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The Mespilus (medlar) fruit tree, non-native in Europe, is generally believed to have been introduced to central Europe during the Roman occupation of the region. Archaeobotanical remains of medlar are generally rare, resulting in a patchy knowledge of its early distribution. We here report the earliest finds of Mespilus seeds of the 2nd century a.d. in Switzerland, which were discovered in the Roman vicus of Tasgetium in Eschenz. We summarize the archaeobotanical evidence of Mespilus fruit stones in central Europe during Roman times, which indicate a wide geographical distribution of Mespilus. In addition, we give an overview of Roman sources about the use of medlar fruit and glance at medieval evidence. KeywordsArchaeobotany– Vicus of Tasgetium–Lake Constance region–Waterlogged–Historical sources–Fruit cultivation
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... However, despite this growth, Gali-51 cian cities were generally small in size compared with other European examples [7]. The 52 largest settlements (A Coruña, Santiago de Compostela, and Pontevedra) comprised an 53 area of between 37 and 20 ha inside their walled enclosures. Other cases were secondary 54 settlements of regional importance; for example, towns such as Noia, Vigo, and Padrón 55 would not have been larger than 5 ha. ...
... The only published reference to Mespilus germanica within the Iberian Peninsula 293 so far is to 16th century seeds from the wet site of Panpinot, in the Basque Country [52]. 294 Therefore, the O Bordel assemblage is currently the oldest known context containing this 295 fruit (11th-12th centuries CE) in Iberia, but it is likely that it was introduced even earlier, 296 as the medlar is a fruit tree that was known in other regions of Europe during Antiquity 297 [53]. 298 ...
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Towns emerged as dynamic economic and political centers during the Middle Ages, giving rise to the emergence of new social classes. As a result of these functions, a new relationship began to be forged with the rural world, which supplied towns with foodstuffs that satisfied new social demands. Archaeobotanical analysis (carpology) allows us to understand the flow of cash crops by tracing seeds and fruits produced in the countryside that were consumed in and redistributed from the towns. The study of waterlogged contexts from medieval archaeological sites in the Kingdom of Galicia (Santiago de Compostela, Padrón, and Pontevedra) has provided a set of species that played a crucial role in the economy of the urban dwellers and that possibly were related to differential access or food preferences. Evidence for fruits (grapes, chestnuts, figs, apples, and cherries, among others), garden crops (melon), and cereals (foxtail millet, rye, naked wheat, and oat) has been documented. Broomcorn millet is particularly abundant, demonstrating that it was important for subsistence. Some of the species found (medlar, turnip/grelo, and spinach) are novel in the archaeobotanical literature of the medieval period in the Iberian Peninsula.
... The only published reference to Mespilus germanica in the Iberian Peninsula so far is to 16thcentury seeds from the wet site of Panpinot, in the Basque Country (Peña-Chocarro et al., 2014). Therefore, the O Bordel assemblage is currently the oldest known context containing this fruit (11th-12th centuries CE) in Iberia, but it is likely that it was introduced even earlier, as the medlar is a fruit tree that was known in other regions of Europe during Antiquity (Pollmann and Jacomet, 2012). ...
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Towns were dynamic economic and political centers during the Middle Ages, giving rise to the emergence of new social classes. As a result of their functions, a new relationship began to be forged with the rural world, which supplied towns with foodstuffs that satisfied new social demands. Archaeobotanical analysis (carpology) allows us to understand the flow of cash crops by tracing seeds and fruits produced in the countryside that were consumed in and redistributed from the towns. The study of four waterlogged contexts from medieval archaeological sites in the Kingdom of Galicia (Santiago de Compostela, Padrón, and Pontevedra) has provided a set of species that played a crucial role in the economy of the urban dwellers and that possibly were related to differential access or food preferences. Evidence for fruits (grapes, chestnuts, figs, apples, and cherries, among others), garden crops (melon), and cereals (foxtail millet, rye, naked wheat, and oat) has been documented. Broomcorn millet is particularly abundant, demonstrating that it was important for subsistence. Some of the species found (medlar, turnip/grelo) are novel in the archaeobotanical literature of the medieval period in the Iberian Peninsula.
... The only published reference to Mespilus germanica in the Iberian Peninsula so far is to 16thcentury seeds from the wet site of Panpinot, in the Basque Country (Peña-Chocarro et al., 2014). Therefore, the O Bordel assemblage is currently the oldest known context containing this fruit (11th-12th centuries CE) in Iberia, but it is likely that it was introduced even earlier, as the medlar is a fruit tree that was known in other regions of Europe during Antiquity (Pollmann and Jacomet, 2012). ...
Preprint
Towns emerged as dynamic economic and political centers during the Middle Ages, giving rise to the emergence of new social classes. As a result of these functions, a new relationship began to be forged with the rural world, which supplied towns with foodstuffs that satisfied new social demands. Archaeobotanical analysis (carpology) allows us to understand the flow of cash crops by tracing seeds and fruits produced in the countryside that were consumed in and redistributed from the towns. The study of waterlogged contexts from medieval archaeological sites in the Kingdom of Galicia (Santiago de Compostela, Padrón, and Pontevedra) has provided a set of species that played a crucial role in the economy of the urban dwellers and that possibly were related to differential access or food preferences. Evidence for fruits (grapes, chestnuts, figs, apples, and cherries, among others), garden crops (melon), and cereals (foxtail millet, rye, naked wheat, and oat) has been documented. Broomcorn millet is particularly abundant, demonstrating that it was important for subsistence. Some of the species found (medlar and turnip/grelo) are novel in the archaeobotanical literature of the medieval period in the Iberian Peninsula.
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Abstract In archaeobotanical analyses the species identified from their seeds and fruits extracted from archaeological deposits are classified according to categories: cultivated plant, wild plant, cereals, pulses, fruits, etc., relying on the conventions of systematic classification and the state of archaeobotanical textual, iconographical, phyto-geographical and ethnobotanical knowledge. These categories enable us to go beyond taxonomic lists of Linnaean classification and provide an initial interpretation of the utilitarian character and economic status of the plants used by past societies. Taking examples of spontaneous species in France, recorded for the classical and medieval periods, this article tackles the drawbacks of considering them to be either exclusively wild plants brought in fortuitously and thus paleoecological markers, without discussing their use, or alternatively to attribute a function for reasons of historical dating without considering the context of the deposit. Thus, several wild plants from rubbish, fallow land, forest edges, gardens or fields, (blackthorn or sloe, Prunus spinosa L. : weld, Reseda luteola L. : nettle-Urtica spp. : mallow, Malva spp. : henbane, Hyoscyamus niger L.) could have been used by the inhabitants whose rubbish of all kinds we study (here uti-lisation as grafting stock, fruit, dye, textile, vegetable, medicinal plant, decorative plant). But their seeds could have come from wild environments where they developed and were mixed accidentally in the detritus of everyday life, or they came from the same environments, but harvested for one of the uses cited above. The example of spontaneous fruit trees in France illustrates their contribution in the development of fruit cultivation and the diversification in variety of their domestic equivalents , introduced into Roman Gaul, where they acclimatised and spread to the north of the country. A survey in the texts of Greek and Roman authors of Antiquity lists the wild trees, whether fruit trees or not, related to forms of cultivation of the vine or the species used for grafting. It may be seen to what extent the spaces or places devoted to maintenance or even cultivation of wild species do not form a fixed frontier with the spaces of domesticated plants. This contribution thus discusses the often ambiguous status of spontaneous species and examines the place attributed to them by certain scholars of Antiquity and the Middle Ages, also studied by the archaeobotanist from their material remains. Résumé : L'exemple des fruitiers spontanés en France illustre leur contribution dans le développement de la fructiculture et la diversification variétale de leurs homologues domestiqués, introduits en Gaule romaine, puis acclimatés et répandus dans le nord du pays. Un sondage dans les textes des auteurs grecs et latins de l'Antiquité liste les arbres sauvages, fruitiers ou non, liés aux formes de culture de la vigne ou les es-pèces utilisées pour les greffes. On mesure à quel point les espaces ou lieux dédiés à l'entretien, voire la culture des espèces sauvages, ne forment pas une frontière fixée une fois pour toutes avec les espaces des plantes domestiquées. L'article discute ainsi du statut souvent ambigu des espèces spontanées et examine la place, dans le patrimoine végétal, que leur attribuaient certains érudits de l'Antiquité et du Moyen Âge et qu'étudie aussi l'archéobotaniste à partir de leurs vestiges matériels.
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Summary : The names of localities linked to plants are very numerous in Hauts-de-France (North of France), distributed in all the departments. Only a few municipalities have an appellation linked to the Medlar, common shrub of woods and hedges. On the other hand, ancient names of Medlar are found scattered everywhere, in various forms, in tens of ''microphytoponyms''. Résumé : Les noms de lieux-dits liés aux plantes sont très nombreux en Hauts-de-France, répartis dans tous les départements. Seules quelques communes et hameaux possèdent une appellation liée au Néflier, arbuste commun des bois et haies. Par contre, des noms anciens du Néflier se retrouvent disséminés un peu partout, sous des formes variées, dans des dizaines de « microphytoponymes ».
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Roman period around lake of Constance, 1st to 3rd century. history, military, Roman settlement, vici, villae, economy, Roman way of life, religion
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The current study illustrated the possible positive effects of flavonoids present in the leaves of Mespilus germanica on cognitive performance, learning and memory function in an intra-cerebroventricular streptozotocin-induced Alzheimer’s disease model in male Wistar rats. Five groups (saline-saline control, streptozotocin-saline, and streptozotocin with different doses of flavonoids, 5, 10 and 20 mg/kg) of rats were examined. Rats received different doses of Mespilus germanica flavonoids or saline over three weeks starting one day before surgery. Next, they were assessed using a learning and memory test. After subjected to the behavioral test, the animals were perfused and their brains were fixed with paraformaldehyde 4 % and the tissue was further processed. Finally, the density of intact neurons in the hippocampal CA1 area in all groups was investigated. The results revealed that injection of streptozotocin significantly reduced cognitive function, memory retention as well as CA1 intact neurons compared to the control group. Flavonoids extracted by Mespilus germanica considerably eradicated the negative effects of streptozotocin. Accordingly, Mespilus germanica leaf flavonoids can improve cognitive deficits resulted from injection of streptozotocins.
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While globalisation is often viewed as a contemporary transformation and symptom of the modern world, textual, archaeological, genetic, and other sources increasingly demonstrate significant interconnectivity - and linked biological exchange - in the ancient world. Already by the Bronze Age, major commercial networks existed in several parts of the Old World, leading to the human-mediated exchange of domesticated crops, animals, and other biological species. Trade links increased in the Iron Age, resulting in longer-distance commercial and biological exchanges. Species translocations in this period diversified subsistence but also resulted in the spread of deleterious species such as the black rat and the plague. Biological exchange further intensified in the Medieval period, with the emergence of expanded and intensified trade networks, particularly in the Indian Ocean. These brought a vast number of new breeds and species to societies across the Old World. Species moved for a whole variety of reasons, from the mundane to the symbolic, and were both intentionally and unintentionally transported by people. While introduced species are often vilified today, it is clear that the creation of increasingly cosmopolitan assemblages of organisms across the Old World not only at times transformed ecologies in negative ways, but also enriched diets, improved human health, made challenging landscapes habitable, and in many cases increased biodiversity.
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Fruit tree planting systems encompass several components which have to be tightly integrated (concept of “Orchard system puzzle”; Barritt 1992). The first three components result from choices made when preparing the plantation and cannot be changed once trees are planted: arrangement (i.e., distances within and between rows), planting density (i.e., number of trees per hectare; the same planting density can be reached through various tree arrangements), and support system (i.e., vertical or oblique wooden or concrete posts with a trellis system to avoid trunk or branch breakage due to fruit weight or wind). The other two components are related to the initial choices but are managed at the annual scale: irrigation and fertilization, and training (i.e., positioning of the main branches at various angles from vertical) and pruning (options vary depending on time of year, location within the tree, and the type of shoot removed). The two annual components may evolve from one year to the following depending on tree growth and fruiting features or climatic conditions (Hoying & Robinson 2000). This paper is focused on training and pruning for which significant changes have occurred in recent decades due to dramatic improvements in our understanding of tree growth, branching and fruiting.
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La période qui s'étend du Bronze final à la fin de l' Antiquité (env. 1400 BC-476 AD) voit s'opérer dans le bassin du Rhône d'importantes mutations d'ordre économique, politique et culturel, dont les plus saillantes sont l'émergence des contacts méditerranéens à l'âge du Fer, avec au premier rang l'implantation phocéenne, puis la colonisation romaine. L'analyse des graines et fruits archéologiques (carpologie) est employée comme moyen d'appréhender directement la dynamique des plantes économiques et de l'agriculture au regard de ces évolutions. Ce travail se fonde sur la synthèse de l' ensemble des données carpologiques disponibles, soit 104 sites (environ 875 assemblages), dont 44 analyses originales. Cette synthèse privilégie la diversité des sources et fait appel à une approche multi-scalaire consistant à sérier et à analyser quantitativement l'information en distinguant : modes de conservation, niveau du site/de l'assemblage, types d'assemblages, plantes économiques/adventices. 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L'influx méditerranéen joue un rôle dans les changements qui se produisent à partir du VI e siècle mais les Phocéens ne sont pas les simples vecteurs d'un modèle agricole importé. Nombre des évolutions du Fer II toucheront en même temps massaliètes et indigènes dans une interrelation dont il est difficile de dégager les déterminants. Abstract In the Rhône Basin, the period from the Late Bronze Age to the end of the Roman period (c. 1400 BC – 476 AD) is characterized by important economical, political and cultural changes, the most striking resulting from the establishment of Mediterranean contacts during the Iron Age: first, the Greek settlements, later the Roman colonisation. Taking this evolution into account, Archaeobotany is used here as a tool to assess the dynamics of economical plants and agriculture. This work synthesizes the archaeobotanical data available from 104 archaeological sites (approximately 875 assemblages), including 44 original analyses. 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During the Iron Age II, agriculture becomes more extensive, a trend which intensifies during the Roman period: larger areas of land are farmed using a smaller amount of labour and fertilizers. The practise of harvesting by sickle low on the culm spreads around. This new economic reality apparently results from the development of animal traction for ploughing and transport. The Mediterranean influences play an important role in the changes recorded from the 6 th century on, but the Greeks are not simple agents of an imported farming model. Many of the agricultural changes happening during the Iron Age II touch both Marseille and the indigenous populations, in such a way that it becomes difficult to identify the causes of these changes.
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The archaeological site of Parc Saint-Georges, Lyon (Rhone valley, France), is located on the right bank of the Saône. The geomorphological study made it possible to identify the original confluence point of the Rhône and the Saône during the 1st Iron Age. By the end of the La Tene period, new bioclimatic conditions lead to the incision and shining of the Rhöne, to the East. Then the Saône opened a more direct channel across the plain. The two courses of the Saône met south of the site, around the beginning of the 1st century A.D. The riverside activities developed there, in close relationship with river bank mobility, from the 1st century to the mid 3rd century. This period marks the filling in of the primitive Saône channel and the initiation of a new course, close to the present one. An interdisciplinary approach (geo-archaeology, fruit/seeds analysis, palynology and malacology) proposes a new reconstruction of the topography, the palaeohydrology, the vegetation and the relationship between humans and their environment from Protohistory to Roman period.