Paleoethnobotany

Published Book Chapter

Archaeological SciencesSpengler, Robert N. III (2018) Paleoethnobotany. In Sandra L. López Varela (Ed.) The Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: New York.

Available for download

Paleoethnobotany is the scientific investigation of human and plant interactions in the past; this includes both human environmental impact and cultural practices involving plants. In practice, a paleoethnobotanist studies the preserved remains of plants in archaeological sites or in a cultural landscape around the site. These investigations include the study of both macro‐ and microscopic plant remains to understand what role plants played in human diet and other aspects of life in the past, as well as how humans impacted plant communities through time. It requires a multidisciplinary approach, integrating the biological and social sciences and utilizing datasets as diverse as historical texts and ancient DNA.