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"Noah's Ark" Prehistoric Sites Exhibit Botanical Remains During Transition from Stone Age to Advent of Farming

Archaeologist reports prehistoric sites on Mount Ararat in Turkey exhibit assemblage of Epipaleolithic and Pre-Pottery Neolithic botanical remains with several surprises.

 

Miami, FL -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/24/2013 -- Harvard University educated archaeologist and president of the archaeological contract firm PRC, Inc., Dr. Joel Klenck, reports that prehistoric sites on Mount Ararat in Turkey, associated with Noah’s Ark by several religious organizations, exhibit excellent preservation of a wide array of plant remains.

Klenck remarks, “Archaeological sites on Ararat, which comprise a monumental wood structure, smaller wood edifices, and a cave, originate from the Late Epipaleolithic Period (13,100 to 9,600 B.C.). From the cave and the interior of the monumental wood structure, a variety of well-preserved botanical remains were identified. From the monumental wood structure, I observed what appeared to be wild wheat (Triticum species) from loci 5 and 7 as evidenced by smooth abscission scars on the rachises and thin spikelets. Also, I believe wild barley (Hordeum vulgare) is evidenced by three spikelets on a side of a rachis in Locus 5. From loci 3 and 8, the floors of these contexts contain the remains of chickpea (Cicer species) and bitter vetch (Vicia ervilia). At the base of Locus 2, there is a rope measuring three centimeters in diameter that appears to be made of flax (Linum species). Also, a passage in Locus 3, a sealed entrance evidences strands of flax. These remains are superbly preserved in installations made of cypress wood, inside a monumental wood structure, within a glacier. These specimens comprise an expected botanical assemblage from the Late Epipaleolithic Period (13,100 to 9,600 B.C.) through the beginning of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Period (9,600-8,500 B.C.), which is roughly associated with the beginning of the farming.”

More surprising to Klenck was the remains from the cave site. He notes, “The cave site also had an Epipaleolithic / PPNA botanical assemblage evidenced by many strands of flax and the remains of chickpea, wild wheat, and wild barley. The cave site is very interesting because this locus has artifacts that are similar to specimens found in the monumental wood structure. The cave site was sealed by glacial ice and lithic material and was only entered twice to obtain a few photographs, before being covered and sealed again by the team. In the cave there were some very big surprises including the remains of what appears to be cinnamon (Cinnamomum species), ginger (Zingiber species), and wild cherry (Prunus avium).”

The archaeologist comments, “I am not convinced that the vegetal remains from the cave site on Mount Ararat are only for food. The bone and wood artifacts and the flax strands and wool fabric in the cave might indicate activities of textile dyeing. Ancient texts and ethnographic accounts indicate that ginger, cinnamon, and cherries provided a range of red, beige, brown hues to textiles depending on the amount and duration these remains were boiled.”

Klenck concludes: “The assemblages from the prehistoric sites on Mount Ararat mostly support the current scientific consensus that, during the transition from the end of the Stone Age to the beginning of agricultural communities, human populations gathered and stored both wild grains and legumes. However, the Ararat sites also evidence that early populations used a wider array of plants for either food stuffs, dyes, or both.”

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