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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The umbrella-shaped black pine at the supposed growing area of the Pinus pinea
Cereal fields we studied for the presence of weed plants in the southern part of the territory of Sagalassos, around Bagsaray
The weed Consolida hellespontica grows among cereals today.

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Marc Waelkens

Botanical Survey: June 20-24, 2004

During their first week of botanical survey, Leo Vanhecke (Royal Botanical Gardens, Meise), who is completing a flora of Sagalassos' territory, and Thijs Van Thuyne (KULeuven), who is preparing a doctoral dissertation on our macrobotanical remains (on reconstruction of the ancient environment and the subsistence of the city's occupants), focused on the following topics:

  1. The quest for Pinus pinea (stone pine or umbrella pine) Analysis of charred macro botanical remains from Sagalassos revealed that at least during the late Roman occupation of the city, the inhabitants consumed the edible nuts of Pinus pinea. The question was whether the seeds were imported or whether they were grown in the immediate vicinity of Sagalassos. Because of the pronounced Mediterranean distribution of the tree nowadays, we wanted to know whether or not the stone pine still grows within the historical territory of the city. Previous research mentioned two places in the area where they grew. This week's botanical activities focused on locating these growing areas and verifying the identity of the trees. At least one of the two places could be positively identified, but no Pinus pinea could be found. Only strangely deformed specimens of Pinus nigra (black pine) with an umbrella-like shape were present (see picture).

  2. Recent field analysis
    The second focus of this week's activities aimed at recording the vegetation of arable fields in different parts of the territory. In total, 35 vegetation records in fields have been made up to now. Most of these records were located in the western (Burdur) and southwestern part of the territory (see picture). Plants that are seen as weeds in the Turkish fields would be regarded as garden flowers in most European countries, as a picture of a Consolida hellespontica specimen shows (see picture). In a later stage we will compare these records with the sub-fossil assemblages of Sagalassos. Such comparison can reveal the ancient growing spots of cereals or other domesticates, and explain the presence of such weeds among the grain remains we recovered through flotation at the city excavations.

  3. Reference collection of vascular plants
    As usual, all species of vascular plants new for the inventory of the region were collected, as well as other species of special interest. After identification the whole of this collection forms a reference collection useful for the identification of seeds and fruits and for other related research. So far, we collected 400 specimens. The number of vascular plants detected to grow at present within the Sagalassos territory reaches some 900 taxa.
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