What’s in a shape? 3D shape analysis of phytoliths as a tool to refine botanical attribution of cereal phytoliths in archaeological contexts

Rosalie Madeleine Hermans, Mao Li, William H. Brightly, Alexandre Chevalier, Timothy Gallaher, Caroline Strömberg, Karin Nys, Christophe Snoeck, Yannick Devos, Luc Vrydaghs

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Phytoliths, opaline silica bodies in plants, are used to identify the remains of wild and domesticated plant species in archaeological contexts. In combination with geoarchaeology, phytolith analysis enables to shed light on local crop cultivation. The grass family (Poaceae), including cereals, is known to produce high amounts of phytoliths often taxonomically diagnostic, making phytoliths an excellent proxy to study cereal cultivation. Particular phytolith morphotypes, called ELONGATE DENTATE and ELONGATE DENDRITIC, are produced in the inflorescence bracts of many cereal species.

The current work builds on the research of Gallaher et al. (2020) by investigating ELONGATE DENTATE and ELONGATE DENDRITIC phytoliths from modern cereal species within the Triticeae and Aveneae and some wild grasses using confocal microscopy. The latter enables the production of 3D phytolith models, followed by 3D shape analysis (3D geometric morphometrics). With this 3D analysis, we hope to get a more in-depth understanding of these morphotypes, and consequently refine botanical attribution of wheat, rye, spelt, and barley phytoliths in archaeological contexts to better understand food production.


Gallaher, T.J., S.Z. Akbar, P.C. Klahs, C.R. Marvet, A.M. Senske, L.G. Clark, and C.A.E. Strömberg. 2020. 3D shape analysis of grass silica short cell phytoliths: a new method for fossil classification and analysis of shape evolution. New Phytologist, 228:376–392.
Originele taal-2English
Titel29th European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) Annual Meeting: Weaving Narratives - abstract book
UitgeverijEuropean Association of Archaeologists
Pagina's590-591
Aantal pagina's1
StatusPublished - 2 sep 2023
Evenement29th European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) Annual Meeting: Weaving Narratives - University of Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duur: 30 aug 20232 sep 2023
Congresnummer: 29
https://www.e-a-a.org/eaa2023
https://www.e-a-a.org/eaa2022

Conference

Conference29th European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) Annual Meeting
Verkorte titelEAA
Land/RegioUnited Kingdom
StadBelfast
Periode30/08/232/09/23
Internet adres

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