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Lien Speleers and Jan van der Valk (ed.) (2013)

Archaeobotanical traces of food consumption in medieval and post-medieval Brussels (Belgium)

School of History and Archaeology Aristotle University of Thessaloniki , Thessaloniki, Greece, The International Work Group for Palaeoethnobotany.

In the study of the historical development of a city, archaeobotanical research can be a valuable addition to archaeological and historical sources. It can give us a better understanding of human diet, trade networks, socio-economic differentiation, agricultural developments and environmental conditions in the past. The archaeobotanical research of the old city center of Brussels is still in its infancy but in the last two decades macroremains from 17 sites were studied. While in the first decade these analyses were done on a rather small scale, since 2008 the macrobotanical investigations are carried out more systematically. We give a synthesis of the present carpological data from Brussels, from which we define some research questions for future studies. The oldest analyzed contexts in Brussels date back to the 11th century, the youngest to the 19th/20th century. Of particular interest are the studies of waterlogged waste pits and latrines. In Brussels they often provide very good preservation conditions. Macrobotanical finds in these contexts give direct evidence of human food consumption and shed light on imported trade ware and the status of the users of the structures.
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