Small-grained wild grasses as staple food at the 23 000-year-old site of Ohalo II, Israel

Ehud Weiss, Mordechai E. Kislev, Orit Simchoni, Dani Nadel

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Abstract

More than 16 000 grains of small-grained grasses were retrieved at Ohalo II, a submerged 23 000-year-old site on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Israel. The grains were part of a very large archaeobotanical assemblage, unique for its period and region, as well as its exceptionally good preservation. This paper proposes that these grains were a staple food at Ohalo II, based on several lines of evidence: 1. the large number of grains found; 2. the fact that all grains were fully mature; and 3. ethnographic parallels for the use of small-grained grasses in hunter-gatherers' societies as well as among present-day agriculturalists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S125-S134
JournalEconomic Botany
Volume58
Issue numberSUPPL.
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

Keywords

  • Diet
  • Hunter-gatherers
  • Ohalo II
  • Palaeoethnobotany
  • Small-grained wild grasses
  • Staple food
  • Upper Palaeolithic

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