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International Research Journal of Plant Science

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Comparison between archaeobotany of inland and coastal sites in the Eastern Desert of Egypt in 300 B.C.-700 A.D.

Abstract

Mohamed Ahmed Fadl

Eastern Desert of Egypt includes many archaeological sites ranging from early Ptolemaic to late Byzantine some are forts and ports on the Red Sea Coast and others are quarries on the west of the mountainous ranges of the Red Sea. Analysis and comparison of data obtained by analysis of plant macro-remains from four sites, a fort (Abu-Sha’ar), a harbor (Berenike), and two quarries (Mons Porphyrites and Mons Claudianus) revealed the presence of 54776 plant fragments identified to 160 plant species. Remains of 96 wild plant species are identified, they represent 40.5% of the total remains; Acacia tortilis and Avicennia marina were the most important native trees in the coastal sites, they were used as timber and firewood resource in Abu-Sha’ar and Berenike, while wood of Acacia nilotica tree was dominant in Mons Porphyrites and Mons Claudianus. Shrubs as Cleome droserifolia, Pulicaria crispa, Forsskaolea tenacissima and Zilla spinosa were the dominant in Mons Porphyrites and Mons Claudianus. Fruit trees (native and introduced) were represented by 22 plant species (4% of the total remains); seven trees are native to Egyptian flora and the rest were cultivated or introduced from Mediterranean regions, India or China. Remains of 34 cultivated plant species were identified, they represent 35.4% of the total remains; Triticum durrum and Hordeum vulgare were the dominant cereal crops, Lens culinaris was the most important legume. Remains of 13 trees introduced wood, represent 20.1% of total remains, Tectonia grandis wood fragments represent 91.7% of the total introduced wood, it was recorded only in Berenike, this confirmed the relation between this port and India. Most remains of mesophytic plants and cultivated cereals were retrieved from Mons Porphyrites and Mons Claudianus which indicate a strong dependence on the Nile valley.

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