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Archaeobotanical and isotopic evidence of Early Bronze Age farming activities and diet in the mountainous environment of the South Caucasus: A pilot study of Chobareti site (Samtskhe-Javakheti region)

Authors
Messager, Erwan
Herrscher, Estelle
Kvavadze, Eliso
Martkoplishvili, Inga
Delhon, Claire
Kakhiani, Kakha
Bedianashvili, Giorgi
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Published in Journal of Archaeological Science. 2015, vol. 53, p. 214-226
Abstract Recent excavation at the site of Chobareti (1615 m a.s.l., South Caucasus Mountains) reveals an important Kura-Araxes settlement and eleven burials so far, for which a first multi-proxies approach was conducted to understand both exploitation of plants and human dietary practices in this mountainous area. Thanks to the excavation of several pits, in 2011, a well-reasoned sampling for archaeobotanical analysis, including phytoliths, pollen and non-pollen palynomorphs, charcoal, seeds and other plant macroremains was undertaken. In parallel, human, animal bones and wheat seeds were recovered in order to perform stable isotope analysis (δ13C, δ15N). Results show the strong presence of cereals (especially naked wheat, as a hexaploid form, and emmer), highlighting the role played by cereal growing in the Kura-Araxes farming activities. Plant macroremains, but also phytoliths recovered in pits, reflect processing activities on the site. While animal dung seems to have been used to enhance cereal yields, different herding practices can be suggested by δ15N values. Whereas δ13C values and archaeobotanical data agree for a consumption of C3 plants, with no significant input in wheat for both animals and humans, a homogeneous mixed diet, with a great contribution of animal protein source (meat, secondary products) has been observed.
Keywords South CaucasusEarly Bronze AgePlant macroremainsPollens and phytolithsHuman and animal skeletonsStable isotope analysisFarming activities
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Research group Laboratory of Prehistoric Archeology and Anthropology
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MESSAGER, Erwan et al. Archaeobotanical and isotopic evidence of Early Bronze Age farming activities and diet in the mountainous environment of the South Caucasus: A pilot study of Chobareti site (Samtskhe-Javakheti region). In: Journal of Archaeological Science, 2015, vol. 53, p. 214-226. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:41304

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Deposited on : 2014-10-29

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