International WorkGroup for Paleoethnobotany, Paris 2016

Résumé du poster présenté au International WorkGroup for Paleoethnobotany (IWGP), Paris juillet 2016/Resumen del poster que se presentó en el congreso internacional de paleobotánica (International WorkGroup for Paleoethnobotany, o IWGP) que tuvo lugar en Paris en julio de 2016.

« Agriculture and wood management in Islamic Extremadura (Spain) »

JérômeROS,  Mónica RUIZ ALONSO , Sophie GILOTTE


Started in 2009, the multidisciplinary project in the archaeological settlement of Albalat (Extremadura, Spain) aims to document the small fortified Islamic establishment, mentioned by the textual sources from the second half of the 10th century. Located on a terrace dominating one of the fords that cross the Tagus river, the site became for the Christian troops a strategic objective, leading to the siege and the systematic destruction of the city in the mid- 12th century. Covering a total area of more than 1000 m2, the excavation has revealed various types of contexts organized along streets: domestic spaces (kitchens, ovens, storage and patios), craft spaces (forge), as well as a hammām installed at the foot of the wall of the city.

Archaeobotanical material, extracted from about 150 samples, comprises charred and mineralized seeds/fruits as well as charcoals in varying degrees of abundance. From the analysis of the carpological samples, 19 cultivated/gathered taxa were found: 7 cereals, 1 pulse, 1 technical/oil plants and 10 fruits, and approximately an additional 20 weeds/wild plants. Triticum aestivum/turgidum, Hordeum vulgare, Secale cereale and Panicum miliaceum were the principal crops, produced in local fields. The numerous cereal chaff and straw remains discovered suggest their use as fodder or litter in the biggest houses of the city. The pulses, less common than cereals, are mainly represented by Vicia cf. sativa. The most frequent fruits are Ficus carica and Quercus spec., although a large diversity of cultivated/gathered species was used (Castanea sativa, Morus alba/nigra, Olea europea, Malus/Pyrus, Prunus avium/cerasus, Prunus persica, Prunus dulcis, Vitis vinifera,). Linum usitatissimum is also commonly found. The exploitation of dry, rich soils is suggested by the discovery of several nitrophilous taxa (Lolium temulentum, Agrostemma githago, Solanum nigrum). In the meantime, charcoals testify of the exploitation of various habitats for timber and firewood, such as the oak forest (Quercus coccifera/ilex), the riparian woods and orchards. This study allows for the first time to shed light on the plant species exploited and on their uses by the Islamic populations of this area, at the edge of al-Andalus.