The plant food component of the diet at the late Mesolithic (Ertebolle) settlement at Tybrind Vig, Denmark

  • Kubiak-Martens L
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Abstract

Tybrind Vig is a late Mesolithic (Ertebølle) coastal settlement, dated to the period 5600–4000 BC. The site has yielded some very important finds associated with fishing activity, probably the best preserved example from the Mesolithic in Europe. Recently analysed botanical samples from submerged cultural deposits have provided evidence for the contribution of plants to the subsistence diet of the inhabitants of Tybrind Vig. The food plant remains are represented by the charred fragments of parenchymatous tissue from roots ofBeta vulgaris ssp.maritima (sea beet), fragments ofQuercus sp. parenchyma (acorn), and shell fragments ofCorylus avellana (hazelnut). The possibility that the grains ofGlyceria fluitans (floating sweet grass) and stems ofPhragmites australis (reed) were collected for food should not be excluded. In addition to the species identified in the charred remains, an abundance of edible plant seeds and fruits were represented in the waterlogged remains, suggesting that a much broader range of food plants was available in the area. These additional foods could have included a large variety of wild berries and other fruits, such asRubus idaeus, R. caesius, Fragaria vesca, Malus sylvestris, Cornus sanguinea, Crataegus monogyna/laevigata, Sorbus aucuparia, Viburnum opulus andRosa spp. Several other plants could have been gathered as green vegetables (Rumex crispus, Urtica dioica andCakile maritima), or could have been utilized for both their greens and seeds (Chenopodium album, Atriplex andScirpus maritimus). Key words Coastal settlementPlant foodLate MesolithicTemperate Europe

Author-supplied keywords

  • coastal settlement - plant
  • food - late
  • mesolithic - temperate europe

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Authors

  • Lucyna Kubiak-Martens

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