Archaeobotanical and archaeoentomological evidence from a well at Atlit-Yam indicates colder, more humid climate on the Israeli coast during the PPNC period

Mordechai E. Kislev, Anat Hartmann, Ehud Galili

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The archaeobotanical assemblage excavated from a well in a submerged settlement provided the basis for reconstructing the climate that prevailed on the coast of Israel towards the end of the PPNC period (around 7500 BP, uncalibrated). Six wild plant species were recovered from Atlit-Yam that no longer grow in the region today, but do remain in somewhat colder or more humid habitats- Cuminum cyminum, Papaver setigerum, Phoenix theophrasti, Pinus halepensis, Pistacia atlantica and Vitis sylvestris. In addition, a pest beetle, namely the granary weevil- Sitophilus granarius -that still severely infests cereal grains in the temperate regions of the world was also identified. It is therefore suggested that in the mid-8th millennium BP, the climate was apparently more humid and colder than it is today.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1301-1310
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank O. Cohen of the Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who assisted us with the identification of Cuminum cyminum ; Dr. E. Donahaye of the Department of Plant Protection, Beit-Dagan, Israel, for confirming the identification of Sitophilus granarius ; Prof. S. Jacomet of the Botanical Institute, University of Basel, Dr. R. Buxo of the Museum of Archaeology, Catalunya, and Dr. R. Neef of the German Archaeological Institute at Berlin for sending reference samples of Papaver setigerum ; Prof. Dr. H. Scholz of the Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum of Berlin for lending a seed sample of the type specimen of Phoenix theophrasti ; J. Langsam for the SEM micrographs; Prof. I. Hershkovitz and V. Eshed of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Anatomy and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University; I. Zohar of the University of Haifa; marine archaeologists and divers J.P. Dwyer, D. Moskowitz and S. Sorkis; S Ben-Yehuda for the drawings; the photographers Y. Galili and I. Grinberg; and the Irene Levi Sala Care Archaeological Foundation, the Matla and Feival Coastal Archaeological Foundation and the National Geographic Society for their financial help.


  • Climatic change
  • Papaver setigerum
  • Phoenix theophrasti
  • Sitophilus granarius
  • Submerged Neolithic settlement


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