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Sidonie Preiss (ed.) (2013)

Aspects of agriculture and diet of the Medieval period (10th-12th century AD) in northern France

Scholl of History and Archaeology Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece, 16th Conference of the International Work Group for Palaeoethnobotany.

Archaeobotanical investigations of six medieval sites in Northern France (Picardy) have provided charred and mineralised plant remains (seeds and fruits). Despite some taphonomical constraints of the different preservation of these plant assemblages, archaeobotanical analysis revealed valuable information on the diet, the agriculture and the horticultural production of the medieval population in Northern France between 10th and 12th Century AD. The archaeobotanical results were influenced by the different types of features from which macro-remains were retrieved and by the reliability of the samples. The main crops plants were naked wheat and rye. The pulses, pea and common vetch are the major common crops with field bean. Fruits are very abundant and attest a wide-spread fructiculture. The number of recorded remains from the “wild forest fruits” raises the question of their probable cultivation or of their exploitation in forest. The Vineyard seems very well implanted in the region. Recurring macrorests of fig question about the status imported of Mediterranean fruits or cultivated locally by the tree. The social context of four archaeological sites is high. The potential of archaeobotanical data helping to identify social differences by defining archaeobotanical indicators of social level is to be discussed from the food practices and the diet. Finally, the mineralization process is approached and its induction by practices of purification within latrines / pits garbage dumps is suggested.
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