Monday, 6 February 2012

Roman bottlegourds from Asia

A new article by Angela Schlumbaum and Patricia Vandorpe in Vegetation History and Archaeobotany provides a review and new data on Roman era bottlegourds in Europe. Despite the fact the bottlegourds originated in eastern Africa (Decker-Walters et al 2004) and most likely were carried to Asia sometime in the Pleistocene (and thence to the Americas-- as discussed in my short contribution on East Asian Neolithic and Jomon gourds in Economic Botany 2010), gourds were only introduced to Europe in the Roman period. New aDNA confirms, at least where DNA markers could be extracted, that these were Asian (rather than African). Seed morphometrics are reported from several modern and archaeological populations, and while the L:W ratio does not clearly demarcate Asian versus African genotypes, it does seem to suggest multiple morphotypes (at least two) in Roman Europe, although both would fit within a broader range of Asian diversity.   

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello mr Dorian! I`m Yésica from Argentina and i´m interested in arquaeobotany. I don´t know much... but i think it is the topic i was looking for to work as a scientist. I´ll appreciate any information you can send me.