Archaeobotanical studies at the Urartian site of Ayanis in Van Province, eastern Turkey

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TURKISH JOURNAL OF BOTANY, vol.37, no.2, pp.282-296, 2013 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 37 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.3906/bot-1204-3
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.282-296
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Archaeobotanical macro remains recovered from the Ayanis fortress and the outer town of the Urartian period of the Iron Age (685-645 BC), located in the area of Van (Turkey), were investigated. Most of the remains were charred due to fire. Large quantities of Hordeum vulgare L. (hulled barley), Panicum miliaceum L. (broomcorn millet), and Setaria italica (L.) P.Beauvois (foxtail millet) were found at the study site, indicating the storage of agricultural surplus. Other types of cereal remains were also recorded, including Triticum aestivum L. (bread wheat) and Secale cereale L. (rye). Ground wheat grains were also recovered and their starch microstructure under scanning electron microscope suggests that these remains represent a bulgur-like food preparation. The data suggest that in the area of Ayanis plant-based agricultural activities were based mainly on cereals in the Iron Age. The findings also include fruits of Carum carvi L. (caraway, Persian cumin), Coriandrum sativum L. (coriander), and Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) Fuss (parsley). In view of the folkloric use of these plants, it is thought that the material from Ayanis represents condiments and/or medicinal herbs used by the Urartians in Anatolia about 2600 years ago.