Farming legumes in the pre-pottery Neolithic: New discoveries from the site of Ahihud (Israel)

Valentina Caracuta, Jacob Vardi, Ytzhak Paz, Elisabetta Boaretto

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New discoveries of legumes in the lower Galilee at the prehistoric site of Ahihud in Israel shed light on early farming systems in the southern Levant. Radiocarbon dating of twelve legumes from pits and floors indicate that the farming of legumes was practiced in southern Levant as early as 10.240-10.200 (1s) ago. The legumes were collected from pits and other domestic contexts dated to the Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B. The legumes identified include Vicia faba L. (faba bean), V. ervilia (bitter vetch), V. narbonensis (narbon vetch), Lens sp. (lentil), Pisum sp. (pea), Lathyrus inconspicuus (inconspicuous pea) and L. hirosolymitanus (Jerusalem vetchling). Comparison with coeval sites in the region show how the presence of peas, narbon vetches, inconspicuous peas, Jerusalem vetchlings and bitter vetches together with faba bean and lentils is unique to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, and might indicate specific patterns in farming or storing at the onset of agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0177859
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes

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© 2017 Caracuta et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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