Morphotype broadening of the grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) from Oxus civilization 4000 BP, Central Asia
The region of Transoxiana underwent an early agricultural-demographic transition leading to the earliest proto-urban centers in Central Asia. The agronomic details of this cultural shift are still poorly studied, especially regarding the role that long-generation perennials, such as grapes, played in the cultivation system. In this paper, we present directly dated remains of grape pips from the early urban centers of Sapalli and Djarkutan, in south Uzbekistan. We also present linear morphometric data, which illustrate a considerable range of variation under cultivation that we divide into four distinct morphotypes according to pip shape. While some of the pips in these two assemblages morphologically fall within the range of wild forms, others more closely resemble modern domesticated populations. Most of the specimens measure along a gradient between the two poles, showing a mixed combination of domesticated and wild features. We also point out that the seeds recovered from the Djarkutan temple were, on average, larger and contained more affinity towards domesticated forms than those from domestic contexts. The potential preference of morphotypes seems to suggest that there were recognized different varieties that local cultivators might aware and possibly propagating asexually.