The first exploited and domesticated olive forms are still unknown. The exceptionally well-preserved stones from the submerged Hishuley Carmel site (Israel), dating from the middle of the 7th millennium BP, offer us the opportunity to study the oldest table olives discovered so far. We apply a geometrical morphometric analysis in reference to a collection of modern stones from supposed wild populations and traditional varieties of various origins, genetic lineages and uses. Analyses carried out on modern material allow to characterize the extent of stone morphological variation in the olive tree and differentiate distinct morphotypes. They also allow to discuss the status of supposed wild populations and interpret the divergence between groups of varieties and their wild progenitors in an evolutionary and biogeographical perspective. Shape of archaeological stones compared to the differentiation model, unveils morphological traits of olives most likely belonging to both wild olive trees and domesticated forms, some of them showing a notable domestication syndrome. This forms at the early stages of domestications, some of which surprisingly morphologically close to modern varieties, were probably used for dual use (production of olive oil and table olives), and possibly contributed to the dispersion of the olive tree throughout the Mediterranean Basin and to its subsequent diversification.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded by the LIA/IRP EVOLEA (PI: J.-F. Terral and M. Ater) and supported by the OleaD CEMEB Labex project (Montpellier, France) (PI: Jean-Fr?d?ric Terral and Catherine Roumet, UMR CEFE). Acknowledgments: We thank all those who have enabled us to establish a reference modern collec-tion: Jean-Christophe Auffray, Laurent Fabre, Mecit Vural (Gazi University, Turkey), Ashraf Tubeileh (ICARDA, Aleppo, Syria), Anwar Al Ibrahem and Malek Sheik Abdeen (Idleb Agricultural Research Center, GCSAR), Abelmajid Moukhli and Hayet Zaher (INRA-Morocco), Christian Pinatel (Centre Technique de l?Olivier, Aix-en-Provence), Andr? Martre (known as the ?French pope of the olive tree?, now deceased), Nathalie Moutier (INRAE), Jean-Paul Roger, Bouchaib Khadari and Sylvia Lochon-Menseau (CBNMP), Bruno Bernazeau (INRAE?CBNMP). We are grateful to Allowen Evin (ISEM) for her advices in morphometry and Marie-Rose Mazel, David Mazel and Fabienne Chassefeyre for logistical aspects.
Funding: This work was funded by the LIA/IRP EVOLEA (PI: J.-F. Terral and M. Ater) and supported by the OleaD CEMEB Labex project (Montpellier, France) (PI: Jean-Frédéric Terral and Catherine Roumet, UMR CEFE).
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Domestication and diversification
- Olea europaea L. subsp. europaea (olive tree)
- Perennial crop history
- Shape diversity
- Table olives
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science