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Economic Botany

, Volume 58, Supplement 1, pp S125–S134 | Cite as

Small-grained wild grasses as staple food at the 23 000-year-old site of Ohalo II, Israel

  • Ehud Weiss
  • Mordechai E. Kislev
  • Orit Simchoni
  • Dani Nadel
Article

Abstract

More than 16 000 grains of small-grained grasses were retrieved at Ohalo II, a submerged 23 000-year-old site on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Israel. The grains were part of a very large archaeobotanical assemblage, unique for its period and region, as well as its exceptionally good preservation. This paper proposes that these grains were a staple food at Ohalo II, based on several lines of evidence: 1. the large number of grains found; 2. the fact that all grains were fully mature; and 3. ethnographic parallels for the use of small-grained grasses in hunter-gatherers’ societies as well as among present-day agriculturalists.

Key Words:

Diet hunter-gatherers Ohalo II palaeoethnobotany small-grained wild grasses staple food Upper Palaeolithic 

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ehud Weiss
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mordechai E. Kislev
    • 2
  • Orit Simchoni
    • 2
  • Dani Nadel
    • 3
  1. 1.MacCurdy Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of AnthropologyPeabody Museum, Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of Life Sciences and Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and ArchaeologyBar-Han UniversityRamat-GanIsrael
  3. 3.Zinman Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsarael

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