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Millet microremains-an alternative approach to understand cultivation and use of critical crops in Prehistory

AuthorsMadella, Marco ; Lancelotti, Carla ; García-Granero Fos, Juan José
KeywordsSmall millets
Starch grains
Plant microfossils
Issue Date2016
CitationArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences (8) : 17-28 (2016)
AbstractThe term “millets” is used to identify several genera of grasses (Poaceae), most of which belong to the subfamily Panicoideae. Millets are one of the major food sources in arid and semi-arid areas of the world and they have been important crops in the prehistory of Africa and Eurasia. In this paper, we discuss phytoliths and starch grains from two of the less studied major millets (Pennisetum glaucum and Sorghum bicolor) as well as from some small millet species that are not normally considered of much importance (so-called forgotten millets: Digitaria ciliaris, Echinochloa colona, Echinochloa frumentacea, Brachiaria ramosa, Setaria pumila and Setaria verticillata). The preliminary results of this study on phytolith morphology, both at single and joined (silica skeletons) morphotypes, and starch grains show great potentials for the identification of different genus or species on the basis of microremains.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12520-013-0130-y
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s12520-013-0130-y
issn: 1866-9557
e-issn: 1866-9565
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