14 May, 2006

Crop processing models #2

Engelmark's model (1989)

Engelmark developed the processing model for barley and rye in Fennoscandia in northern Sweden, with minor differences for northen Europe in early and late historic times. The stages of his model comprise of threshing, coarse sieving, flinging, fine sieving/winnowing, and transferring to storage facilities.

He emphasises that plant material can interpret the storage of products for human and animal use and the distribution of the products within the settlement sites (Englemark 1989: 187).

  • Engelmark, R. 1989. Weed-seeds in archaeological deposits models, experiments and interpretations. In T.B. Larsson and H. Lundmark (eds.) Approaches to Swedish prehistory: a spectrum of problems and perspectives in contemporary research. BAR International Series 500: 179-187.

Reddy's model (1997, 2003)

Reddy presents the results of ethnoarchaeological studies focusing on the development of crop processing models tailored to aid palaeoethnobotanical reconstructions at sites during the late Harappan phase of the Indus valley Tradition in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh in India.

She proposed the processing pathways of two crop types, the millet Panicum miliare in winter and the millets Sorgham bicolor and Pennisetum typhoides in summer. This model comprises of harvesting, threshing, winnowing by wind, sieving, winnowing by shaking, pounding, and grinding (1997: 169).

Reddy argues that crop seed morphology plays the primary role in determining which processing method is chosen, and the choice of harvesting, then, affects the sequences regaring the inclusion of weeds, the amount of by-product cleaning, and the number of cleanings at each stage (Reddy 2003: 54).

  • Reddy, S.N. 1997. If the threshing floor could talk: integration of agriculture and pastoralism during the late Harappan in Gujarat, India. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 16: 162-187.
  • Reddy, S.N. 2003. Discerning palates of the past: an ethnoarchaeological study of crop cultivation and plant usage in India. Michigan: International Monographs in prehistory. Ethnoarchaeological Series 5. 18-54.

Stevens' model (2003)

Stevens applies the two initial crop-processing models by Hillman (1981a) and M. Jones (1985) for identifying arable producers and consumers using archaeobotanical data from sites in southern England.

He indicates that many charred archaeobotanical samples rather than relating to single specific processing activities can be attributed more generally to the waste generated from the routine processing of crops taken from storage throughout the year (Stevens 2003: 6).

Stevens' model for hulled wheats comprise of threshing, raking, primary winnowing, coarse sieving, fine sieving and pounding, and hand sorting. It illustrates the potential for examining social organisation of agriculture through archaeobotanical data and other archaeological evidence, and assumes that production and consumption should not be treated as separate events, but as amalgams of a sequence consisting of many parts (Stevens 2003: 73).

  • Stevens, C.J. 2003. An investigation of agricultural consumption and production models for prehistoric and Roman Britain. Environmental Archaeology 8: 61-76.

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