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Plant economy during the Neolithic in a mountain context: the case of “Le Chenet des Pierres” in the French Alps (Bozel-Savoie, France)

Jacomet, Stefanie
Thiebault, Stéphanie
Published in Vegetation history and archaeobotany. 2008, vol. 17, no. S1, p. 113-122
Abstract The analyses of archaeobotanical assemblages recovered in recent excavations in the northern French Alps permit a better understanding of the way people managed plant resources in a mountain context during the Middle Neolithic (4500–3500 cal b.c.). The aim of this paper is to shed new light on the question of crop cultivation as well as wood gathering and management from the results of the new archaeobotanical investigations at “Le Chenet des Pierres” in Bozel (Savoie, France; 1,000 m. a.s.l.). The study reveals the presence of cereals like einkorn (Triticum monococcum), emmer (T. dicoccum), naked wheat (T. aestivum/durum/turgidum) and barley (Hordeum vulgare/distichon). In addition wild fruits and nuts, probably gathered, such as hazelnuts (Corylus avellana), wild apples (Malus sylvestris), arolla pine kernels (Pinus cembra), sloes (Prunus spinosa) and raspberries (Rubus idaeus) were recorded. The anthracological analysis shows that the occupants exploited mostly a mixed oak forest, and the available woodland from the alluvial forest to the mountain areas. With the archaeobotanical study of “Le Chenet des Pierres” we also want to raise the question of crop cultivation in a mountain context. Although present data show that cultivation at higher altitudes is common, it is still difficult to demonstrate the inhabitants cultivated plants near their settlement during the Neolithic.
Keywords Seeds and fruitsCharcoalsAlpsNeolithicSubsistence strategy
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MARTIN, Lucie, JACOMET, Stefanie, THIEBAULT, Stéphanie. Plant economy during the Neolithic in a mountain context: the case of “Le Chenet des Pierres” in the French Alps (Bozel-Savoie, France). In: Vegetation history and archaeobotany, 2008, vol. 17, n° S1, p. 113-122. doi: 10.1007/s00334-008-0191-5

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Deposited on : 2011-11-24

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