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First evidence of fruit tree cultivation by the Phoenicians discovered in Sardinia


New archaeological discoveries in the lagoon of Santa Giusta (Oristano) offer new information on nutrition and the first evidence of cultivation of fruit trees by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians on the island.

First evidence of fruit tree cultivation by the Phoenicians discovered in Sardinia
Recovery of the finds in the Santa Giusta lagoon [Credit: University of Cagliari]
The material, all in excellent condition, have been recovered by archaeologists on the seabed of the Lagoon of Santa Giusta. The findings have verified the presence of plant remains related to almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts to which are added many seeds of vine, plum, watermelon, olive, wine pumpkin, pine nuts and juniper berries.

The study has made it possible to document the presence in Sardinia of the first fruit trees probably introduced by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians between 500 and 200 BC.

First evidence of fruit tree cultivation by the Phoenicians discovered in Sardinia
Specimens found in the Santa Giusta Lagoon: a. Prunus dulcis endocarp (almond); b. Prunus domestica endocarp (plum);
c. Olea europaea endocarp (olive); d. dendocarp Prunus spinosa (blackthorn); e. Juniperus oxycedrus seeds (juniper);
 f. Vitis vinifera seeds (grapes); g. Lagenaria siceraria seeds (wine pumpkin); h. Citrullus lanatus seeds (watermelon);
i. Corylus avellana seeds (hazel); j. Juglans regia endocarp fragment (walnut); k. Potamogeton sp. (aquatic plant)
[Credit: University of Cagliari]
Given the encouraging results obtained with this research, studies continue on other underwater contexts in Sardinia to better understand the origin and domestication of fruit species and their local varieties.

The results of surveys, conducted by researchers of the Department of History, Cultural Heritage and Territory and the Service Centre Hortus Botanicus Karalitanus (HBK) of the University of Cagliari with the Archaeological Superintendence and the Instituto de Historia of the Consejo Superior Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), have been published in Vegetation History and Archaeobotany.

Source: University of Cagliari [May 17, 2018]

TANN

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