Common pulse crops in the late Neolithic, Early, Middle and Late Bronze Ages Mediterranean and Near East, including Minoan Crete:
Faba beans (Vicia Faba) fa/ba ancient Greek
Faba beans are among the world’s most ancient crops. During the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron ages, they played an important role in spreading agriculture throughout Eurasia and North Africa, along with other pulses and cereals. They can be found in numerous archaeological deposits.
Peas (Pisum sativum)
Peas also belong to one of the oldest domesticated crops. Archaeological evidence dates its existence back to 10 000 BC to the Near East and Central Asia. During the Stone and Bronze ages they spread to Europe and the Mediterranean and then to India in 200 BC.
Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum)
Chickpeas originated in an area located between the southeast of Turkey and the western part of the Fertile Crescent. They were domesticated around 7 000 BC. This is the reason why chickpeas are culturally bound to the Middle East and Asia, and why they are a basic constituent of Asian diets.
Lentils (Lens culinaris)
Lentils were also domesticated in the Fertile Crescent – in what today is Iraq. As far back as 8 500-6 000 BC, archaeological evidence confirms the existence of lentils. Just like chickpeas, lentils are a basic constituent of Asian diets.
Cow peas (Vigna unguiculata)
Cow peas, as we know them today, originated in Sub Saharan Africa but the origin of wild varieties has been traced to southern Africa. Although today cowpeas are cultivated throughout the world, they are still an important component of traditional intercropping systems in the dry savannahs of Sub-Saharan Africa due to their high shade tolerance. Ever since their domestication, they have been culturally bound to this region.
Lupinus is regarded as one of the most diverse genus in the legumes family. It is crucial for its very high protein content – up to 45%- and for its versatility, ranging from human nutrition to forage. The two main varieties domesticated by ancient civilizations are part of two geographically isolated groups: White Lupine, (Lupinus albus) of the Old World group and Andean Lupine (Lupinus mutabilis) of the New World group.
AND also download this highly relevant document:
The Role of the Traditional Mediterranean Diet in the Development of Minoan Crete:
In this extremely detailed analysis of grain and pulse crops vetch, bitter vetch, lentils, chick peas, peas, grass peas, Celtic beans are all mentioned, with a great deal of information on how they were grown and how they were fully incorporated into the Minoan diet.
Since we have already deciphered, in some cases, with complete accuracy, the types of grain crops the Minoans grew, ie. kunisu for emmer wheat and dideru for einkorn wheat, plus sara2 (sarai) for flax, among others, with the information on the most common Bronze Age pulse crops we now have in hand, we may now draw the tentative conclusion that any one of the following words, in order of frequency of use on the tablets, are very likely pulse crops:
1 minute 20 10 10 6+ = 46+
2 pura2 (purai) 6 (with figs) 40 (with grains) (Haghia Triada only) 40
3 qanuma 20
all from Haghia Triada only...
Any 3 of the above probably refer to broad beans (faba/fava) , chick peas *, lupins *, vetch * in any permuted order.
and the crops they represent, permuted, could be any of the following, with the most likely candidates marked by an asterisk (*):
broad beans (faba/fava) *, chick peas *, lupins *, vetch *
Since four pulses are listed in English, versus only 3 in Minoan, one of the 4 is not one of the 3. But we cannot know which one.
with the following pulses also possible, but less likely, candidates:
bambara, cow peas, green peas, pigeon peas
7 thoughts on “Common pulse crops in the late Neolithic, Early, Middle and Late Bronze Ages Mediterranean and Near East, including Minoan Crete”
Reblogged this on Ancientfoods and commented:
Very informative, a must read!
Thanks for reblogging! You can imagine how vitally important this is to me.
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One of our faourite is the fava bean. Lovely with a little olive oil and small amount of onion mixed in.
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Oh really? I have never tried it. Now I have to now!
Rita, I just saw your comment…sounds like a dish I have to try.
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