Beneath still waters - Multistage aquatic exploitation of euryale ferox (Salisb.) during the Acheulian

Naama Goren-Inbar, Yoel Melamed, Irit Zohar, Kumar Akhilesh, Shanti Pappu

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Remains of the highly nutritious aquatic plant Fox nut - Euryale ferox Salisb. (Nymphaeaceae) - were found at the Acheulian site of Gesher Benot Ya'aqov, Israel. Here, we present new evidence for complex cognitive strategies of hominins as seen in their exploitation of E. ferox nuts. We draw on excavated data and on parallels observed in traditional collecting and processing practices from Bihar, India. We suggest that during the early Middle Pleistocene, hominins implemented multistage procedures comprising underwater gathering and subsequent processing (drying, roasting and popping) of E. ferox nuts. Hierarchical processing strategies are observed in the Acheulian lithic reduction sequences and butchering of game at this and other sites, but are poorly understood as regards the exploitation of aquatic plant resources. We highlight the ability of Acheulian hominins to resolve issues related to underwater gathering of E. ferox nuts during the plant's life cycle and to adopt strategies to enhance their nutritive value.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternet Archaeology
Issue number37
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

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  • Acheulian
  • Aquatic exploitation
  • E. ferox
  • Gesher Benot Ya'aqov
  • India


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