Past plant use in Jordan as revealed by archaeological and ethnoarchaeological phytolith signatures
Authors: Jenkins, E.L., Baker, A. and Elliott, S.
Editors: Mithen, S.J. and Black, E.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press/UNESCO
Place of Publication: Cambridge/New York
Ninety-six phytolith samples were analysed from seven archaeological sites ranging from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic to the Classical period and from two ethnoarchaeological sites in Jordan. The aims were to test the possibility of detecting past irrigation with the methodology outlined by Madella et al. (2009) and Jenkins et al. (Chapter 21, this volume) and to study the contextual and temporal variation of plant use in Jordan. We utilised a water availability index using the proportion of phytolith types and ordination statistical methods to explore the similarities between the phytolith assemblages. The result of applying the irrigation methodology was promising, with contexts from water channels showing the greatest indication of water availability. Changes in plant use through time were also apparent with regard to phytolith densities and taxonomy. Date palm was identified in the Pottery Neolithic, providing one of the earliest records for this taxon in Jordan. This study shows the potential of both the water availability index and the value of inter-site comparison of phytolith assemblages.
Preferred by: Emma Jenkins