You are here: Home / Projects / BAREO / Bibliograhy / Belgian Bioarchaeology Near East / Wild or cultivated Olea europaea L. in the eastern Mediterranean during the middle–late Holocene? A pollen-numerical approach

David Kaniewski, Etienne Paulissen, Elise Van Campo, Johan Bakker, Karel Van Lerberghe, and Marc Waelkens (2009)

Wild or cultivated Olea europaea L. in the eastern Mediterranean during the middle–late Holocene? A pollen-numerical approach

The Holocene, 19(7):1039–1047.

Assessment of the wild or cultivated origin of Olea europaea L. during the middle to late Holocene according to pollen analyses is of palaeoecological and evolutionary interest as olive is thought to be one of the earliest cultivated trees and is still one of the most important fruit trees of the eastern Mediterranean. This paper considers data from the Bronze–Iron Age harbour-town, Tell Tweini, of the Ugarit Kingdom, in the Syrian coastal lowland near Jableh (17 m a.s.l.) and from the Hellenistic–Roman Moatra-Bereket (1410 m a.s.l.), in the territory of Sagalassos, in Turkey's western Taurus Mountains. Both of these sites have recorded the rise and collapse of early eastern Mediterranean urban systems from 4200 to 1600 cal. yr BP. The Syrian data suggest that the Olea pollen-type originated from wild varieties during the Bronze and Iron Ages despite archaeological evidence for olive cultivation in the northern Levant. For Turkey, the results of the pollen-numerical analyses support the existing archaeological evidence of a wealthy oleoculture in Hellenistic and Roman Anatolia and suggest important anthropogenic pressures on local ecosystems.

Sagalassos

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