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Variations in the 13C/12C ratios of modern wheat grain, and implications for interpretating data from Bronze Age Assiros Toumba, Greece

By T.H.E. Heaton, Glynis Jones, Paul Halstead and Taxiarchis Tsipropoulos


Variations in the 13C/12C ratios of wheat grain at different spatial and temporal scales are examined by analysis of modern samples, including harvests of einkorn and durum wheat from Greece, and serve as a guide to interpreting data for Bronze Age grains from Assiros Toumba. The normal distribution and low variability of δ13C values of einkorn from 24 containers in the Assiros storerooms are consistent with pooling of local harvests, but less likely to represent the harvest of several years or include grain imported from further afield. Correlation between emmer and spelt δ13C values provides strong support for other evidence that these were grown together as a maslin crop. 13C discrimination (Δ) for the Bronze Age samples is estimated to be 2.5‰ larger than at present, and would be consistent with an intensive, horticultural regime of cereal cultivation, possibly involving some watering

Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.jas.2009.06.007
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