Some examples from our expanding Botanical Reference Collection

Triticum dicoccum - Black emmer (ear). © Copyright ARS Ltd 2020
Triticum monocum (ear). © Copyright ARS Ltd 2020
Triticum spelta - Spelt wheat. © Copyright ARS Ltd 2020

As part of the continuing development of our palaeoenvironmental specialist services, we have been making excellent progress in the gathering of modern seeds and plant material for our botanical reference collection. The collection has recently surpassed one hundred different species from all parts of the British landscape, with a particular focus on agricultural habitats more commonly encountered in the archaeological record. The material has been gathered from a wide variety of sources and often comes from kind donations by individuals who are keen to assist with our investigations.

Ears of emmer wheat (above left) and einkorn wheat (above centre) were kindly donated by a grain supplier from Bulgaria who specialises in the production of ancient varieties of grain. Grain species such as these are speculated to be healthier, hardier alternatives to modern wheat and are rapidly growing more popular in the health foods market.

Myosotis scorpiodes - Water Forget-me-not. © Copyright ARS Ltd 2020
Iris pseudacorus - Yellow Iris. © Copyright ARS Ltd 2020

The example of spelt wheat grain and chaff (above right) was provided with an assortment of spelt chaff and straw by a pillow producer who creates orthopaedic pillows for dogs and pillows for humans with allergies. Seeds from water forget-me-not (far left) and yellow iris (left) were provided with donations from a seed cultivator who specialises in wild plants for growing around ponds and lakes in gardens and parks. These samples assisted us with our recent investigations into ancient wetlands.

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