Research Areas

Last Updated:
14/04/2022 - 20:22

The study of plant remains recovered from archaeological sites as well as materials recovered from off-site sampling has been the subject of several specialisations such as palynology (the study of pollen and spores), palaeoanthracology (the study of wood and charcoal), phytolith analysis (study of phytoliths) and even more specialized analyses of starch and other biomolecules research. The more commonly analysis practiced in archaeological sites today, we could say, is archaeobotany. Through the study of plant remains, namely seeds, fruits, leaves, flower buds and fleshy roots, archaeobotanists pose questions related to a vast array of topics related to past environment and climate, plant systematics as well as the human – plant interactions such as diet, domestication, agricultural practices and agro-economics, cooking and consumption, medicine, crafts, dyes and pigments, use of space in a settlement in relation to plant processing and storing, socio-economic factors that regulate access to foodstuffs, ritual and ideology. Chemical and biological analyses are also often employed on archaeobotanical remains to inform about aDNA or isotopic composition of the plants to supplement information on various of the above questions.