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The Botanical Remains from Masada: Identification of the Plant Species and the Possible Origin of the Remnants

N. Liphschitz and S. Lev-Yadun
Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
No. 274 (May, 1989), pp. 27-32
DOI: 10.2307/1357051
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1357051
Page Count: 6
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The Botanical Remains from Masada: Identification of the Plant Species and the Possible Origin of the Remnants
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Abstract

A total of 1,233 wood samples from Masada were analyzed. The samples included 25 plant species, many of which are the same as those growing today in the desert or in the more humid parts of Israel. Samples of other species were imported from other countries. The frequency with which specific objects were made from certain of the species seems to reflect a custom or tradition of long standing. The rich collection of species found on Masada was distinctly different from the botanical remains of the Roman siege rampart, attesting to the residential nature of Masada. The most common plant species in the botanical remnants were Juniperus phoenica (556 samples), Ficus sycomorous (118 samples), Cedrus libani (99 samples), reed (73 samples), Phoenix dactylifera (43 samples), Cupressus sempervirens (42 samples), Tamarix species (65 samples), Pistacia palaestina (41 samples) and Populus euphratica (40 samples).

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