestic occupation was identified that had succeeded the ancient occupation. From these contexts 203 sediment samples were processed by water flotation, 106 of which contained plant remains. There were 9,972 specimens examined from 63 different taxa. The archaeobotanical and supplementary documentary evidence examined clearly demonstrates that the population of Islamic Caesarea put significant investments into local agriculture, carrying on a tradition of practices that likely pre-dated Islam by many centuries.

Keywords

Archaeobotany Agriculture Islamic period Caesarea Israel 

Supplementary material

334_2015_519_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (55 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 55 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyThe College at Brockport: State University of New York (SUNY)BrockportUSA
  2. 2.Department of HistoryThe University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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