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Archaeobotanical analysis from the long-term rural settlement of Contrada Castro (Corleone, Palermo): preliminary data

AuthorsCastrorao Barba, Angelo ; Bazan, Giuseppe; Speciale, Claudia; Vassallo, Stefano; Marino, Pasquale
KeywordsContrada Castro (Corleone, Palermo)
Excavaciones arqueológicas
Issue Date5-Sep-2019
AbstractThe project ¿Harvesting Memories: Ecology and Archaeology of Monti Sicani landscapes¿ aims to analyse the long-term relationship of landscape dynamics and settlement patterns in a Mediterranean inland of Central-Western Sicily. The project combined different interdisciplinary approaches of vegetation science, landscape ecology, history and archaeology in order to diachronically understand and reconstruct the human- society-environment interactions. From 2017 to 2019 a new rural settlement has been investigated in Contrada Castro (Corleone, Palermo). The excavation in Contrada Castro showed a clear case of long-term occupation of an hill-top site during Late Archaic/Classical age (6 th -5 th c. BC) and the Byzantine and Islamic period (7 th -11 th c. AD). Soils from the archaeological excavation were sampled to obtain evidences about paleo-vegetation and vegetal paleo-diet. Archaeobotanical data (seeds and charcoal remains) represent an informative source in human-environmental dynamics to collect specific data on a small scale in terms of chronology and topography (Hastorf, Popper 1988; Pearsall 2009). Furthermore, presence of edible plants as cereals, pulses and fruit characterize their use as economical resources. Unfortunately, archaeobotanical analyses from archaeological sites in Sicily are still not very common (see http://brainplants.successoterra.net/sites.html). For the reconstruction of the paleo-environment and the use of arboreal resources from the three chronological phases of the site, a total of 239 liters of soils were analysed. Taxonomical identification was made by optical microscopy through the comparison with the reference collection and specific atlases (fig.). More than 400 wood charcoals were observed, about 80% of them was identified. Thanks to comparisons with the current vegetation, so far 8 species have been identified - Quercus cfr. ilex (fig.), Pistacia cfr. terebinthus, Rhamnus alathernus, Fraxinus ornus, Ulmus canescens, Acer cfr. campestris, Ostrya carpinifolia, Populus cf. nigra; identification reached the detail of genus or subfamily in 6 cases - Quercus cf. robur / pubescens, Phillyrea sp., Sorbus sp., Rosacea cfr. Pirus sp. and maybe Moracea. The arboreal vegetation is therefore represented by evergreen oaks, semi- and deciduous oaks, maples, ash trees, associated with riparian species such as elm, poplar and hornbeam, and shrub species such as backthorn, terebinth, sorb, plum. Cultivated species are mostly not represented. Despite the widespread presence of the evergreen oaks in the whole record, differences between the three chronological phases were identified, highlighting a selective use of the wild species present in the area and a specific collection of wood for the hearths. 1) Hastorf C.A., Popper V.F.1988, Current Paleoethnobotany. Analytical Methods and Cultural Interpretations of Archaeological Plant Remains, Chicago. ISBN: 978022631893 2) Pearsall D. M. 2009, Paleoethnobotany: A Handbook of Procedures, Second Edition, Walnut Creek. ISBN-10: 1598744720 3) BRAIN Network, http://brainplants.successoterra.net/sites.html
Appears in Collections:(EEA) Comunicaciones congresos
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