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Title: The contribution of botanical macro-remains to the study of wild plant consumption during the Later Stone Age and the Neolithic of north-western Africa
Authors: Morales, Jacob 
UNESCO Clasification: 550501 Arqueología
510201 Agricultura
Keywords: Maghreb
Late Pleistocene
Early Holocene
Capsian, et al
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: 2352-409X
Journal: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 
Abstract: A prevalence of caries among the human remains from Later Stone Age sites in the north-west of Africa (c. 15 ka to 7.5 ka cal BP) suggests frequent consumption of carbohydrate-rich plants. Yet evidence of botanical exploitation is relatively limited due to the lack of systematic sampling and analysis of plant remains. This study aims to identify the wild plants serving for human subsistence during the Later Stone Age and Neolithic, and evaluate their role in the human diet by analysing the plant macro-fossils (charred seeds, fruits and other plant organs) from four recent excavations in Morocco and Tunisia. The most common species are acorn (Quercus), pine nut (Pinus), legumes (Lathyrus/Lens/Vicia), juniper (Juniperus), and wild pistachios (Pistacia). These plants, rich in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, offer a broad range of nutrients. Moreover, ethnographic records and the presence of charred remains of Alfa grass at the sites suggest storage of acorns and other plants in baskets. Gathering and thermal processing of wild plants such as acorns could therefore account for a prevalence of caries among Later Stone Age populations.
ISSN: 2352-409X
DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.06.026
Source: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports[ISSN 2352-409X],v. 22, p. 401-412
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