Food Plants on Archaeological Sites

Lisa Moffett

in The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199212149
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

Food Plants on Archaeological Sites

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  • Archaeology
  • Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology



This article reviews the current state of archaeobotanical knowledge of food plants from English archaeological sites from the fifth to the eleventh century. It explores the species that have been recovered and at the biases introduced by different types of preservation, and briefly considers whether the archaeobotanical evidence can be used to look beyond the basic ‘shopping list’ of plants to activities related to production and consumption. It addresses some of the strengths and limitations of the archaeobotanical evidence. Cereals, legumes, fruits, nuts, vegetable, and flavourings are the food plants found in Anglo-Saxon sites. It is clearly shown that the taphonomy of botanical assemblages produces an apparent dichotomy between the waterlogged urban deposits which have produced most of the evidence for fruit, nuts, vegetables, and herbs, and the non-waterlogged rural sites where the evidence is mainly charred, and biased towards cereals.

Keywords: archaeobotanical evidence; Anglo-Saxon sites; cereals; legumes; fruits; nuts; vegetable; flavourings; preservation

Article.  6663 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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