publication . Other literature type . Article . 2016

Identifying ancient water availability through phytolith analysis: An experimental approach

Sameeh Nuimat; Steven Mithen; Khalil Jamjoum; Emma Jenkins; Richard Stafford; Stephen Nortcliff;
Open Access
  • Published: 01 Sep 2016
  • Publisher: Elsevier BV
  • Country: United Kingdom
Abstract
Water management was critical to the development of complex societies but such systems are often difficult, if not impossible, to recognise in the archaeological record, particularly in prehistoric communities when water management began. This is because early irrigation systems are likely to have been ephemeral and as such would no longer be visible in the archaeological record. We conducted a three year crop growing experiment in Jordan to test the hypothesis that phytoliths (opaline silica bodies formed in plants) can be used to detect the level of past water availability and hence be used as a source of information for inferring past water management. Over a...
Subjects
free text keywords: Archaeology, History, Phytoliths, Water availability, Silicon, Jordan, Crop-growing, Wheat, barley, Irrigation, Archaeological record, Phytolith, Agronomy, Precipitation, Evapotranspiration, Ephemeral key, Hordeum vulgare, Crop
68 references, page 1 of 5

Albert, R.M., Bamford, M.K., Cabanes, D., 2006. Taphonomy of phytoliths and macroplants in different soils from Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania) and the application to Plio-Pleistocene palaeoanthropological samples. Quat. Int. 148, 78e94. [OpenAIRE]

Alexandre, A., Meunier, J.-D., Lezine, A.-M., Vincens, A., Schwartz, D., 1997. Phytoliths: indicators of grassland dynamics during the late Holocene in intertropical Africa. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 136, 213e229. [OpenAIRE]

Allen, R.G., Pereira, L.S., Raes, D., Smith, M., 1998. Crop Evapotranspiration - Guidelines for Computing Crop Water Requirements. Food and Agriculture of The United Nations, Rome. Irrigation and drainage paper 56.

Araus, J., Buxo, R., 1993. Changes in carbon isotope discrimination in grain cereals from the North-Western Mediterranean basin during the past seven millennia. Aust. J. Plant Physiology 20, 117e128.

Araus, J., Febrero, A., Buxo, R., Rodríguez-Ariza, M., Molina, F., Camalich, M., Martín, D., Voltas, J., 1997. Identification of ancient irrigation practices based on the carbon isotope discrimination of plant seeds: a case study from the southEast Iberian Peninsula. J. Archaeol. Sci. 24, 729e740.

Araus, J., Febrero, A., Catala, M., Molist, M., Voltas, J., Romagosa, I., 1999. Crop water availability in early agriculture: evidence from carbon isotope discrimination of seeds from a tenth millennium BP site on the euphrates. Glob. Change Biol. 5, 201e212. [OpenAIRE]

Araus, J.L., Ferrio, J.P., Buxo, R., Voltas, J., 2007. The historical perspective of dryland agriculture: lessons learned from 10,000 years of wheat cultivation. J. Exp. Bot. 58, 131e145.

Barber, D.A., Shone, M.G.T., 1966. The absorption of silica from Aqueous solutions by plants. J. Exp. Bot. 17 (52), 569e578.

Barboni, D., Bonnefille, R., Alexandre, A., Meunier, J.D., 1999. Phytoliths as paleoenvironmental indicators, west side middle awash valley, Ethiopia. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 152, 87e100. [OpenAIRE]

Cabanes, D., Weiner, S., Shahack-Gross, R., 2011. Stability of phytoliths in the archaeological record: a dissolution study of modern and fossil phytoliths. J. Archaeol. Sci. 38, 2480e2490. [OpenAIRE]

Cabanes, D., Shahack-Gross, R., 2015. Understanding fossil phytolith preservation: the role of partial dissolution in paleoecology and Archaeology. PLoS ONE 10 (5), 1e16.

Carr, G., 2009. Water Reuse for Irrigated Agriculture in Jordan (Unpublished Ph.D. thesis). Department of Soil Science, University of Reading, UK.

Casey, W.H., Kinrade, S.D., Knight, T.G., Rains, D.W., Epstein, E., 2003. Aqueous silicate complexes in wheat,Triticum aestivum L. Plant, Cell & Environ. 27, 51e54.

Charles, M., Hoppe, C., 2003. The effects of irrigation on the weed floras of winter cereal crops in Wadi ibn Hamad (southern Jordan). Levant 35, 213e230.

Charles, M., Hoppe, C., Jones, G., Bogaard, A., Hodgson, J., 2003. Using weed functional attributes for the identification of irrigation regimes in Jordan. J. Archaeol. Sci. 30, 1429e1441. [OpenAIRE]

68 references, page 1 of 5
Related research
Abstract
Water management was critical to the development of complex societies but such systems are often difficult, if not impossible, to recognise in the archaeological record, particularly in prehistoric communities when water management began. This is because early irrigation systems are likely to have been ephemeral and as such would no longer be visible in the archaeological record. We conducted a three year crop growing experiment in Jordan to test the hypothesis that phytoliths (opaline silica bodies formed in plants) can be used to detect the level of past water availability and hence be used as a source of information for inferring past water management. Over a...
Subjects
free text keywords: Archaeology, History, Phytoliths, Water availability, Silicon, Jordan, Crop-growing, Wheat, barley, Irrigation, Archaeological record, Phytolith, Agronomy, Precipitation, Evapotranspiration, Ephemeral key, Hordeum vulgare, Crop
68 references, page 1 of 5

Albert, R.M., Bamford, M.K., Cabanes, D., 2006. Taphonomy of phytoliths and macroplants in different soils from Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania) and the application to Plio-Pleistocene palaeoanthropological samples. Quat. Int. 148, 78e94. [OpenAIRE]

Alexandre, A., Meunier, J.-D., Lezine, A.-M., Vincens, A., Schwartz, D., 1997. Phytoliths: indicators of grassland dynamics during the late Holocene in intertropical Africa. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 136, 213e229. [OpenAIRE]

Allen, R.G., Pereira, L.S., Raes, D., Smith, M., 1998. Crop Evapotranspiration - Guidelines for Computing Crop Water Requirements. Food and Agriculture of The United Nations, Rome. Irrigation and drainage paper 56.

Araus, J., Buxo, R., 1993. Changes in carbon isotope discrimination in grain cereals from the North-Western Mediterranean basin during the past seven millennia. Aust. J. Plant Physiology 20, 117e128.

Araus, J., Febrero, A., Buxo, R., Rodríguez-Ariza, M., Molina, F., Camalich, M., Martín, D., Voltas, J., 1997. Identification of ancient irrigation practices based on the carbon isotope discrimination of plant seeds: a case study from the southEast Iberian Peninsula. J. Archaeol. Sci. 24, 729e740.

Araus, J., Febrero, A., Catala, M., Molist, M., Voltas, J., Romagosa, I., 1999. Crop water availability in early agriculture: evidence from carbon isotope discrimination of seeds from a tenth millennium BP site on the euphrates. Glob. Change Biol. 5, 201e212. [OpenAIRE]

Araus, J.L., Ferrio, J.P., Buxo, R., Voltas, J., 2007. The historical perspective of dryland agriculture: lessons learned from 10,000 years of wheat cultivation. J. Exp. Bot. 58, 131e145.

Barber, D.A., Shone, M.G.T., 1966. The absorption of silica from Aqueous solutions by plants. J. Exp. Bot. 17 (52), 569e578.

Barboni, D., Bonnefille, R., Alexandre, A., Meunier, J.D., 1999. Phytoliths as paleoenvironmental indicators, west side middle awash valley, Ethiopia. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 152, 87e100. [OpenAIRE]

Cabanes, D., Weiner, S., Shahack-Gross, R., 2011. Stability of phytoliths in the archaeological record: a dissolution study of modern and fossil phytoliths. J. Archaeol. Sci. 38, 2480e2490. [OpenAIRE]

Cabanes, D., Shahack-Gross, R., 2015. Understanding fossil phytolith preservation: the role of partial dissolution in paleoecology and Archaeology. PLoS ONE 10 (5), 1e16.

Carr, G., 2009. Water Reuse for Irrigated Agriculture in Jordan (Unpublished Ph.D. thesis). Department of Soil Science, University of Reading, UK.

Casey, W.H., Kinrade, S.D., Knight, T.G., Rains, D.W., Epstein, E., 2003. Aqueous silicate complexes in wheat,Triticum aestivum L. Plant, Cell & Environ. 27, 51e54.

Charles, M., Hoppe, C., 2003. The effects of irrigation on the weed floras of winter cereal crops in Wadi ibn Hamad (southern Jordan). Levant 35, 213e230.

Charles, M., Hoppe, C., Jones, G., Bogaard, A., Hodgson, J., 2003. Using weed functional attributes for the identification of irrigation regimes in Jordan. J. Archaeol. Sci. 30, 1429e1441. [OpenAIRE]

68 references, page 1 of 5
Related research
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