Ur Archaeological Project, directors Prof Elisabeth Stone & Prof Paul Zimansky, (SUNY, New York)
Central Zagros Archaeological Project, directors Prof. Roger Matthews and Dr Wendy Matthews (University of Reading)
Çatalhöyük Neolithic excavations, director Prof. Ian Hodder (Stanford University)
Tell Brak, Syria; Bronze Age; director Dr Augusta McMahon (Cambridge University) & Dr. Geoff Emberling (Metropolitan Museum, New York, USA)
Pre-agricultural plant management in the uplands of the central Zagros: the archaeobotanical evidence from Sheikh-e Abad
Whitlam, J, Bogaard, A, Matthews, R, Matthews, W, Mohammadifar, Y, Ilkhani, H, Charles, M
Vegetation History and Archaeobotany
From Traditional Farming in Morocco to Early Urban Agroecology in Northern Mesopotamia: Combining Present-day Arable Weed Surveys and Crop Isotope Analysis to Reconstruct Past Agrosystems in (Semi-)arid Regions
Bogaard, A, Styring, A, Ater, M, Hmimsa, Y, Green, L, Stroud, E, Whitlam, J, Diffey, C, Nitsch, E, Charles, M, Jones, G, Hodgson, J
Cereal progenitors differ in stand harvest characteristics from related wild grasses.
Preece, C, Clamp, NF, Warham, G, Charles, M, Rees, M, Jones, G, Osborne, CP
journal of ecology.
The domestication of crops in the Fertile Crescent began approximately 10,000 years ago indicating a change from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a sedentary, agriculture-based existence. The exploitation of wild plants changed during this transition, such that a small number of crops were domesticated from the broader range of species gathered from the wild. However, the reasons for this change are unclear.Previous studies have shown unexpectedly that crop progenitors are not consistently higher yielding than related wild grass species, when growing without competition. In this study, we replicate more closely natural competition within wild stands, using two greenhouse experiments to investigate whether cereal progenitors exhibit a greater seed yield per unit area than related wild species that were not domesticated.Stands of cereal progenitors do not provide a greater total seed yield per unit ground area than related wild species, but these crop progenitors do have greater reproductive efficiency than closely related wild species, with nearly twice the harvest index (the ratio of harvested seeds to total shoot dry mass).These differences arise because the progenitors have greater seed yield per tiller than closely related wild species, due to larger individual seed size but no reduction in seed number per tiller. The harvest characteristics of cereal progenitors may have made them a more attractive prospect than closely related wild species for the early cultivators who first planted these species, or could suggest an ecological filtering mechanism. Synthesis. Overall, we show that the maintenance of a high harvest index under competition, the packaging of seed in large tillers, and large seeds, consistently distinguish crop progenitors from closely related wild grass species. However, the archaeological significance of these findings remains unclear, since a number of more distantly related species, including wild oats, have an equally high or higher harvest index and yield than some of the progenitor species. Domestication of the earliest cereal crops from the pool of wild species available cannot therefore be explained solely by species differences in yield and harvest characteristics, and must also consider other plant traits.
Trade-offs between seed and leaf size (seed–phytomer–leaf theory): functional glue linking regenerative with life history strategies … and taxonomy with ecology?
Hodgson, JG, Santini, BA, Montserrat Marti, G, Royo Pla, F, Jones, G, Bogaard, A, Charles, M, Font, X, Ater, M, Taleb, A, Poschlod, P, Hmimsa, Y
Annals of Botany
Identification of inter- and intra-species variation in cereal grains through geometric morphometric analysis, and its resilience under experimental charring
Bonhomme, V, Forster, E, Wallace, M, Stillman, E, Charles, M, Jones, G