Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 121–133

A tale of multi-proxies: integrating macro- and microbotanical remains to understand subsistence strategies

  • Juan José García-Granero
  • Carla Lancelotti
  • Marco Madella
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00334-014-0486-7

Cite this article as:
García-Granero, J.J., Lancelotti, C. & Madella, M. Veget Hist Archaeobot (2015) 24: 121. doi:10.1007/s00334-014-0486-7

Abstract

The integrated analysis of several proxies in order to answer a research question is a widespread approach in palaeoecology, but it is not well developed in archaeobotanical research. Applying a multi-proxy approach to archaeobotany has several advantages: a more diverse anatomical and taxonomical representation of the original plant input and a better understanding of taphonomic processes, both depositional and post-depositional. The aim of this paper is to show how a multi-proxy approach can enrich our understanding of plant-related subsistence strategies. Macro and microbotanical analyses were carried out on samples from Shikarpur, a Chalcolithic settlement in Kachchh, Gujarat, northwest India. This settlement is located in a semi-arid region with wet/dry cycles and highly saline soils that influence the preservation of charred remains, so that they do not offer the full picture of plant-related subsistence strategies. We show that the combination of different proxies is crucial to cross-validate the results and to gain a wider understanding of plant use strategies. The inhabitants of Shikarpur relied on a double-cropping system based on local small millets and pulses, and they also consumed cereals, tubers and sedges.

Keywords

Multi-proxy Phytoliths Starch grains Macrobotanical remains Archaeobotany Indus valley 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan José García-Granero
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carla Lancelotti
    • 1
    • 3
  • Marco Madella
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Complexity and Socio-Ecological Dynamics Research Group—CaSEsBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Archaeology and AnthropologyInstitució Milà i Fontanals, Spanish National Research Council (IMF-CSIC)BarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Information and Communication TechnologiesUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.ICREA—Department of HumanitiesUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain

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