Cultivated plants in medieval Kraków (Poland), with special reference to amaranth (Amaranthus lividus L. cf. var lividus) and ruderal communities
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W. Szafer Institute of Botany, Department of Palaeobotany, Polish Academy of Sciences, Lubicz 46, 31-512 Kraków, Poland
AGH University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Protection, al. A. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Kraków, Poland
Archaeological Museum in Kraków, Senacka 3, 31-002 Kraków, Poland
Online publication date: 2015-06-23
Publication date: 2015-06-23
Acta Palaeobotanica 2015; 55(1): 97–114
This paper summarises archaeobotanical studies of plant macroremains derived from medieval town deposits of Kraków, focusing on cultivated plants. Correspondence analysis was used in interpreting the botanical data and their archaeological context. Changes in cultivated plant composition were connected mainly with the chartering of the town under Magdeburg law in 1257, and are discussed in terms of their temporal relation to the chartering of Kraków and possible changes in the food preferences and wealth of the residents. Millet and wheat remains are rarer in specimens from after the establishment of the town; this seems connected mainly with the relocation of the mills outside the city walls. The number of cultivated plants generally increased in the late medieval samples, but hop and mallow were more frequent in the tribal period than later. Problems in the definition of cultivated plants are discussed. The probable escape of cultivated amaranth (Amaranthus lividus L. var. lividus) from gardens to ruderal communities is indicated in the samples. A comparison of archaeobotanical data from written sources shows the incompleteness of both types of source, including the clear underrepresentation of some cultivated plants in the archaeological deposits of the town (especially peas, Pisum sativum), a deficiency which should be considered in other archaeobotanical and palaeodietary studies.