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Deeply Set Roots: an Archaeobotanical Perspective on the Origins of Crop Husbandry in the Western Balkans

de Labroue de Vareilles Sommières, Anne; (2018) Deeply Set Roots: an Archaeobotanical Perspective on the Origins of Crop Husbandry in the Western Balkans. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This doctoral thesis explores the origins and development of Neolithic crop agriculture in the western Balkans from c.6100 to 4500 cal. BC, through archaeobotanical data. The western Balkans is a geographical area comprising of Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. The western Balkans is the first area in the westward spread of agriculture into Europe where different maritime and inland routes can be observed to progress simultaneously whilst retaining distinctive cultural signatures. The aim of this thesis is to identify and describe the crop packages, gathered edible plants and cultivation practices between the two streams of neolithisation, and to place them within their wider geographical and chronological contexts. As such, archaeobotanical records from Adriatic Italy, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece were also used. Data for this thesis is thus composed of samples from ten sites analysed by the author, in addition to a dataset of 244 archaeobotanical records from published and unpublished Neolithic sites. The ten sites are analysed individually before being added to the larger dataset, allowing for site-specific interpretations to be made. This thesis demonstrates that the suite of crops cultivated by the first farmers to reach Europe was not as restricted as was previously suggested by other meta-analysis approaches. Through statistical methods, spatial and diachronic differences within the crop packages are illustrated, and ecological characteristics of the possible weed flora are used to define past agricultural systems. Both environmental and cultural explanatory frameworks are sought to explain the patterns in agricultural practices, which appear to have been variably influenced by both parameters. Although domesticated fauna are not the focus of this thesis, information on animal husbandry regimes is included wherever possible, with a view to present a more accurate image of the agricultural foundations that defined the Neolithic in the western Balkans.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Deeply Set Roots: an Archaeobotanical Perspective on the Origins of Crop Husbandry in the Western Balkans
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Keywords: Archaeobotany, Neolithic, Balkans.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10047531
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