Navigation Links
Fossilized pollen unlocks secrets of ancient royal garden
Date:2/16/2012

Researchers have long been fascinated by the secrets of Ramat Rahel, located on a hilltop above modern-day Jerusalem. The site of the only known palace dating back to the kingdom of Biblical Judah, digs have also revealed a luxurious ancient garden. Since excavators discovered the garden with its advanced irrigation system, they could only imagine what the original garden might have looked like in full bloom until now.

Using a unique technique for separating fossilized pollen from the layers of plaster found in the garden's waterways, researchers fromTel Aviv University's Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology have now been able to identify what grew in the ancient royal gardens of Ramat Rahel. And based on the garden's archaeological clues, they have been able to reconstruct the lay-out of the garden.

According to Prof. Oded Lipschits, Dr. Yuval Gadot, and Dr. Dafna Langgut, the garden featured the expected local vegetation such as common fig and grapevine, but also included a bevy of exotic plants such as citronand Persian walnut trees. The citron, which apparently emigrated from India via Persia,made its first appearance in the modern-day Middle East in Ramat Rahel's royal garden.

Plastered pools a "pollen trap"

One of the unique features of Ramat Rahel's garden is its advanced irrigation system. The scope of the garden is even more impressive, says Dr. Gadot, because there was no permanent water source at the site. Rainwater was efficiently collected and distributed throughout the garden with aesthetic water installations that included pools, underground channels, tunnels, and gutters.

These installations finally allowed researchers to uncover what they had been searching for. Early attempts to remove pollen grains from the site's soil in order to reconstruct the botanical components of the garden were unfruitful because the pollen had oxidized. But after noticing that the channels and pools themselves were coated with plaster, probably due to renovation, the researchers theorized that if the plaster had ever been renewed while the garden was in bloom, pollen could have stuck to the wet plaster, acting as a "trap," and dried within it. Luckily, this hunch proved to be correct.

While some plaster layers included only typicalnative vegetation, one of the layers, dated to the Persian period (the 5th-4th centuries B.C.E.), also included local fruit trees, ornamentals, and imported trees from far-off lands."This is a very unique pollen assemblage," explains Dr. Langgut, a pollen expert. Among the unusual vegetation are willow and poplar, which required irrigation in order to grow in the garden; ornamentals such as myrtle and water lilies; native fruit trees including the grape vine, the common fig, and the olive; and imported citron, Persian walnut, cedar of Lebanon, and birch trees. Researchers theorize that these exotics were imported by the ruling Persian authorities from remote parts of the empire to flaunt the power of their imperial administration.

This is the first time that the exact botanical elements have been reconstructed in an ancient royal garden, say the researchers. The botanical and archaeological information they have collected will help them to re-create the garden so that visitors can soon experience the floral opulence of Ramat Rahel.

The origins of tradition

In their migrations, human beings distributed different plants and animals throughout the world, mostly for economic purposes, says Dr. Gadot. In contrast, at Ramat Rahel, royalty designed the garden with the intent of impressing visitors with wealth and worldliness.

Certainly, the decision to import various trees has had a lasting impact on the region and on Judaism as well, says Prof. Lipschits. The citron tree, for example, which made its first appearance in Israel in this garden, has worked its way into Jewish tradition. The citron, or etrog, is one of the four species of plants used at Sukkot, and the earliest appearance of these species was at the garden of Ramat Rahel.


'/>"/>
Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Fossilized pollen reveals climate history of northern Antarctica
2. Ancient DNA, not fossilized bones, shows late survival of Ice Age megafauna
3. Worlds largest snake discovered in fossilized rainforest
4. Pollen research not be sniffed at
5. Pollen also appears outside flowering season
6. UF Pine lsland pollen study leads to revision of states ancient geography
7. Amount of dust, pollen matters for cloud precipitation, climate change
8. Gone with the wind: Far-flung pine pollen still potent miles from the tree
9. Algae and pollen grains provide evidence of remarkably warm period in Antarcticas history
10. University Hospitals Case Medical Center unlocks mystery of dystonia with advanced imaging
11. In quest for new therapies, clinician-scientist team unlocks hidden information in human genome
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Fossilized pollen unlocks secrets of ancient royal garden
(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global ... ... at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period 2017-2021. ... based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. ... the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... SEATTLE , April 5, 2017  The Allen ... the Allen Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic ... large-scale 3D imaging data, the first application of deep ... edited human stem cell lines and a growing suite ... the platform for these and future publicly available resources ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... 2017  Data captured by IsoCode, IsoPlexis ... a statistically significant association between the potency ... and objective response of cancer patients post-treatment. ... whether cancer patients will respond to CAR-T ... as to improve both pre-infusion potency testing and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/22/2017)... ... September 22, 2017 , ... Brain State Technologies®, a leading ... proceeds will be used to fund production of the company’s new B2v2® brainwave ... by nearly 1,000%. , The B2v2 is the world’s first brain-mirroring wellness product ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... includes executive, engineering and manufacturing functions to The LaunchPort™ Accelerator at the City ... a full range of manufacturing and business services to its Residents. , ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... research sector professionals, has announced the addition of 5 new courses to its ... - Compliance with Regulation 21 CFR Part 11 on Electronic Records and Electronic ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... ... appointed Vishwas Paralkar to the role of chief scientific officer. In this role, ... report to Cybrexa’s president and CEO, Per Hellsund. , “I was impressed with ...
Breaking Biology Technology: