Food in a colonial setting: the flora assemblage of a short-lived Seleucid-founded site in the Near East

Andrea Orendi, Achim Lichtenberger, Oren Tal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we present the analysis of archaeobotanical material retrieved by means of flotation from well-secured features during recent excavation work carried out in 2019 and 2020 by the German-Israeli Tell Iẓṭabba Excavation Project in the Seleucid-founded town of Nysa-Scythopolis. Founded under Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–164 bce) and destroyed by the Hasmonaeans in the later years of John Hyrcanus (in 108/07 bce), the site offers a unique opportunity for observing the dietary habits of its settlers. The large sample size, namely the largest well-secured Seleucid assemblage ever analyzed in the southern Levant, together with its versatile provenance exhibit previously unknown information for the Hellenistic southern Levant vis-à-vis a unique case-study of high resolution systematic archaeobotanical analysis. The botanical assemblage from Tell Iẓṭabba gives a clearer picture of botanical dietary practices in Hellenistic Palestine. By presenting the archaeobotanical data of the published Hellenistic assemblages from the southern Levant, we offer a comprehensive overview of the agrarian resources cultivated and consumed as food at the time and period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-655
Number of pages15
JournalVegetation History and Archaeobotany
Issue number5
StatePublished - 31 Jan 2021


  • Cereals
  • Fruit
  • Hellenistic
  • Legumes
  • Southern Levant
  • Tell Iẓṭabba

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Plant Science
  • Palaeontology


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