Hop seed gathered from a grave from 1679 in Lund.
Hop seed gathered from a grave from 1679 in Lund.

The 17th century general crisis was induced by climate change, which in turn influenced agricultural production and socio-political factors. A hitherto unknown part of the causal linkages is the influence of crop biodiversity. For the farmers, climatic deterioration was likely felt most acutely through its effects on crops, initially by cold and later on by drought. How fast were they able to respond with better-adapted crops? Could adaption to the new conditions be achieved from the biodiversity locally present or were introductions of plant material from other regions required?

These research questions are investigated by molecular genetic analyses of archaeological and historical specimens of important 17th century crops and through historical sources on seed trade and exchange. Model crops of the study are barley, oats and hops. The project aims to gain understanding of the temporal dynamics of crop biodiversity and of historical farmers´ perception and conscious use of variation in plants. Thus, our knowledge of the co-evolution between crop and man and the functions of crop biodiversity during agrarian crises will be increased.

Finansierad av Vetenskapsrådet.

Projektledare: Matti Leino