Archaeobotanical Investigation of Charred and Desiccated Fruit Stones and Seeds from Late Holocene Contexts in Kassala and its Environs: Window to Past Ecology and Subsistence
With the aim of reconstructing the Late Holocene palaeoenvironment and vegetation history of Kassala and its environs, archaeobotanical investigation was conducted on charred and desiccated fruit stones and seeds. These botanical remains were recovered by dry screening from various contexts in three excavation squares. The excavations were conducted by the Italian Archaeological Expedition in East Sudan (IAEES) at the site of Mahal Teglinos, Kassala, northeast Sudan in the years 1991, 2013 and 2014. Identification and comparative study was conducted in the laboratories of Addis Ababa University and the Bio-archaeological Research Center of the National Museum of Oriental Art, Rome. A total of 1771 (n=1771) charred and desiccated fruit stones and seeds are identified belonging mainly to five species: Adansonia digitata, Ziziphus spina-christi, Celtis integrifolia, Vigna unguiculata and Grewia bicolor. The botanical remains are dated to the early second millennium BC when the area was populated by several Gash Groups (along the Mereb river). The identification of the macrobotanical remains indicated that the site of Kassala and the Ethio-Eritrean and Sudanese low-lying border region was characterized by semi-arid and sub-humid tropical environmental conditions by the Late Holocene.
Keywords: fruit stones, seeds, semi-arid, Late Holocene, Eritrea-Sudanese border
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