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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017 / Economic plants from medieval and post-medieval Brussels (Belgium), an overview of the archaeobotanical records.

Lien Speleers and Jan M. van der Valk (2017)

Economic plants from medieval and post-medieval Brussels (Belgium), an overview of the archaeobotanical records.

Quaternary International, 436:96-109.

Archaeobotanical research in the city centre of Brussels is still in its infancy. However, the increasing amount of carpological data collected during the last two decades permits a first review. In this paper a synthesis of identified seeds and fruits of economic plants from ten sites in Brussels is presented. It comprises data from 53 archaeological features, dated between the 8th and 20th century. The majority of the remains are preserved through waterlogging and were found during archaeological rescue excavations in the Senne alluvial valley. Charred remains were regularly found as well, but in smaller quantities. They are the most abundantly identified remains in the topographically higher parts of Brussels. Some mineralized plant remains are also determined, mainly found in cesspits. Diachronic and local differences in the archaeobotanical assemblages are discussed. Plant remains from the pre-urban phase (before 1200 AD) show a variety of different cereal species and shed light on some locally cultivated pulses, vegetables, fruits and kitchen herbs. In the late medieval phase (13th e15th c.) the economic plant spectrum enlarges, with exotic imports from Africa, Asia and southern Europe. From the 17th century onwards introductions from America appear.
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