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Discriminating wild vs domestic cereal harvesting micropolish through laser confocal microscopy

AuthorsIbáñez-Estévez, Juan José ; González Urquijo, Jesús E.; Gibaja, Juan Francisco
KeywordsUse wear analysis
Micropolish quantification
Laser confocal microscopy
Cereal harvesting
Near East
Issue Date2014
PublisherAcademic Press
CitationJournal of Archaeological Science (48) : 96-103 (2014)
AbstractThough it is well established that cereal domestication took place in the Near East, between 10,000 and 7000 cal BC., there are still many open questions about when, where and how this process took place. As one way to advance these questions, we propose focusing on the use-wear analysis of sickle elements. Wild cereals must be harvested before the complete maturation of the plant, while domestic cereals are harvested ripe. This difference in the degree in humidity when harvesting provokes differences in the characteristics of the use-wear polish. In this paper we measure both types of use-wear polish in experimental tools through laser confocal microscopy. Later, the discriminant function which distinguishes both types of use-wear polishes is used to classify four archaeological sickle elements from Late PPNB, Middle PPNB, PPNA and Natufian archaeological levels. Preliminary results show that the classification of the archaeological sickle elements according to the wild/semi-green vs domestic/ripe experimental tools is coherent with archaeobotanical data.
Publisher version (URL)http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440313003592
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