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Grasses in Ancient Egypt
Loutfy Boulos and Ahmed Gamal-El-Din Fahmy
Vol. 62, No. 3 (2007), pp. 507-511
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20443376
Page Count: 5
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Ancient Egypt, Barley, Archaeological sites, Sorghum, Plants, Playas, Crops, Weeds, Deserts, Grasses
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The grass species played an important role in the daily life and economy of ancient Egypt. Cereals: wheat and barley have been cultivated since time immemorial, the earliest finds date back to 7300-6000 BP. They were used in ancient Egypt for making bread and for brewing. Reeds: Phragmites australis, Arundo donax and Saccharum spontaneum were used for making baskets, mats, nets, pens and arrows, and as building material. The rhizomes of Phragmites were used in popular medicine and the panicle as a Hieroglyphic sign that appears on old monuments. Reeds were also used in ancient architecture as a motif for columns. Halfa grasses (Desmostachya bipinnata and Imperata cylindrica) were used for making sandals, brooms, ropes, bags, brushes, necklaces and other objects. Among the weeds identified from plant remains excavated from ancient sites are: Echinochloa colona, Brachiaria sp., Digitaria sp., Setaria sp., Urochloa sp. and other Paniceae species. The desert grass Panicum turgidum has also been identified among the plant remains. A list of grasses known from ancient Egypt is provided.
Kew Bulletin © 2007 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew