Local time at Horbat Omrit, Israel

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Week -3: Emmer wheat

One of the first things apparent at the Omrit site is the wild emmer wheat that surrounds and engulfs it. Wild emmer wheat is the ancient progenitor of our 2 major domesticated varieties: durum wheat and bread wheat, wheat that provides 20% of the world's total calories. (In Roman times that percentage was, of course, higher.)

At Omrit it's a weed but in world history (and the history of civilization) it's a major player. Wild and domesticated emmer wheat originated in the Fertile Cresent, perhaps even in northern Israel, and I'll have more about this in future blog posts. For now I'll leave you with a caption (from Genesis 3) for the above photo taken at Omrit:

"Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread."

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