Spengler, Robert N., III (2019) Fruit from the Sands: The Silk Road Origins of the Foods We Eat, University of California Press: Berkeley.
The foods we eat have a deep and often surprising past. From almonds and apples to tea and rice, many foods that we consume today have histories that can be traced out of prehistoric Central Asia along the tracks of the Silk Road to kitchens in Europe, America, China, and elsewhere in East Asia. Continue reading
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
Ren, 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
Spengler, 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
Langlie, BrieAnna S., Natalie G. Mueller, Robert N. Spengler, and Gayle J. Fritz
2014. Agricultural Origins from the Ground Up: Archaeological Perspectives on Plant Domestication. American Journal of Botany 101(10): 000–000. Peer-reviewed.
Special Issue: Speaking of Food: Connecting basic and applied science.
Available open access through AJB.
The timing, geographical locations, causes, and consequences of crop domestication have long been major concerns of archaeologists, and agricultural origins and dispersals are currently more relevant than ever to scientists seeking solutions to elusive problems involving food insecurity and global health disparities. Perennial research issues that archaeologists continue to tackle include Continue reading