Grazing Animals Drove Domestication in Grain Crops

Abstract

Spengler, Robert N., III and Natalie Mueller (2019) Grazing Animals Drove Domestication in Grain Crops. Nature Plants. 5: 656–662.

In addition to large-seeded cereals, humans around the world during the mid-Holocene started to cultivate small-seeded species of herbaceous annuals for grain, including quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, the millets and several lost crops domesticated in North America. Continue reading

The origins of cannabis smoking: Chemical residue evidence from the first millennium BCE in the Pamirs

Abstract

Science AdvancesRen, Meng, Zihua Tang, Xinhua Wu, Robert N. Spengler III, Hongen Jiang, Yimin Yang, and Nicole Boivin (2019) The origins of cannabis smoking: Chemical residue evidence from the first millennium BCE in the Pamirs. Science Advances. 5(6): eaaw1391.

Available open access

Cannabis is one of the oldest cultivated plants in East Asia Continue reading

Origins of the Apple: The Role of Megafaunal Mutualism in the Domestication of Malus and Rosaceous Trees

Abstract

Frontiers in Plant ScienceSpengler, Robert N., III (2019) Origins of the Apple: The Role of Megafaunal Mutualism in the Domestication of Malus and Rosaceous Trees. Frontiers in Plant Science. 10(617):1-18.

Available open access

The apple (Malus domestica [Suckow] Borkh.) is one of the most economically and culturally significant fruits Continue reading

A new project aims to understand the early prehistoric use of animals and plants along the ancient Silk Road through archaeological fieldwork in southern Kyrgyzstan’s high Alay Valley.

Abstract

AntiquityTaylor, William T., Svetlana Shnaider, Robert N. Spengler III, Ludovic Orlando, Aida Aboykanova, Andrei Krivoshapkin (2019) Investigating Ancient Animal Economies and Exchange in Kyrgyzstan’s Alay Valley. Antiquity. 93(367): e2.

A new project aims to understand the early prehistoric use of animals and plants along the ancient Silk Road Continue reading

The Breadth of Dietary Economy in Bronze Age Central Asia

Spengler, Robert N., III, Ilaria de Nigris, Barbara Cerasetti, Marialetizia Carra, Lynne M. Rouse (2018) The breadth of dietary economy in Bronze Age Central Asia: Case study from Adji Kui 1 in the Murghab region of Turkmenistan. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 22: 372-381.

Abstract

Archaeological Science ReportsOver the past decade research into the paleoeconomy of Bronze Age (3500-800 B.C.) peoples in Central Asia has shown how complex the productive economy was. The agropastoral system involved an array of crops and herd animals. In this article, we present a paleoethnobotanical study conducted on sediment samples from excavation units at the site of Adji Kui, Turkmenistan. Continue reading

Arboreal crops on the medieval Silk Road: Archaeobotanical studies at Tashbulak

Robert N. Spengler III, Farhod Maksudov, Elissa Bullion, Ann Merkle, Taylor Hermes, Michael Frachetti (2018). PLOS One

plos1

During the first millennium A.D., Central Asia was marked by broad networks of exchange and interaction, what many historians collectively refer to as the “Silk Road”. Much of this contact relied on high-elevation mountain valleys, often linking towns and caravanserais through alpine territories. This cultural exchange is thought to have reached a peak in the late first millennium A.D., Continue reading

Dung burning in the archaeobotanical record of West Asia: Where are we now?

Spengler, Robert N., III (2018) Vegetation History and Archaeobotany.

Vegetation History

In the early 1980s Naomi Miller changed the field of palaeoethnobotany; her research into whether the ancient seed eaters of southwest Asia were human or herbivore opened an ongoing debate over the impact that burning of animal dung had on the formation of archaeobotanical assemblages, and how researchers can differentiate between human and animal food remains. Continue reading