Towards the Mid-Late Holocene Environment of Mochena Borago Rock Shelter, Wolayta, South Ethiopia
With the objective of understanding the mid-late Holocene subsistence pattern and the local ecology, archaeobotanical investigation was conducted on soil samples collected from 29 contexts from the rock shelter site of Mochena Borago. The samples were collected by the French Archaeological Mission in 2000 and 2001 field seasons. Flotation was carried out using bucket and 2.0 mm mesh size sieve. Recovered botanical remains were classified based on size and grain morphology. Seed analysis was conducted at 5-20x magnification. A total of 112 seeds and fruit stones were identified which include 55 Sapindaceae cf. Deinbollia type (dune soap-berry), 33 Myrtaceae cf. Syzigium guineense type (sometimes called waterberry), 9 Plectranthus edulis (Wolayta dinich/potato), 7 Euphorbiaceae Croton sp. (rushfoil), 2 Cordia cf. africana (wanza in Amharic), 1 Ebenaceae cf. Diospyros (commonly known as ebony trees), 1 Olea europea ssp. africana (Olive Oil). Plectranthus edulis is an indigenous crop for the study area and Cordia cf. africana and Olea europea ssp. africana are reported for the first time in archaeological context of the whole region of Ethiopia. The study provided data on the ancient economy and ecology of the site in a region where archaeobotanical research is limited.
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