Event Title

The Role of Millet in Pre-Roman Italy

Presenter Information

Scott Russell, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 335

Start Date

4-28-2017 4:30 PM

End Date

4-28-2017 5:50 PM

Abtract

The role of common millet in Roman society is a source of some argument between historical and archaeological sources. Through analysis of samples from one building in the village of Gabii, an early Roman site, local patterns of cultivation and consumption of millet can be ascertained. Samples ranging from 900 to 500 BCE were found to contain the charred remains of millet seeds. Charred plant remains provide data in many archaeological contexts as to the food being produced and consumed, fire being an important point in both processes. That millet is found in this state suggests that on this site millet was normally consumed by humans. This kind of archaeological evidence questions the class-influenced picture of millet versus more highly demanded grains such as wheat that was put forth by some classical writers and shows a more complex history of consumption than chiefly as animal fodder.

Keywords:

archaeobotany, Millet, archaeology, Italy

Notes

Archaeological Studies Senior Project Panel
Session III, Panel 13 - Archaeological | Studies
Moderator: Amy Margaris, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Major

Archaeological Studies; Biology

Advisor(s)

Michael Moore, Biology
Marta Laskowski, Biology

Project Mentor(s)

Michael Moore, Biology
Laura Motta, Department of Classical Studies, University of Michigan

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Apr 28th, 4:30 PM Apr 28th, 5:50 PM

The Role of Millet in Pre-Roman Italy

King Building 335

The role of common millet in Roman society is a source of some argument between historical and archaeological sources. Through analysis of samples from one building in the village of Gabii, an early Roman site, local patterns of cultivation and consumption of millet can be ascertained. Samples ranging from 900 to 500 BCE were found to contain the charred remains of millet seeds. Charred plant remains provide data in many archaeological contexts as to the food being produced and consumed, fire being an important point in both processes. That millet is found in this state suggests that on this site millet was normally consumed by humans. This kind of archaeological evidence questions the class-influenced picture of millet versus more highly demanded grains such as wheat that was put forth by some classical writers and shows a more complex history of consumption than chiefly as animal fodder.