Wednesday, 17 October 2012
Above, at excavations in the Gamo-Baroda Project in Southern Ethiopia, directed by Kathryn Arthur, John Arthur, and Matthew Curtis.
Catal Hoyuk (Turkey).
Monday, 16 April 2012
Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Last year this hypothesis also got support from an anatomical study of weedy rice in the USA, by Thurber, Kepler and Caicedo in BMC Plant Biology which shows that the abscission layer which leads to shattering is clearly distinct from non-shattering domesticated rice but also differs from shattering wild rices in terms of its timing in development: it breaks down sooner leading to earlier shattering than in wild rice. This presumably is an useful adapation for beating the farmer to it and getting into the seedbank before the rice harvest. Thurber et al conclude that this points to unidentified regulatory genes that allowed weedy rice, derived from the crop, to reacquire wild-type shattering. (Whether one might be able to tell weedy from wild rice on the physical remains of spikelet bases is another matter, but surely worthy of investigation by an archaeobotanist!). What is more, genetic characterization (Thurber et al 2010 Molecular Ecology) found that these weedy rices all possessed the sh4 mutation that characterizes domesticated non-shattering rices! This points unambiguously to the acquisition of a different novel mutation that allows shattering. A few years ago Londo & Schaal (in Molecular Ecology) did some haplotyping of American weedy rices and found mutliple origins, with haplotypes from japonica, indica and aus rices (as well as some hybridization).
So rice has a proclivity to weediness, as with many other crops, and the wild progenitor per se may be less to blame. Contrast this with crops that have been domesticated from weeds (oat, rye, kodo millet) and we can begin to think about alternative pathways to and from being a weed.
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Plant archaeogenetics and archaeogenomics
Session organizers are Angela Schlumbaum, Basel and Terry Brown, Manchester. Those interested in contributing please contact the session organisers.
This can be added to two earlier proposed thematic sessions:
Monday, 19 March 2012
Friday, 16 March 2012
Friday, 9 March 2012
Thursday, 8 March 2012
The trends that Yang and colleagues have found, towards more of the larger Setaria italica like starches are suggestive a subsistence shift, and potentially as the authors argue, of changes evolving in foxtail millet, as part of the domestication process. More data from more sites and periods are needed, however, to confirm whether this a real trend. It would also be nice to see what these kinds of ratios look like on later sites with clear macro-remains of domesticated foxtail millet.
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
Monday, 5 March 2012
The archaeology of this site has received plenty of media attention on-line already, and a useful summary at about.com.
Sunday, 4 March 2012
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Friday, 17 February 2012
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Saturday, 11 February 2012
|Posing for a photo with recently harvested jut that is about to retted in the side channel of the Son river behind.|
This topic obviously relates to the discussion article that this group published in the last World Archaeology, on food globalization in prehistoric Eurasia (which I have not gotten around to commenting on previously in this blog.
Here is the precis for their session:Food Globalization in Prehistory Across Eurasia. Chair of a session: Prof. Martin K. Jones
A variety of crops that originated in China or central Asia, such as the Chinese millets and buckwheat, had appeared in Europe by the 5th millennium BC, while by the end of the second millennium BC, the south-west Asian crops, wheat and barley, had reached several parts of China.
Friday, 10 February 2012
|seeds & chaff from Iran and SE Turkey (Riehl et al)|
On a personal note, this issue marks a major foray into thinking about the dynamics of domestication is what remains the best archaeobotanically studied region of agricultural origins, but even here we still have a quite patchy dataset to work with.