June 07, 2008

Einkorn wheat domestication in Karacadağ

From the paper:
In conclusion, Fig. 1C shows a 2-fold scenario: Einkorn domestication near the Karacadağ and T. urartu domestication along the middle Euphrates. These two domestication events would have met over time and mixed plant remains would occur at the respective sites, such as Dja’de, as the preliminary data of Willcox (2005) might imply. The crossing barrier between these two species could explain why the integrities of the species are maintained. And it also explains why an extinct (Fuller 2007) domesticated 2-grained “Einkorn” wheat (which we assume to be T. urartu) might have followed the spread of agriculture, for example into the Balkans (Kroll 1992) and Germany (Kreuz and Boenke 2002), and would have left no DNA trace in modern Einkorn. Also interesting is the human dimension: these two domestication events meet close to Göbekli Tepe, the impressive site built by hunter-gatherers on the verge of becoming farmers (Schmidt 2007a, 2007b; Curry 2008). One might also put it the other way around: domestication spread north and south from Göbekli Tepe, making the ceremonial meetings at Göbekli Tepe the “spiritual” source of these two domestications. Also, emmer wheat (T. dicoccum) has its domestication site nearby (Luo et al. 2007).

Genome. 2008 Jun;51(6):444-451.

Reassessing domestication events in the Near East: Einkorn and Triticum urartu.

Heun M, Haldorsen S, Vollan K.

To reassess domestication events in the Near East, accessions of Triticum urartu from a well-described sampling were combined with a representative sample covering the Karacadağ Einkorn wheat domestication. The observed DNA separation between the two wheat species accounts for the main differentiation, but geographic variation within T. urartu is evident and so is the domestication scenario among wild, feral, and domesticated Einkorn. In contrast to the clear DNA differences, it is difficult to separate living T. urartu from wild Einkorn based on morphology. With archaeobotanical material a distinction of carbonized remains of these two wheats is considered to be impossible. We reviewed the differences concerning morphology and maturity and combined these observations with information about archaeological sites in the Near East. In conclusion, the excavation sites in the middle Euphrates may contain T. urartu rather than Einkorn wheat and T. urartu may underlie the reported occurrence of the extinct 2-grained domesticated "Einkorn" wheat. The first Einkorn wheat domestication sensu stricto seems to have happened around the Karacadağ, as reported earlier. The human dimension shown by the excavation of Göbekli Tepe can explain why domesticated phenotypes might have spread quickly.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Finding how to plant cereals is common through out Near East and Greece even from the Mesolithic.
Sporadic cultivation of a plant or sporadic herding of an animal doesn't justify the prise of being the first who domesticated the particular plants/animals.
For example in Shillourokambos of Cyprus a man was found with a cat buried there. The site in from 8200 BC, it is Neolithic, and it originates from the Levant. Some support that we should attribute to Cyprus the domestication of cats.
We know though that cats were domesticated in Egypt where intensive domestication of the species had been observed and many different types of the species where found in domesticated form.
Of course the dates of Egypt are much more recent (4500 BC).
There is the possibility that Cyprus after all might have domesticated cats before Egypt but that will require further research and evidence to be accepted.
Something similar might occur here.
Einkorn wheat have been found in Karacadag but extensive cultivation and earlier dates of it we have from Tell Abu Hureyra.
This Syrian site gives dates of 11500 BP (9500 BC) and also presents a strong Neolithic economy with a variety of domesticated plants.
Additionally Mureybet in Syria again also gives very early dates for the Einkorn wheat.
That's why we have to be careful in attributing Karacadag the title of the womb from which Einkorn wheat sprang.
Besides Nevali Cori, an Anatolian Neolithic site of 9000 BC, which is the twin of Cobekli Tepe which the post correlates with Karacadag did n't give samples of Einkorn wheat at all!!!