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Geography of Journal Authors

Stratum plus. 2003-2004. №3

G. A. Pashkevich (Kiev, Ukraine)

The Palaeobotanic Research of Olbia and its Neighborhood




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Pages: 13-76



The aim of this work was to study the remains of plants from Olbia and to compare them with ones from similar ancient Greek towns and nearby tribes.
Until recently such large center of Greek colonization as Olbia has been characterized by insignificant quantity of the palaeoethnobotanical material, unlike the centers in Bosporus and Chersonesos. The collection of samples of plant material has been formed by means of flotation during archaeological excavation. The selection of samples was made from basement of buildings, cellars, storage pits, and amphorae. Then they were analyzed at the Archeology Institute of the Academy of Science of Ukraine.
The excavations of Olbia were concentrated in three locations: lower town (NGS) which covers the period from 6th – 5th centuries B.C. to the 3rd – 4th centuries A.D.; dig N.25 (3rd – 4th centuries A.D.) and dig T-3 (6th – 5th centuries B.C.). The materials from chora of Olbia are also used to characterize earlier stages of existence of the Greek town. Basically, all samples contained charred grains and seeds of cultivated plants and weeds. The other parts of plants, as straw, spikelet forks, rachis fragments were found, first of all, in storage pits. The results were recorded in the palaeoethnobotany data base /PEB/. Olbia was one of the big towns on the Northern coast of the Black Sea in Classical period. It is Olbia, about 35 km of Nikolaev (Ukraine), situated on the right bank of the South Bug river. It was founded by Greek colonists in 6th century B.C. and existed for almost a millennium. The naked wheat Triticum aestivum s.l. and hulled barley Hordeum vulgare have been the most important plants. Panicum miliaceum, Secale cereale, Hordeum vulgare var.coeleste are found also. Besides, the grains of hulled wheats: emmer Triticum dicoccon, eincorn Triticum monococcum and spelt wheat Triticum spelta are submitted. in early materials from settlements of Kozyrka 9, Beykush, Adzhigol. Other crops are pulses: Pisum sativum, Vicia ervilia, Lens culinaris. The occurrence of grapes is fixed since the first centuries AD.
The finds of Ficus carica, Prunus persica, Juglans regia show importance of fruits for nutrition. Changes in assortment during the whole period of existence of Olbia were insignificant. It is obvious that from the beginning of occupation of the new territory the Greeks used known assortment instead of borrowing it from local tribes.
At the same time, there is a significant difference from crops used by the neighboring tribes. Hulled barley and common millet prevailed in composition of early Scythian tribes in Lower Dnieper region. Hulled wheat, mainly emmer, were typical crops also. Properties of these plants corresponded to requirements of half-nomadic way of life very well. Gradually, probably as results of contacts with the adjacent Greek polises and transition to settled life the assortment becomes more various and in the beginning of the new millennium there are unknown earlier naked wheat and rye. The large palaeoethnobotanical material received as a result of long-term researches of the last years shows that during a millennium hulled wheats were the prevailing crop in the economy of various subsequent tribes on the territory of modern Ukraine. Naked wheats occurred only with arrival of the Greeks, first in the south and then gradually spread to the north.


 

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