Sweet Chestnut (Castanea Sativa Mill.) in Britain: Re-assessment of its Status as a Roman Archaeophyte

Jarman, Rob ORCID: 0000-0002-3560-1266, Hazell, Z, Campbell, G, Webb, Julia C ORCID: 0000-0002-1652-965X and Chambers, Frank M ORCID: 0000-0002-0998-2093 (2019) Sweet Chestnut (Castanea Sativa Mill.) in Britain: Re-assessment of its Status as a Roman Archaeophyte. Britannia, 50. pp. 49-74. doi:10.1017/S0068113X19000011

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The Roman period sees the introduction of many new plants and animals into Britain, with a profound impact on people’s experience of their environment. Sweet chestnut is considered to be one such introduction, for which records of sweet chestnut wood and charcoal from archaeological excavations of Romano-British period contexts have been used as evidence. This paper reviews the records for sweet chestnut in Britain pre-A.D. 650, by critically evaluating original excavation reports and examining archived specimens. This review re-assesses the original identifications of sweet chestnut and/or their dating and concludes that most of the evidence that justified sweet chestnut’s status as a Roman archaeophyte is untenable. The review emphasises the importance of securely identifying and directly dating plant material and of long-term curation by museums and archives.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sweet chestnut Castanea sativa; Oak quercus spp.; Archaeophyte; Roman; Plant remains; Museum archives; Plant translocation; REF2021
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2018 10:53
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:58
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/6189

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