Digital Atlas of Economic Plants in Archaeology

"Having just received the latest Digital Atlas volume from Holland - this time the volume on Economic Plants in Archaeology - I just wanted publically to congratulate and thank all involved for this remarkable work, including of course the publisher who has been very helpful with queries and delivery as well as producing such handsome volumes. As we all know, well recorded reference collections are at the core of what we do but are very hard both to make accessible and fund! These volumes are a fantastic resource and have been taken up by our archaeobotany group with some gusto, being especially useful for newcomers. The double set of copies in our lab and the website will be a cornerstone of our work for years to come. Many, many thanks for your work."
            Andrew Fairbairn, University of Queensland, Australia on The archaeobotany mailing list

The third part of the Digital Plant Atlas presents illustrations of subfossil remains of plants with economic value. These plant remains mainly derive from excavations in the Old World (Europe, Western Asia and North Africa) that the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI, Berlin) and the Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA) have conducted or participated in. Plant material is usually very perishable, but can nevertheless be preserved in archaeological sites if the biological decay of the material is blocked. Many plant remains are discovered during excavations in carbonized form, where despite having been in contact with fire, they have not been completely reduced to ash. Extremely dry climatic conditions, like those in Egypt, can also preserve plant material in a completely dessicated condition. Most of the economically valuable plants illustrated here have beencarbonized or desiccated. So this atlas links up very well with the Digital Atlas of Economic Plants.

Like the other atlasses, this atlas is a combination of a book and a website.

The book

Just as in part two of the series, this part not only includes illustrations of seeds and fruits, but also of other plant parts. The resulting variety in seed and fruit forms will be illustrated by examples from different excavations. To support their identification and determination, also pictures of recent plants and relevant plant parts  have been included.


The website

To supplement the photographs, the website will also include morphometric measurements of the subfossil seeds and fruits. These measurements can be compared with own measurements of the plant taxa in question.


If you would like to be kept informed of the publication of this atlas, please register for the mailing list of the Digital Plant Atlas.

Extra information

A sample chapter at a low resolution (PDF, 72 dpi, 5 MB).

All images of plant parts on this page and in the banner can be enlarged by clicking on them.


Title: Digital Atlas of Economic Plants in Archaeology
Authors: R. Neef, R.T.J. Cappers & R.M. Bekker
ISBN: 9789491431029
Year of publication: 2011
Design: 760 pages, hardcover, full colour, size 21 x 29.7 cm (A4)
Plant families
: 56
Plant species (Taxa) 191
Photographs: 773  photographs of subfossil plant parts, 1137 photographs of recent plants and plant parts 
: English and 15 indices (scientific plant name, pharmaceutical plant name, English, German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Arab, Arab in transliteration, Turkish, Chinese, Pinyin (Chinese in transliteration), Hindi, Sanskrit, and Malayalam)
Price:   € 215.-,  incl. 6% VAT. 
Purchase of the book grants access to the protected parts of the websites of the project
Free download: A sample chapter of the atlas

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