AGRICURB conference, March 2016

We are pleased to announce that preparation for the AGRICURB conference on “Agricultural Origins of Urbanization: ‘Intensification’ in Late Prehistoric Western Eurasia and Beyond” is now underway.

Keep an eye out for updates, including links to registration, on our Conference page.

Crop sampling in Haute Provence

Join AGRICURB at the EAA in Glasgow!


Three members of the AGRICURB team will be presenting their latest work at the upcoming European Association of Archaeologists conference in Glasgow.

Amy Bogaard will be talking about modern and ancient crop ‘isoscapes’ in the SA10 session at 8.10am on Friday. She will also be leading a discussion on ‘Understanding diversity of Neolithic houses and households’ in the RI1 session at 5pm on Saturday.

Elizabeth Stroud will be talking about her archaeobotanical and stable isotope results from the Chalcolithic sites of Çamlıbel Tarlası and the West mound of Çatalhöyük in the RI6 session at 9.30am on Friday.

And Amy Styring will be presenting her isotope results of cereal grains from the Late Neolithic lakeshore site of Hornstaad Hörnle IA in southwest Germany in the RI1 session at 4pm on Saturday.

Hope to see you there!

Arable weeds as ‘tools’ for organic farmers: a workshop in Haute Provence, France

A one-day workshop on the use of field weeds to monitor ecological conditions was held in Sault (Vaucluse) on March 18, 2015, with the help of the chambre d’agriculture. The meeting brought local farmers together with ecologists, ethnobotanists and archaeobotanists to discuss the interpretation of weed flora using field observations and functional ecology.  A key aim was the development of a new weed ecology guide for producers.  This work is supported by a NERC Impact Acceleration grant.

Looking at arable weeds

Looking at arable weeds

Workshop in Haute Provence

Workshop in Haute Provence

Agrobiodiversity and archaeobotany – workshop in Morocco

An interdisciplinary workshop exploring the agrobiodiversity of traditional agrosystems in Morocco, and their relevance for understanding past farming systems in the region and beyond, was held at Chefchaouen, Morocco, March 24-28, 2015. This was a ‘Research Links’ workshop funded by the British Council and CNRST, and co-organised by Mohammed Ater (Tetouan) and Amy Bogaard (Oxford).  Over 30 young researchers from Morocco and the UK participated in the workshop, together with ‘mentors’ Professor Abdelkader Taleb (Rabat), Dr John Hodgson (Oxford/Sheffield) and Dr Daryl Stump (York). The workshop included an excursion to observe a ‘traditional’ olive growing area and an organic demonstration farm (Bellota).

Traditional olive grove

A traditional olive grove

Looking at the functional attributes of weeds

Looking at the functional attributes of weeds

Weed survey and isotope sampling in the Rif Region, Morocco

In May, the AGRICURB team returned to the north of Morocco to continue weed survey and isotope sampling of modern crop fields. We were based at Bellota, an agroecology centre 30km from Chefchaouen in the Rif region of Morocco. The centre promotes a sustainable and holistic approach to agriculture, offering training courses to local farmers to help them improve the fertility of their soil, without the use of chemical fertilisers.

The trip proved to be particularly interesting because of the prevalence of extensively managed pulse fields – broad bean, bitter vetch, lentil and chickpea. This is the first time that we have carried out weed surveys and isotope sampling on such extensively managed pulse fields (up to 1 hectare in area), which will provide a contrast to the results of previous studies on intensively cultivated garden plots in Evvia, Greece and Asturias, Spain.

For more information about the work at Bellota, here is a video of Salaheddin El Azzouzi describing the project (in French).

Lentil field

A very steep lentil field!