The ancient history of hemp (Cannabis sativa) is poorly documented in France and western Europe. Up to now, the oldest Cannabis seeds were not recorded in that area before Roman times. The waterlogged assemblage of the bottom valley site of Al Poux (Fontanes, Lot, France) delivered seeds that probably attest Cannabis cultivation in southwestern France as early as the Late Iron Age. Hemp was possibly grown in riverbank fields, but it could also have been carried to the settlement to be retted in the river. The special role of waterlogged assemblages in the preservation of hemp seeds is emphasised. It is stated that new investigations on this kind of context would be especially helpful to improve our knowledge of ancient hemp cultivation history.
Cannabis, hemp, southwestern France, Late Iron Age, archaeobotany, waterlogged assemblage, Ancient agriculture