Heat-induced paramagnetic centers in modern and archaeological lentils (Lens culinaris, Medik.) were studied by X-band (9.3 GHz) electron spin resonance (ESR) technique. The modern red lentil samples were heated in an electrical furnace at increasing temperatures in the range 70-500 degrees C. The ESR spectral parameters (the intensity,g-value and peak-to-peak line width) of the heat-induced organic radicals were investigated for modern Fed lentil (Lens culinaris, Medik.) samples. The obtained ESR spectra indicate that the relative number of heat-induced paramagnetic species and peak-to-peak line widths depends on the temperature and heating time of the modern lentil. The g-values also depend on the heating temperature but not heating time. Heated modern red lentils produced a range of organic radicals with g-values from g = 2.0062 to 2.0035. ESR signals of carbonised archaeological lentil samples from two archaeological deposits of the Van province in Turkey were studied and g-values, peak-to-peak line widths, intensities and elemental compositions were compared with those obtained for modern samples in order to assess at which temperature these archaeological lentils were heated in prehistoric sites. The maximum temperatures of the previous heating of carbonised UA5 and Y11 lentil seeds are as follows about 500 degrees C and above 500 degrees C, respectively. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.