The beginning of olive (olea europaea) cultivation in the old world: A reassessment

Nili Liphschitz*, Ram Gophna, Moshe Hartman, Gideon Biger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The olive was one of the first fruit trees cultivated by man. It has been claimed that cultivation of the olive began in Israel during the Chalcolithic Period. Careful botanical examination of pollen grains, stones and wood remains gathered from living trees and from archaeological contexts show that it is impossible to distinguish between wild and cultivated olives. The ample remnants of olive found in archaeological contexts, together with other finds, such as pottery vessels, oil lamps, and olive oil installations, indicate that the earliest widespread use of olives in Israel was in the Early Bronze Age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-453
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1991


  • Cultivation
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Olive
  • Pollen grains
  • Stones
  • Wood remains


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