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Expect the unexpected: the vital need for wild plants in a Bronze Age farmer’s diet

Yvonne van Amerongen
  • Yvonne van Amerongen
    Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, Leiden; EARTH Integrated Archaeology, Amersfoort, Netherlands | y.van.amerongen@earth-arch.eu

Abstract

Wild plant gathering and consumption has previously been described as being unimportant during the Bronze Age in the western Netherlands. It was believed that the people were full-time farmers and that the food produced on the settlement was enough for people to be self-sufficient. However, the analysis performed here to re-evaluate this statement has shown that wild plants were also essential to life in the Bronze Age. The combined information obtained from ethnography, ethnobotany, archaeology, ecology, nutritional studies, and physical anthropology has indeed indicated that wild plants, and especially their vegetative parts, would have had to have been gathered yearround in order for people to remain healthy.

Keywords

Vegetative wild plants; Diet; Health; Taphonomy; Bronze Age

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Submitted: 2015-11-01 13:05:23
Published: 2016-04-15 09:51:03
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