Relevance of Banana Seeds in Archaeology

Edmond De Langhe

Abstract


In this contribution, the importance of banana seeds collected during archaeological investigations is indicated. Because fully-formed seeds are not ordinarily produced in bananas cultivated for food, the archaeological relevance of banana seeds may initially appear to be limited. However, there are a number of contexts in which the recovery and identification of seeds can be important for understanding the initial domestication and dispersal of bananas by people. In this respect, the possible existence of naturalized species and/or subspecies is hereby reported. Several innovative hypotheses are advanced based on botanical considerations, which may have profound consequences for the reconstruction of the prehistory of banana domestication and the involved regions, and which archaeology can assist in confirming, modulating or refuting.

 


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Ethnobotany Research and Applications (ISSN 1547-3465) is published online by the Department of Ethnobotany, Institute of Botany, Ilia State University.
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