Main Article Content
New technologies of DNA sequencing can provide valuable insights into the identity of archaeobotanical remains, early human-environment interactions and an understanding of social and religious activities. In the Late Bronze archaeological site of Kastrouli, Phokis (Greece), plant biomass remains in a ceramic vessel of the Mycenaean period are analysed. To determine the identity of the biomass, a high throughput sequencing technology was used to obtain whole genome sequencing (WGS) of plant, bacterial and fungal genomes. Whole genome analysis (WGS) of ancient DNA (aDNA) showed that despite the small DNA fragments recovered from the plant remains several reads were assigned to reference plant genomes The molecular analyses in the archaeobotanical and medicinal plant remains identified 10 agronomically important plant species (oak, Eucalyptus, tobacco, grape, cotton, cowpea, conyza) and characterized a diverse microbial community associated with the plant biomass. Surprising is the detection of wild tobacco, tomato and cotton. The taxa represented by plant parts, provide socio-cultural insight on plant use by the inhabitants of the settlement. A complementary microscopic analysis of the plant biomass revealed floral parts and leaves of different morphologies belonging to different taxa. In particular, the microbial community within the vessel environment had distinct associations with plant, rhizosphere, soil, marine and water ecosystems; which are evident in Kastrouli environs. The sequencing information recovered from the approaximately 3000-year-old biological samples revealed unexpected findings on biocultural diversity, early agriculture and species domestication in this corner of the Mediterranean basin.