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Universitat de Barcelona (2015)

From gathering to farming in semi-arid Northern Gujarat (India) : a multi-proxy approach

García-Granero Fos, Juan José

Titre : From gathering to farming in semi-arid Northern Gujarat (India) : a multi-proxy approach

Auteur : García-Granero Fos, Juan José

Université de soutenance  : Universitat de Barcelona

Grade  : Doctoral Tesis 2015

Résumé
Understanding how human societies adapted to past environmental and climatic variability is fundamental to face present and future climatic events, particularly in highly vulnerable arid and semi-arid regions. Northern Gujarat (northwestern India) is a semi-arid ecotone where high intra- and inter-annual precipitation variability has a great impact on the availability of resources and, consequently, on human populations that depend upon them. The main aim of this thesis is to understand how and why plant-related subsistence strategies changed throughout the Holocene in northern Gujarat, with special emphasis on the transition from gathering to farming. This study considers macro and microbotanical remains from two hunter-gatherer occupations (Vaharvo Timbo and the Mesolithic levels at Loteshwar) and two agro-pastoral camps (Datrana IV and the Anarta levels at Loteshwar) to understand how early and middle Holocene populations interacted with the environment in terms of livelihood strategies. Moreover, archaeobotanical remains from one late Holocene urban settlement (Shikarpur) are also analysed to ascertain how urban societies exploited this semi-arid environment in terms of plant acquisition and consumption. The results show that hunter-gatherer groups that inhabited northern Gujarat during the early-mid (semi)permanent water bodies, including grasses, pulses, sedges, tubers and sesame. Holocene exploited a wide range of wild plants originating from The progressive weakening of the Indian Summer Monsoon ca. 7000 years ago compelled human populations to adopt semi-nomadic pastoralism and plant cultivation, which resulted in the domestication of several small millet species, pulses and sesame. With the advent of settled urban life in the late Holocene the inhabitants of northern Gujarat developed a more intensive land-use strategy involving a cereal-pulse intercropping agricultural system. This study is an illustrative example of human adaptation to climatic and environmental changes in semi-arid regions. From a methodological perspective, the results of this thesis show that an integrated multi-proxy approach, in which several botanical proxies and a broad-spectrum sampling strategy are used together, is the best possible way to explore diet and plant use strategies in past societies. Future research will integrate archaeobotanical data in a multi-disciplinary perspective to help designing sustainable land use strategies in northern Gujarat and other marginal areas worldwide.

Sujets : Paleobotànica Paleobotánica Paleobotany Domesticació Domesticación Domestication Plantes conreades Plantas cultivadas Cultivated plants Midó Almidón Starch Fitòlits Fitolitos Phytoliths Àsia del sud Asia del Sur South Asia

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