Zenon’s flour: grains of truth from Tel Kedesh
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Citation (published version)Andrea Berlin. 2019. "Zenon’s flour: grains of truth from Tel Kedesh." Biblical Archaeology Review, Issue November/December, pp. 34 - 40.
According to one of the Zenon papyri, In 259 BCE the Ptolemaic courier Zenon stopped at the site of Kedesh, located today in northern Israel, to pick up some flour. In our excavations at this site from 1999-2011, we uncovered an enormous public administrative building with several storerooms filled with large jars. In one room fourteen locally made storage jars lined the walls. Phytoliths taken from the jars turned out to be identifiable as Triticum aestivum, commonly known as bread wheat. This may allow a scientific identification of “Syrian wheat,” a strain first mentioned in third century BCE Egyptian papyri as part of a package of agricultural innovations introduced by Ptolemy II Philadelphus.