Grain weight is often used in agronomic studies to understand grain yield and overall grain quality. However, in archaeobotanical studies, grain measurements are rarely used other than as an identification criterion. In the 2000s Ferrio et al. (2006) utilised charring experiments on modern grains to calculate the grain yield of archaeological wheat and barley. Based on Ferrio et al. (2006), we set-up two separate growth experiments for landraces of millet (Setaria italica) and barley (Hordeum vulgare). 30 barley landraces were grown under uniform conditions, and 12 millet landraces were grown under different watering regimes. Upon harvesting, the grains were dried and analysed using a Leica microscope coupled with the Leica Application Suit for measurements. Stable isotope analysis of these measured grains is in progress. The aims of this study are: (1) to understand the relationship between carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analyses of these grains and their growth conditions; (2) to understand if we can calculate grain weight analysis from archaeological seed remains and infer their landrace or growth conditions and if (1) and (2) apply then; (3) can we understand how environmental factors impacted past agricultural management practices?

About the presenter

Dr Ustunkaya is an archaeobotanist who has current projects running in Turkey, India, Spain and Scotland. She recieved her PhD from the University of Queensland in 2015 where she investigated the impact of climate change on the Hittite Empire during the Late Bronze Age period. She later on continued her archaeobotanical work as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge as part of TwoRains (ERC 648609) project based primarily in India. She has a EU Horizon 2020 MSCA Individual Fellowship and will start her new research position in Spain in 2021 utilising AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning). Dr Ustunkaya’s research interests involves people-environment relationship in the face of climate adversity, palaeodiet reconstruction, agricultural management practices in marginal environments, isotope analysis and grain weight analysis.

About Archaeology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Archaeology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of archaeological research and ideas amongst UQ archaeology students and staff. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment. It is hoped that anyone interested in current archaeological directions, both within and outside the School and University, will be able to attend and contribute to the series.