Strong presence of the archaeobotany team in the 2nd Meeting of the Archaeobotany in Greece Group!

Today marks the start of the 2nd Meeting of the Archaeobotany in Greece Group (MAGG), an international conference which is taking place in 26-27 January 2023 at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Three GIAP (ICAC) archaobotanists are giving talks on the 27th January, presenting the main results of our ongoing projects:

Check the conference’s full programme

Titles and abstracts:

Modern Experimental Cultivations of Barley; Methods, Preliminary Results, Possibilities, and Limitations
Alexandra E.T.Kriti, Alexandra Livarda, Hèctor A. Orengo

Experimental cultivations of 22 barley traditional landraces from across the Aegean have been conducted in the past two years as part of a collaboration of the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology/GIAP and ELGO-Demeter. The experimental cultivations were successful with two harvest seasons in the summers of 2021 and 2022. 

A variety of methods were applied throughout the lifecycle of the cultivations, to monitor, record, analyse and even visualise the perceived data. Preliminary results allow us to see the possibilities that lay ahead certain methods in archaebotany, and even how they could possibly inform contemporary agriculture and biodiversity conservation. 

Finally, next steps and future project goals will be discussed in relation to the aforementioned.

Archaeobotany and computational archaeology synergies: from prehistoric Aegean to Roman Europe
Alexandra Livarda, Hector Orengo, Paloma Aliende, Theoni Baniou, Charlotte Diffey, Alexandra Kriti, Ioannis Mylonas, Elisa Ninou, Federica Riso and Patricia Vandorpe

This talk will present the archaeobotanical work conducted at the Landscape Archaeology Research Group (GIAP) based at the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology, Tarragona, Spain, and its synergies with the computational archaeology team. The projects of the group will be outlined, highlighting in particular two of them: “The Aegean ‘Dark Ages’ revisited: a novel approach to old debates on agricultural economy and food culture” and “Urbanisation, commerce and foodways in the Roman world”. The challenges and opportunities arising from the interdisciplinary work will be discussed as well as its innovation potential.

DarkSeeds: Investigating the nature of Late Bronze Age – Early Iron Age agricultural economies in the Aegean through the use of stable isotope analyses and 3D morphometrics 
Charlotte Diffey

The period spanning the end of the Late Bronze Age and the beginning of the Early Iron Age saw significant change throughout the Aegean, with the collapse of palatial societies in the south, the decline of population groups and the proliferation of new socio-political organizations. These changes have led scholars (e.g. Snodgrass, 1987) to suggest that agriculture underwent a similar transformation, as the large-scale integrated agro-pastoral systems of the BA were largely abandoned and farmers turned to a more pastoral economy. This view has been thoroughly critiqued (e.g. Jones, 1987), but the nature of agricultural management during this period has been relatively understudied by comparison with other periods, due to a lack of primary archaeobotanical material.

Over the last decade, however, an increasing number of archaeobotanical assemblages have become available for the EIA allowing for new interpretations of ancient agricultural practices. This paper will introduce the project DarkSeeds which aims to re-examine and provide new explanatory models for LBA-EIA agricultural economies through a novel combination of targeted crop stable isotope analyses and a newly developed 3D GMM recording methodology. The project will seek to produce new primary data as well as synthesizing existing results from six key sites across the Aegean (Methone and Paralimni in northern Greece, Lefkandi in central Greece, Villa Dionysus, Little Palace North at Knossos and Palaikastro in Crete). This data will then be used to propose specific agricultural management strategies for each site as well as allowing for an in-depth, evidence-based understanding of economic variability throughout the LBA-EIA period in the Aegean. 

Snodgrass 1987. An Archaeology of Greece: The Present State and Future Scope of a Discipline. UCP.  
Jones 1987. Agricultural Practice in Greek Prehistory. Annual of the British School at Athens (Ann. BSA), 82: 115-123.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency (REA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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