Innovation or preservation? Abbasid aubergines, archaeobotany, and the Islamic Green Revolution

Daniel Fuks, Oriya Amichay, Ehud Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

The topic of agricultural innovation in the Early Islamic empires has become increasingly relevant for archeology, history, and even agricultural science. The validity of Andrew Watson’s original “Islamic Green Revolution” thesis will ultimately be verified or vindicated through archaeobotanical research, as Watson himself has suggested. However, rigorous criteria for exploiting the available archaeobotanical data and testing the basis of this thesis are needed. A simple theoretical framework relating archaeobotanical data to agricultural revolution is advanced below, and methodological criteria are presented for interpreting plant species introductions from the archeological record. These are applied to archaeobotanical “first finds” from an unprecedented assemblage of mineralized plant remains from an Abbasid Jerusalem bazaar, which included the earliest evidence for eggplant (Solanum melongena) in the Levant. Finally, we advocate a regional, crop-by-crop strategy for further interdisciplinary research on the Islamic Green Revolution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Agricultural revolution
  • Archaeobotany
  • Crop diffusion
  • Early Islamic
  • Food globalization
  • Islamic Green Revolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology

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