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The origins of agriculture in North-West Africa: macro-botanical remains from Epipalaeolithic and Early Neolithic levels of Ifri Oudadane (Morocco).

Abstract

This research aims to shed light on the early stages of agricultural development in Northern Africa through the analysis of the rich macro-botanical assemblages obtained from Ifri Oudadane, an EpipalaeolithicEarly Neolithic site from North-East Morocco. Results indicate the presence of domesticated plants, cereals (Hordeum vulgare, Triticum monococcum/dicoccum, Triticum durum and Triticum aestivum/durum) and pulses (Lens culinaris and Pisum sativum) in the Early Neolithic. One lentil has been dated to 7611 37 cal BP representing the oldest direct date of a domesticated plant seed in Morocco and, by extension, in North Africa. Similarities in both radiocarbon dates and crop assemblages from Early Neolithic sites in Northern Morocco and the Iberian Peninsula suggest a simultaneous East to West maritime spread of agriculture along the shores of the Western Mediterranean. Wild plants were abundantly collected in both the Epipalaeolithic and the Early Neolithic periods pointing to the important role of these resources during the two periods. In addition to fruits and seeds that could have been consumed by both humans and domesticated animals, fragments of esparto grass (Stipa tenacissima) rhizomes have been identified. This is a western Mediterranean native plant that may have been used as a source of fibres for basketry.

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Bibliography

Morales, J., Pérez-Jordà, G., Peña-Chocarro, L., Zapata, L., Ruíz-Alonso, M., López-Sáez, J., Linstädter, J. (2013): The origins of agriculture in North-West Africa: macro-botanical remains from Epipalaeolithic and Early Neolithic levels of Ifri Oudadane (Morocco).. – In: Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 40(6), p: 2659–2669, DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2013.01.026

Authors Morales, J. and Pérez-Jordà, G. and Peña-Chocarro, L. and Zapata, L. and Ruíz-Alonso, M. and López-Sáez, J. A. and Linstädter, J.
Type article
Title The origins of agriculture in North-West Africa: macro-botanical remains from Epipalaeolithic and Early Neolithic levels of Ifri Oudadane (Morocco).
DOI 10.1016/j.jas.2013.01.026
Journal Journal of Archaeological Science
Year 2013
Volume 40
Number 6
Pages 2659–2669
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