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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 and Dani Nadel
Economic Botany
Vol. 58, Supplement (Winter, 2004), pp. S125-S134
Published by: Springer on behalf of New York Botanical Garden Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4256914
Page Count: 10
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Small-Grained Wild Grasses as Staple Food at the 23 000-Year-Old Site of Ohalo II, Israel
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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.

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