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Sorghum and finger millet cultivation during the Aksumite period: insights from ethnoarchaeological modelling and microbotanical analysisuse asterix (*) to get italics
Abel Ruiz-Giralt, Alemseged Beldados, Stefano Biagetti, Francesca D’Agostini, A. Catherine D’Andrea, Yemane Meresa, Carla Lancelotti
<p>For centuries, finger millet (<em>Eleusine coracana</em> Gaertn.) and sorghum (<em>Sorghum bicolor</em> (L.) Moench) have been two of the most economically important staple crops in the northern Horn of Africa. Nonetheless, their agricultural history is poorly documented due to preservation issues faced by macrobotanical remains and the small number of systematic archaeobotanical research programs in the region. In this paper, we explore the potential extent of finger millet and sorghum agriculture in the northern Horn of Africa region during the Aksumite Kingdom (ca. 50 BCE-CE 800), that is, the period when finger millet and sorghum are first documented in the macrobotanical record. To do so, we employ a methodology that combines cross-cultural modelling, ethnoarchaeology and phytolith analysis. Together, these proxies allow us to propose and test hypotheses about past agricultural practices in the northern Horn. According to our models, the agriculture of finger millet and sorghum was possible around the main Aksumite sites in the region, likely under extensive-rainfed cultivation regimes. These results are supported by the phytolith assemblage from Ona Adi, which records the presence of water-stressed Panicoideae and Chloridoideae grasses since the beginning of the site’s occupation during the Late Pre-Aksumite period (ca. 600-400 BCE).</p> should fill this box only if you chose 'All or part of the results presented in this preprint are based on data'. URL must start with http:// or https:// should fill this box only if you chose 'Scripts were used to obtain or analyze the results'. URL must start with http:// or https:// should fill this box only if you chose 'Codes have been used in this study'. URL must start with http:// or https://
C4 agriculture, cross-cultural modelling, ethnoarchaeology, phytoliths, Kingdom of Aksum, Horn of Africa.
Africa, Archaeobotany, Computational archaeology, Protohistory, Spatial analysis
Dr Phillippa Ryan (, Dr Matthew C. Curtis (, Dr Kathryn Weedman Arthur (, Dr Federica Sulas (, Dr Paul Lane ( No need for them to be recommenders of PCIArchaeology. Please do not suggest reviewers for whom there might be a conflict of interest. Reviewers are not allowed to review preprints written by close colleagues (with whom they have published in the last four years, with whom they have received joint funding in the last four years, or with whom they are currently writing a manuscript, or submitting a grant proposal), or by family members, friends, or anyone for whom bias might affect the nature of the review - see the code of conduct
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2023-04-29 16:24:54
Emma Loftus