What is on the craftsmen’s menu? Plant consumption at Datrana, a 5000-year-old lithic blade workshop in North Gujarat, India

Abstract

The exploitation of lithic resources was an important aspect of prehistoric resource exploitation strategies and adaptation. Research has mostly focused on technological and spatial aspects of lithic factory sites, often overlooking how these sites were integrated within local socioecological dynamics in terms of food acquisition and consumption. The aim of this paper is to study plant consumption at Datrana, a 5000-year-old lithic blade workshop in North Gujarat, India, in order to understand its occupants’ subsistence strategies. The results of archaeobotanical, mineralogical and soil pH analyses show that the occupants of this factory site were consuming local crops but not processing them, suggesting that either (a) food was being processed in other areas of the site or (b) it was acquired in a ‘ready-to-consume’ state from local food-producing communities. This study highlights the integration of a lithic factory site within its surrounding cultural and natural landscape, offering an example of how the inhabitants of a workshop interacted with local communities to acquire food resources.

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Acknowledgments

Fieldwork at Datrana IV was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (Programa de Ayudas para Proyectos Arqueológicos en el Exterior 2010), and laboratory work was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Programa I+D, HAR2010-16052). We are grateful to the members of the NoGAP project for their help during fieldwork, to Débora Zurro and Jorge Caro-Saiz for the numerous discussions and to the Archaeological Survey of India for granting excavation permission. JJGG acknowledges funding from a JAE-PreDOC doctoral research grant (Spanish National Research Council and European Social Fund). CaSEs is a Grup de Recerca Emergent (SGR-e 1417) of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

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Correspondence to Juan José García-Granero.

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García-Granero, J.J., Gadekar, C., Esteban, I. et al. What is on the craftsmen’s menu? Plant consumption at Datrana, a 5000-year-old lithic blade workshop in North Gujarat, India. Archaeol Anthropol Sci 9, 251–263 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-015-0281-0

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Keywords

  • Lithic workshop
  • Craft specialisation
  • Archaeobotany
  • Mineralogy
  • Subsistence strategies
  • South Asia