Dynamics of Cereal Production at Tell el Ifshar, Israel during the Middle Bronze Age
Authors: Chernoff, Miriam C.; Paley, Samuel M.
Source: Journal of Field Archaeology, Volume 25, Number 4, 1998 , pp. 397-416(20)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:A Middle Bronze Age IIA (MB IIA) storage complex (ca. 20th to 18th centuries B.C.) units of which were used for storing grain) was uncovered at Tell el Ifshar (Tel Hefer), Israel, in 1990. Analysis of charred plant remains from this complex, as well as from other locations on the tell, allows a broad discussion of MB IIA farming and agricultural decision making within a loosely centralized city-state. Villagers apparently sowed fields in low-lying alluvial resource zones rather than sandy clay zones. They planted legume and cereal crops well-suited to the physical environment, which also were short-term capital investments. Farmers planted both emmer and free-threshing wheat, but mainly emmer wheat—a species tolerant of environmental extremes and resilient to post-harvest loss despite greater processing cost and lower potential yield. Farmers also promoted field species-diversity and used various planting strategies to protect crops from environmental risk. In the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age, farmers risked higher production costs of free-threshing wheat in return for greater harvest potential and easier processing. Despite this overall trend, strategies varied over shorter time frames (e.g., within the Middle Bronze Age).
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1998-01-01
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