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2006 | 3 | 135-143

Article title

Plant Remains from the Early Medieval Layers Excavated in Area IX on Wawel Hill, Kraków, South Poland

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The authors' aim was to study the plant remains from the Early Medieval layers excavated in area IX on Wawel Hill. Three soil samples were obtained for archaeobotanical examination. Two of them were used for macrofossil analysis, one for pollen analysis. Seeds and fruits of 4 cultivated and at least 20 wild plants were found; charcoals belonged to 10 trees and shrub taxa. The occurrence of charred and uncharred seeds/fruits pointed to the heterogenic origin of plant remains. The charred remains belonged to cultivated species (cereals and flax) and to four taxa of grasses, which are weeds in cereal fields. The uncharred remains represented mainly plants growing on the hill as garden weeds or ruderal plants, a few of them probably originating from various plant communities that spread in the Vistula valley. The sample used to pollen analysis was taken from the brownish layer which occurred under the loamy material of the rampart. The dominance of grass and cereal pollen in the spectrum, as well as the presence of epidermal cells typical of grasses, suggested that this layer was built of the accumulation of cereal straw or/and reed culms. The present results were compared with the much more extensive former studies of the early medieval layers from Wawel Hill carried out in area X. The recently found plants belong to the same ecological groups that were described earlier, only plants of dry swards and poor pastures were not found. The pollen spectrum differed from the analysis performed by W. Koperowa (in K. Wasylikowa 1991) in the absence of Salix pollen, which was very abundant in the previously examined material. This difference could probably be explained by the transportation of pollen with twigs which had been brought to area X for an unknown purpose. In connection with the new discoveries of sorghum from the Middle Ages in northern Italy (E. Castiglioni 1998) and southern France (B. Prodat, M.-P. Ruas 1998), it has been reminded that spikelets of Sorghum bicolor subsp. bicolor were found in the early medieval layers (IXth-XIth centuries A.D.) from area X on Wawel Hill (W. Gizbert, A. Zaki 1954). The most likely explanation for the occurrence of this sorghum in Kraków was that it had been imported from the south.







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  • K. Wasylikowa, Instytut Botaniki PAN, ul. Lubicz 46, 31-512 Kraków, Poland


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