Economic Botany

, 61:290 | Cite as

Urartian plant cultivation at Yoncatepe (Van), eastern Turkey

  • Emel Oybak DönmezEmail author
  • Oktay Belli
Research Articles


Plant remains were recovered from an Urartian settlement, Yoncatepe, situated in the Van province of eastern Turkey and dating to the Iron Age period (first millennium B.C.E.). Large quantities of hulled barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and of bread/macaroni wheat (free-threshing wheat) Triticum aestivum L./T. durum Desf.), both mixed with small quantities of domesticated emmer wheat (T. dicoccum Schübl.), were found in the storerooms of the Yoncatepe palace, indicating the storage of agricultural surplus. Rye (Secale cereale L.) grains occur very occasionally, while pulses include lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.), chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), and bitter vetch (Vicia ervilia [L.] Willd.). Grape seeds unearthed in a tomb at Yoncatepe provide physical evidence supporting written records of vineyards. Numerous seeds of gold of pleasure (Camelina sativa [L.] Crantz), found in a storage vessel, provide evidence of the cultivation of this plant. It is likely, that the Urartians used the seeds for oil extraction.

Key words

Urartu archaeobotany palaeoethnobotany storage Yoncatepe Anatolia Iron Age 

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceHacettepe UniversityBeytepe, AnkaraTurkey
  2. 2.Istanbul UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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