Cultivation and processing of Linum usitatissimum and Camelina sativa in southern Scandinavia during the Roman Iron Age

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Abstract

Charred seed conglomerates of Linum usitatissimum (flax) and Camelina sativa (gold of pleasure) were found at UppAyenkra 2:25, a Roman Iron Age site in SkAyenne, southern Sweden. The conglomerates showed no mixing with each other, as they were almost pure flax and gold of pleasure respectively. Together with other archaeobotanical data from the site, they provide new evidence on the use, processing and cultivation of these two plants in early Iron Age in Scandinavia. Metric analyses were applied to flax seeds from both conglomerates and other contexts at this site, and compared to seed assemblages from other Roman Iron Age sites in Europe. The comparison showed that the flax cultivation at UppAyenkra 2:25 was intended for the production of oil-rich seeds. The contextual relationship indicates that both flax and gold of pleasure seeds were processed in a similar way and used for oil. Furthermore, the pure seed conglomerate of gold of pleasure suggests that this plant was not a weed, but rather an intentionally grown crop which was cultivated separately from flax.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology

Keywords

  • Linum usitatissimum, Camelina sativa, Iron Age, Uppakra, Sweden
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-520
JournalVegetation History and Archaeobotany
Volume22
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes