Garden variety seeds? Botanical remains from the Petra Garden and Pool Complex

Jennifer Ramsay, Leigh Ann Bedal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Archaeobotanical samples recovered during the 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2011 excavation seasons at the Petra Garden and Pool Complex (PGPC) in Jordan examined plants that were preserved during different phases of use of the site. The analysis of these remains attempts to determine what plants would have been grown in the garden in antiquity. Results indicated that the material recovered likely represented plants that had been preserved elsewhere in the area and then deposited in the garden to act as fertilizer. The remains were generally charred and were probably derived from fuel and/or waste deposits as it does not appear that the garden was catastrophically burned. Although it is difficult to ascertain garden variety plants under these preservation conditions, an analysis of the archaeobotanical data from the PGPC addresses the questions of what and how plants functioned in the local and regional economy, and how the role of the garden changed through time, in addition to providing insight into the general environmental or ecological conditions present in southern Jordan from the Late Hellenistic through Late Byzantine/Post-Classical periods. Although ornamental species represent a small fraction of materials collected, the presence of these taxa may indicate their occurrence in the garden. Even if garden plants are not readily identifiable, this study aids in addressing the larger issues of trade, economy and environment of this ancient city, as well as the feasibility of identifying garden plants in antiquity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-634
Number of pages14
JournalVegetation History and Archaeobotany
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Plant Science
  • Palaeontology


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