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Title: Use of grass seed resources c.31 ka by modern humans at the Haua Fteah cave, northeast Libya
Authors: Barton, Huw
Mutri, Giuseppina
Hill, Evan
Farr, Lucy
Barker, Graeme
First Published: 25-Sep-2018
Publisher: Elsevier, Association for Environmental Archaeology
Citation: Journal of Archaeological Science, 2018, 99, pp. 99-111 (13)
Abstract: The recovery of a seed grinding stone from human occupation layers dating to c.31 ka in the Haua Fteah cave on the coast of the Gebel Akhdar massif in northeast Libya sheds new light on the subsistence practices of modern humans in North Africa. An integrated study of usewear and organic residue analysis confirms the use of the tool for seed grinding. Residue analysis recovered a total of 15 starch granules that could be reliably identified as belonging to wild cereals, ten of which are identified as A-type granules of Aegilops sp. (goat grass). The results of this study show that modern humans had the capacity to identify large-seeded grasses as a potential food source, perhaps targeted during periods of resource stress, and were capable of adapting pounding and grinding technologies to solve the unique problems of seed processing to render an edible food from grasses. The findings from this research show that broad-spectrum diets involving the exploitation of wild cereals were emerging during the Late Stone Age in North Africa.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.jas.2018.08.013
ISSN: 0305-4403
eISSN: 1095-9238
Embargo on file until: 25-Sep-2019
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © Elsevier, Association for Environmental Archaeology, 2018. After an embargo period this version of the paper will be an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License (, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Description: The file associated with this record is under embargo until 12 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Archaeology and Ancient History

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