ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0252.v2
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Archaeology Keywords: waterlogged preservation; arboriculture; crop expansion; urban area; Iberian Peninsula
Online: 28 April 2022 (09:47:33 CEST)
The Roman economy of the Iberian Peninsula has habitually been characterised in terms of prestige goods and economic activities such as trade, mining and metallurgy. The analysis of plant-based foods –less prestigious but more essential in everyday life– has commonly been marginalised in state-of-the-art reviews. The O Areal saltworks is exceptional in terms of the large number of organic materials it preserves, and the excellent state of that preservation. After its abandonment (end of the 3rd/4th century AD), the saltworks was briefly used as a dumping ground for the surrounding area. The site's archaeobotanical remains, preserved under anoxic, waterlogged conditions, consist of the building materials used at the saltworks, tools and other artefacts, organic objects employed in activities such as fishing, and refuse. The assemblage suggests a wide diversity of species to have been introduced into northwestern Iberia during the Roman Period, including the mulberry, peach, fig, plum, grapevine, and melon. The notable presence of other edible fruit species that normally grew wild during this period, such as chestnut, walnut, stone pine, and cherry trees, might be related to the start of their cultivation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202201.0284.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Archaeology Keywords: urban; rural; millet; garden; orchard; Iberian Peninsula; High/Late Middle Ages
Online: 19 January 2022 (16:57:08 CET)
Towns emerged as dynamic economic and political centers during the Middle Ages, giving rise to the emergence of new social classes. As a result of these functions, a new relationship began to be forged with the rural world, which supplied towns with foodstuffs that satisfied new social demands. Archaeobotanical analysis (carpology) allows us to understand the flow of cash crops by tracing seeds and fruits produced in the countryside that were consumed in and redistributed from the towns. The study of waterlogged contexts from medieval archaeological sites in the Kingdom of Galicia (Santiago de Compostela, Padrón, and Pontevedra) has provided a set of species that played a crucial role in the economy of the urban dwellers and that possibly were related to differential access or food preferences. Evidence for fruits (grapes, chestnuts, figs, apples, and cherries, among others), garden crops (melon), and cereals (foxtail millet, rye, naked wheat, and oat) has been documented. Broomcorn millet is particularly abundant, demonstrating that it was important for subsistence. Some of the species found (medlar, turnip/grelo, and spinach) are novel in the archaeobotanical literature of the medieval period in the Iberian Peninsula.