New insights into past agriculture: a modern approach to exploring past agriculture with the aim of 3D Geometric Morphometrics

GIAP (ICAC)’s PhD candidate Alexandra Kriti will present in the 7th ARCH_RNT Archaeological Research & New Technologies, which takes place on 6-8th October 2022 in Kalamata (Greece).

New insights into past agriculture:  a modern experimental cultivation project that explores past agriculture with the aim of 3D Geometric Morphometrics
Alexandra E.T. Kriti1, Alexandra Livarda1, Hector A. Orengo1, Ioannis Mylonas2 and Elissavet Ninou3

1 Landscape Archaeology Research Group (GIAP), Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology (ICAC), Tarragona, Spain
Hellenic Agricultural Organization-Dimitra, Institute of Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources, Thermi, Thessaloniki, 57001, Greece
Department of Agriculture, International Hellenic University (IHU), Sindos, Thessaloniki, 57400, Greece 

In this paper we aim to present a new experimental cultivation project in the north of Greece, and how this can be used towards the development of new tools that will allow investigation of agriculture in the past. The project focuses on barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and involves their experimental cultivation under different cultivation regimes at the Institute of Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources, based at Thermi Thessaloniki, north Greece. The barley genotypes are originating from various regions of contemporary Greece and constitute the traditional landraces of each region up to the point of the Green Revolution. We have also included a modern cultivar from Thessaloniki, which is used as a control reference. 

Different cultivation regimes are examined by differentiating input levels of water and manure, simulating traditional agricultural practices. By conducting regular observations and measurements on all the plants during their growth, we are assessing the landraces’ response to the climatic and environmental conditions, as well as their potential impact on the phenotype of the grain and its dietary value.   After presenting the experiment we discuss the on-going application of a combination of various methods, such as stable isotope analysis, geometric modern morphometrics and artificial intelligence, on the harvested grains and how these can be applied to inform on past agriculture. 

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