Reconstructing Food Systems from the Late Holocene Context of Mochena Borago Rock shelter, Wolayta, Southern Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Mochena Borago rock shelter is a very rich archaeological site with one of the most complete late Pleistocene cultural sequence in the Horn of Africa. Despite the rich cultural sequence, the pre-history and historic period of human and plant interaction and ecological history of this site are poorly documented and reconstructed. The objective of this study was to reconstruct food systems of the ancient inhabitants of Mochena Borago rock shelter in the Late Holocene period. Archaeobotanical investigation was conducted on a 27 soil sample bags of 2000 and 2001 French Field seasons at the Laboratory of the ARCCH (Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage).For the better interpretation of the archaeaobotanical materials and data, ethnoarcheological studies were undertaken in the five Kebeles of Sodo Zurea Woreda. Based on this, a total of 64 plant spices were documented and 112 seeds and fruit stones were identified by the Archaeobotanical investigation which included Sapindaceae cf. Deinbollia type (n=55), Myrtaceae cf. Syzigium guineense type (n=33), Plectranthus edulis (n=9), Euphorbiaceae Croton sp. (n=7), Cordia cf. africana (n=2), Ebenaceae cf. Diospyros (n=1), Olea europaea sub sp. cuspidate (n=1) and the rest four were unidentified. The ethnobotanical documentation reveled that five plant types that were used as food, medicine and raw materials to be similar with the plants recovered by Archaeobotanical investigation. Among the identified botanical remains, Plectranthus edulis which is an indigenous crop for the study area, Cordia cf.africana and Olea europaea sub sp. cusipdata are reported for the first time in archaeobotanical context in the whole region of EthiopiaMochena



Borago Rock shelter,Food Systems