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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / Landwirtschaft und Landnutzung in der Region von Ovčarovo-Gorata: archäobotanische Forschungen zum Frühneolithikum in Nordostbulgarien

Elena Marinova (2014)

Landwirtschaft und Landnutzung in der Region von Ovčarovo-Gorata: archäobotanische Forschungen zum Frühneolithikum in Nordostbulgarien

Archäologie in Eurasien, 29:272-277.

There is no archaeobotanical evidence from the site Ovčarovo-Gorata. During the excavations of the site in the 1970ties neither archaeobotanical sampling nor survey for pollen analysis in the surrounding were conducted. Those research gaps could partly be compensated by the archaeobotanical studies on the Neolithic settlements of Orlovec, Koprivec, Samovodene und Džuljunica carried out in the period of 1996-2006. The paleobotanical evidence from those sites allows to reconstruct the agriculture and land use in the region of Ovčarovo-Gorata during the Neolithic and to put them in a regional context. The current study is based on identification and analysis of charred (and few mineralised) plant remains, like seeds/fruits and charred wood. Those plant remains were extracted from the sediment samples (average volumes 10-20 litre) using manual floation. The here considered archaeobotanical data includes 31 samples, with total volume of 430 l and containing over 2400 identified plant remains. The archaeobotanical finds were analysed with the help of binocular and reflected light microscope, as well as corresponding identification literature and reference materials from the herbarium at the Department of Botany of the Sofia University. The early Neolithic samples from Džuljunica, Orlovec and from the oldest layers of Koprivec could be considered as synchronous and belong to the earliest phase of the Neolithic in the region (ca. 6100-5700 calBC). The samples from the early Neolithic layers of Samovodene (horizon 11-8) belong to the developed early Neolithic and are considered as contemporary with the period Karanovo II in Thrace and correspondently to the occupation of Ovčarovo-Gorata (ca. 5700-5400 calBC). Few of the samples (n=4) come also from the Late Neolithic (ca. 5400-4800 calBC) in the region, from Samovodene (horizon 5-3) and from Koprivec. The results of the archaeobotanical studies show the combination of the three main cereal crops (einkorn, emmer and barley) known also from the early Neolithic of Thessaly and Anatolia. In the samples from northeast Bulgaria the dominating cereal crop is the hulled barley, what is a clear difference from the southern parts of Bulgaria where in the early Neolithic the dominating cereal crops are hulled wheats – einkorn and emmer. The further principal crops, typical for the Neolithic period, are also found in the earliest phases of the Neolithic in the region. Those are a variety of pulses (lentil, pea and grass pea) as well as flax. In the late Neolithic samples there are also finds of bitter vetch. The wide spectrum of gathered plants (at least 11 taxa) reflects also the use of the natural vegetation resources from a variety of habitats in the surrounding. Further evidence which could be used for reconstructing the vegetation and land use in the Neolithic are the wood charcoal identifications from Džuljunica. Considering those sources of information it could be concluded that in the surrounding of the sites apart of oak forests also open vegetation, riparian forests and wetlands were developed. The relative open vegetation in the surrounding of the early Neolithic settlements could be one of the reasons why the corresponding locations were chosen by the Neolithic people to settle there. On the other hand this open vegetation could be caused by the Neolithic land use and animal husbandry, which have also led to certain reduction of the forests in the immediate surroundings of the settlements.
Peer Review
Archéologie : Danubien, Archéologie : Néolithique
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