Processing and storage of tree fruits, cereals and pulses at PPNA Sharara, southern Jordan

Jade Whitlam, Bill Finlayson, Amy Bogaard, Michael Charles, Cheryl A. Makarewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent excavations at the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A site of Sharara (ca. 9250 cal bc) in southern Jordan have yielded a rich assemblage of charred macrobotanical remains. The bulk of this assemblage was recovered from a single structure at the settlement that was destroyed by fire and which appears to have functioned as an area for processing and possibly also for storing plant foods. Among the charred plant remains recovered from this space were nearly 700 fig fruits. Based on detailed archaeobotanical and contextual analyses, we infer that these were laid out to dry on the roof of the structure when it burnt down. We also demonstrate that plant exploitation and processing strategies at Sharara focused on a range of wild cereals, pulses and tree fruits (fig and pistachio), including several taxa that are not part of the canonical ‘Neolithic founder crop package’. We discuss our findings in relation to broader understandings of pre-agricultural plant management in southwest Asia and within the southern Levant specifically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-516
Number of pages16
JournalVegetation History and Archaeobotany
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Cereal processing
  • Early Holocene
  • Ficus carica (fig)
  • Lathyrus inconspicuus (inconspicuous pea)
  • Southwest Asia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Plant Science
  • Paleontology


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