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Manure for millet: Grain δ15N values as indicators of prehistoric cropping intensity of Panicum miliaceum and Setaria italica

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  • Bent Tolstrup Christensen
  • Johannes Lund Jensen
  • Yu Dong, Joint International Research Laboratory of Environmental and Social Archaeology, Shandong University, Qingdao, Shandong, 266237, China, University of Oxford, Kina
  • Amy Bogaard, University of Oxford, Storbritannien
Broomcorn and foxtail millet are the only major domesticated plants indigenous to prehistoric Eurasia to rely on the C4photosynthetic pathway. Here we study the impact of animal manure (AM) on broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum) and foxtail millet (Setaria italica), grown in the Askov Long-Term Experiment, using unmanured soil and soil dressed with phosphorus plus potassium (PK) as reference treatments. Animal manure had a marked effect on yields and on the δ15N values of grains. For broomcorn millets grown on manured soil, the average δ15N value was 5.8‰. When grown on unmanured and PK-treated soils, the δ15N values were 0.4‰ and 0.2‰, respectively. For foxtail millet the δ15N values also differed between grains from unmanured (-1.0‰), PK (0.7‰) and manured (6.3‰) treatments. Thus, when compared to unmanured soil, the offset due to manure was 7.3‰ for Setaria and 5.3‰ for the two Panicum varieties. In accordance with previous studies on C3 crops, our study suggests that δ15N values in charred millet grains recovered from archaeological sites could provide a robust indicator of prehistoric manuring intensity.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer105554
TidsskriftJournal of Archaeological Science
Vol/bind139
ISSN0305-4403
DOI
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2022

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