List of Figures

Figure 1: Fox nut (E. ferox) from Gesher Benot Ya'aqov Layer II-6 Level 1, complete seed with its characteristic germination aperture and attachment scar (hilum). (Image credit: authors)

Figure 2: Map showing: (A) General view of the location of the regions studied in Israel and India; (B) Location of the Acheulian site of Gesher Benot Ya'aqov, Israel (33°00'30''N, 35°37'30''E) and; (C) Location of water bodies in Madhubani District, Bihar, India where traditional methods of gathering and processing E. ferox are practiced. The water bodies studied are located within a radius of 10km south and east of the town of Madhubani (26°22' 0'' N, 86°5'0'' E). (Image credit: authors)

Figure 3: E. ferox seed remains from GBY: (A) Fox nut (E. ferox, GBY Layer II-6 Level 1), seed coat fragments easily identified by their characteristic attachment scar (hilum) close to the germination aperture (appears in the right fragment) (SEM); (B) Fox nut (E. ferox, GBY Layer II-6 Level 1), seed coat fragments, eight showing the convex outer side and three the concave inner side; (C) Fox nut (E. ferox, GBY Layer III-7), complete and compressed seeds. (Image credit: authors)

Figure 4: Flow charts highlighting the main events in the gathering and processing of E. ferox (locally called Makhana) based on our ethnographic observations in Madhubani District, Bihar and summarised from published literature (Jha et al. 1991; 2003; Mishra et al. 2003; Mandal et al. 2010). (Image credit: authors)

Figure 5: Procedures involved in the collection of E. ferox nuts, Madhubani District, Bihar, India; (A) General view of men of the fishing community involved in the gathering of E. ferox (Makhana) nuts; note one type of collecting basket in the background; (B) Close-up of E. ferox, showing the flower and characteristic leaves; (C) View of a diver manipulating a bamboo pole that aids in demarcating areas selected for underwater gathering of E. ferox nuts; (D) Diver surfacing after gathering E. ferox nuts using a special type of basket (Gaanja), with an aluminum pot also used for collection; (E) Adolescent boy collecting stray nuts that rise to the water surface from the pond bed during collection; (F) Divers (underwater) manipulating a large basket (Auka) in which nuts are collected. Note the two hands at the edge of the basket. (Image credit: authors)

Figure 6: Procedures involved in the collection of E. ferox nuts, Madhubani District, Bihar, India: (A) Diver with the basket that is rotated within water to cleanse the nuts; (B) Divers bring the basket to the shore to complete the process of cleansing the nuts; (C) Close-up of the collected nuts; (D) View of the E. ferox nuts with associated molluscs; (E) Trampling helps remove the pulp; F) A mound of nuts piled up near the water body ready for transport to the village. (Image credit: authors)

Figure 7: Procedures involved in processing of E. ferox nuts, Madhubani District, Bihar, India: (A) E. ferox nuts are spread out to dry in the sun in the village; (B) The nuts are sorted into differing size ranges using sieves of different dimensions; (C) The nuts are roasted and stirred using bamboo sticks; (D) Popping of the E. ferox nuts immediately after roasting; note the wooden anvil and hammer; (E) View of the popped E. ferox nuts ready to be eaten. (Image credit: authors)

Figure 8: Hammer and anvil used for popping the dried and roasted E. ferox nuts in traditional practices in Madhubani District, Bihar, India: (A) General view of a wooden hammer (Thaapi) (photograph: Gabi Laron); (B) A wooden anvil (Aphara); (C) Measurements of a typical hammer; (D) Close-up of an anvil used for popping E. ferox nuts. (Image credit: authors)

Figure 9: Debris of E. ferox nuts after popping: (A) A handful of nuts (eight in number) generally popped together (N=50 fragments varying from 1mm to 1cm, the rest being <1mm). At the top right of the image, note a complete roasted nut of the same size group (diameter=11.49mm) as well as the final popped Makhana; (B) Close-up of nut fragments showing inner concave side; (C) One roasted Makhana nut (N=5 fragments) after popping. (Image credit: authors)

Figure 10: Anvils at the site of Gesher Benot Ya'aqov: A) Pitted anvils; B) Thin anvil. (Image credit: authors)