Saturday, 11 February 2012

Another IWGP theme:Food Globalization in Prehistory Across Eurasia

Another proposal for  a thematic session at IWGP 2013, Thessaloniki, has come through. This is not from me, but from Cambridge so interest should be sent as appropiate to some of the Cambridge archaeobotanical post-doc (website), Geidre Motuzaite Matuzeviciuit or Liu Xinyi. This lab has been active on the research of temperate millets for a while (previous blog), including recognition of immature Panicum.

This topic obviously relates to the discussion article that this group published in the last World Archaeology, on food globalization in prehistoric Eurasia (which I have not gotten around to commenting on previously in this blog.

Here is the precis for their session: Food Globalization in Prehistory Across Eurasia. Chair of a session: Prof. Martin K. Jones

 A variety of crops that originated in China or central Asia, such as the Chinese millets and buckwheat, had appeared in Europe by the 5th millennium BC, while by the end of the second millennium BC, the south-west Asian crops, wheat and barley, had reached several parts of China.

There are some striking features of that early phase of food globalisation, features that relate both to the crop plants themselves and to the societies that utilised them. A series of later episodes of globalisation, from the Classical period onwards, involve exotic fruits, vegetables and spices. The earlier phase, however, is manifested in evidence for staple sources of grain starch, the cereals, and the 'pseudo-cereal' buckwheat. 

We would like to invite papers or poster on current archaeobotanical and genetics studies that aim to establish when and how that early globalisation of staple foodstuffs happened, what it meant for human societies in very different parts of Eurasia, and what it meant for the plants upon which they relied for food.

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