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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Staff

Publication details for Professor Mike Church

Treasure, E. R. & Church, M. J. (2017). Can't find a pulse? Celtic bean (Vicia faba L.) in British prehistory. Environmental Archaeology 22(2): 113-127.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Archaeobotanical research on prehistoric crops in Britain has primarily focussed on cereals and the potential importance of alternative crops, such as pulses, has often been overlooked. This paper reviews evidence for Celtic bean (Vicia faba L.) in British prehistory, using a database of archaeobotanical assemblages from 75 sites. Celtic bean is rare in the Neolithic – Early Bronze Age and it only becomes frequent from the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 1500 cal BC) onwards, particularly in southern England. Though there is a paucity of evidence at many sites, it is suggested that this reflects a preservation bias and in some areas at least, Celtic bean formed an important element of past agricultural systems.