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Wood remains from archaeological excavations [Extrait] : a review with a Near Eastern perspective / S. Lev-Yadun

Publication : 2007 In : Israel journal of Earth sciences, 56, 2-4, p. 139-162Langue : Anglais. Auteur principal: Lev Yadun, Simcha Résumé : In this review I describe and discuss the technical issues of identification of archaeological wood remains from archaeological excavations and the types of data that can emerge from studying them. I discuss uses of wood; types of wood remains (dry, charred, waterlogged, sub-fossil, fossilized); crystals from wood; the anatomical basis for wood identification, including the different anatomies of conifers, monocotyledons, and dicotyledons; regular and traumatic tissues; endogenous trends of anatomical changes related to age, size, and position within the plant; and damage by fungi and insects and their identification. Wood preservation, common microscopic methods for wood identification, wood anatomical atlases for the Levant and other relevant regions, and the lack of bark descriptions are all discussed. Wood fiber identification, statistical characters of wood anatomy, dendrochronology (tree-ring studies), and the use of stable and radioactive isotopes from wood continue. Possibilities of identification of the origin of wood by Strontium and ancient DNA and other molecular studies follow later in the review. The role of floral data emerging from studies of archaeological wood remains in planning current forests and nature conservation is discussed. In this context, an example is given of the role of wood remains in understanding the dominance of Quercus calliprinos (kermes oak) in the Central Coastal Plain of Israel. Geobotany and the question of identifying climatic changes, social status as reflected in the types of wood used in Masada (King Herod’s palace versus Roman siege rampart), wood as an indication of ancient trade, and wood as reflecting horticulture are also discussed. Woodworking technology, the use of fire, and dealing with multidisciplinary issues and conclusions end the review. Concerning archaeological wood remains, it is impossible to exploit all theoretical and technical abilities in all studies, and scientists involved in any archaeological project have to decide about priorities. Studying archaeological wood remains is a very complicated multidisciplinary issue. Archaeological wood identification is commonly conducted by non-botanists, who have difficulties with the botanical, ecological, and environmental aspects, while evaluation of the identified plant material by botanists involves similar difficulties with archaeological and cultural issues. No scientist is able to master all relevant aspects, and such multidisciplinary issues usually require a well-balanced team to deal with them. (Revue). Sujets: botanique Lieux: Israël URL: Accès en ligne
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Nanterre : MSH Mondes - Paléorient - Préhistoire et Protohistoire orientales
Non consultable PAOR11665

In this review I describe and discuss the technical issues of identification of archaeological wood remains from archaeological excavations and the types of data that can emerge from studying them. I discuss uses of wood; types of wood remains (dry, charred, waterlogged, sub-fossil, fossilized); crystals from wood; the anatomical basis for wood identification, including the different anatomies of conifers, monocotyledons, and dicotyledons; regular and traumatic tissues; endogenous trends of anatomical changes related to age, size, and position within the plant; and damage by fungi and insects and their identification. Wood preservation, common microscopic methods for wood identification, wood anatomical atlases for the Levant and other relevant regions, and the lack of bark descriptions are all discussed. Wood fiber identification, statistical characters of wood anatomy, dendrochronology (tree-ring studies), and the use of stable and radioactive isotopes from wood continue. Possibilities of identification of the origin of wood by Strontium and ancient DNA and other molecular studies follow later in the review. The role of floral data emerging from studies of archaeological wood remains in planning current forests and nature conservation is discussed. In this context, an example is given of the role of wood remains in understanding the dominance of Quercus calliprinos (kermes oak) in the Central Coastal Plain of Israel. Geobotany and the question of identifying climatic changes, social status as reflected in the types of wood used in Masada (King Herod’s palace versus Roman siege rampart), wood as an indication of ancient trade, and wood as reflecting horticulture are also discussed. Woodworking technology, the use of fire, and dealing with multidisciplinary issues and conclusions end the review. Concerning archaeological wood remains, it is impossible to exploit all theoretical and technical abilities in all studies, and scientists involved in any archaeological project have to decide about priorities. Studying archaeological wood remains is a very complicated multidisciplinary issue. Archaeological wood identification is commonly conducted by non-botanists, who have difficulties with the botanical, ecological, and environmental aspects, while evaluation of the identified plant material by botanists involves similar difficulties with archaeological and cultural issues. No scientist is able to master all relevant aspects, and such multidisciplinary issues usually require a well-balanced team to deal with them. (Revue)

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