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The project is structured in six closely inter-related work packages (figure 1). Aside from the general management and dissemination, the project comprises three analytical and one modelling workpackages.


The main objectives and deliverables of this WP are:

  • To assess the potential of isotopic studies in C4 modern plants.

  • To establish the relationship between water availability, isotopic signals and phytoliths ratio.

  • To assess inter- and intra-sample variability in isotopic signals and phytolith production.

​Data to be collected:

  • Carbon isotopic discrimination values (∆) and isotopic ratio (∂13C) of grains;

  • phytolith production (concentration gram/dry plant material) and ratios between environmentally and genetically controlled forms;

  • values of ∂18O and ∂30Si in phytoliths.​

Ethnography and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)
  • The main objectives and deliverables of WP3 are:

  • To contrast and validate the experimental data in ‘real life’ settings where conditions are only partially controlled.

  • To acquire data on agricultural dynamics and human behaviour to be used for the construction of models water management and landuse practices.

  • To document well-established agricultural practices and techniques in danger of disappearing.

  • To collect wood specimens along a rainfall gradient in the three study area and provide a rainfall ∂13C signal.

  • To assess the relation between fresh and charred ∂13C signal.

  • To provide a reference curve for the palaeorainfall isotopic signal to be used as baseline for comparing rainfall availability for past crops.​​


The main objectives and deliverables of WP4 are:

  • To statistically assess the experimental and ethnographic data.

  • To create model(s) to correctly classify water management practice in archaeobotanical samples.


The main objective and deliverable for WP5 is:

  • Application of the novel methodology to archaeobotanical assemblages to establish past water management and land use practices at three biophysical hotspots in Asia and Africa.

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