In Their Words: Using Ancient Written Sources to Interpret the Palaeobotanical Remains of Tell Tayinat, Turkey

Capper, Mairi M. - Simon Fraser University

One of the key dilemmas in palaeoethnobotanical interpretation is that the context of a plant’s use is generally not preserved. This problem is compounded when contemporary historical documents are lacking. The site of Tell Tayinat, in the Amuq Valley of southern Turkey, was inhabited very early in the Iron Age, a ‘Dark Age’ with few written records following the fall of the Hittite Empire. The few historical documents and archaeological remains recovered from early Iron Age contexts in southern Turkey and northern Syria indicate a high degree of cultural continuity from Hittite times. This poster explores how historical sources, in this case the written records of the Hittites, can be used as a tool to aid in understanding the uses and meanings of plants in their ancient societal context.