Advanced

Manuring practices in the first millennium AD in southern Sweden inferred from isotopic analysis of crop remains

Larsson, Mikael LU ; Bergman, Jakob LU and Lagerås, Per (2019) In PLoS ONE 14(4).
Abstract
This study uses crop stable nitrogen isotope analysis of charred grain to explore manuring practices in arable production at the affluent regional center Uppåkra and a set of smaller surrounding sites, dating to the first millennium AD in southern Sweden. The isotopic analysis focuses on hulled barley, the principle crop in the Scandinavian Iron Age, and the minor crops: bread wheat, emmer wheat, rye and oat, are included to compare manuring practices in cultivation of other crop species during this period. A field experiment was first conducted to establish relationships between manuring and δ15N values in modern grain from known growing conditions. The data formed an interpretive framework to reconstruct past agricultural practices and... (More)
This study uses crop stable nitrogen isotope analysis of charred grain to explore manuring practices in arable production at the affluent regional center Uppåkra and a set of smaller surrounding sites, dating to the first millennium AD in southern Sweden. The isotopic analysis focuses on hulled barley, the principle crop in the Scandinavian Iron Age, and the minor crops: bread wheat, emmer wheat, rye and oat, are included to compare manuring practices in cultivation of other crop species during this period. A field experiment was first conducted to establish relationships between manuring and δ15N values in modern grain from known growing conditions. The data formed an interpretive framework to reconstruct past agricultural practices and manuring intensity in the archaeological study area. Our results from the ancient grains have demonstrated that barley from the early phase in the study area (AD 0–200) varies widely in its δ15N values, reflecting mixed manuring regimes. In the following periods (AD 200–1000), isotopic values are relatively high overall, indicating systematic input of manure. In this paper, we explore whether the isotopic data that indicates sustained and high manuring levels could reflect the wealth of Uppåkra and its surrounding areas by showing prosperity also in its agricultural production, since intensive manuring would have required more resource and labor investments. The new crop nitrogen isotopic data shed light on the agricultural practices of a long-lived Iron Age center and its surrounding areas. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
PLoS ONE
volume
14
issue
4
article number
e0215578
pages
24 pages
publisher
Public Library of Science
external identifiers
  • scopus:85064486620
  • pmid:30998760
ISSN
1932-6203
DOI
10.1371/journal.pone.0215578
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a530260c-6802-4d55-9e49-897c649f0ae9
date added to LUP
2019-04-25 10:12:20
date last changed
2020-12-29 02:43:26
@article{a530260c-6802-4d55-9e49-897c649f0ae9,
  abstract     = {This study uses crop stable nitrogen isotope analysis of charred grain to explore manuring practices in arable production at the affluent regional center Uppåkra and a set of smaller surrounding sites, dating to the first millennium AD in southern Sweden. The isotopic analysis focuses on hulled barley, the principle crop in the Scandinavian Iron Age, and the minor crops: bread wheat, emmer wheat, rye and oat, are included to compare manuring practices in cultivation of other crop species during this period. A field experiment was first conducted to establish relationships between manuring and δ15N values in modern grain from known growing conditions. The data formed an interpretive framework to reconstruct past agricultural practices and manuring intensity in the archaeological study area. Our results from the ancient grains have demonstrated that barley from the early phase in the study area (AD 0–200) varies widely in its δ15N values, reflecting mixed manuring regimes. In the following periods (AD 200–1000), isotopic values are relatively high overall, indicating systematic input of manure. In this paper, we explore whether the isotopic data that indicates sustained and high manuring levels could reflect the wealth of Uppåkra and its surrounding areas by showing prosperity also in its agricultural production, since intensive manuring would have required more resource and labor investments. The new crop nitrogen isotopic data shed light on the agricultural practices of a long-lived Iron Age center and its surrounding areas.},
  author       = {Larsson, Mikael and Bergman, Jakob and Lagerås, Per},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {04},
  number       = {4},
  publisher    = {Public Library of Science},
  series       = {PLoS ONE},
  title        = {Manuring practices in the first millennium AD in southern Sweden inferred from isotopic analysis of crop remains},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0215578},
  doi          = {10.1371/journal.pone.0215578},
  volume       = {14},
  year         = {2019},
}