© 2018

Plants and People in the African Past

Progress in African Archaeobotany

  • Anna Maria Mercuri
  • A. Catherine D'Andrea
  • Rita Fornaciari
  • Alexa Höhn

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Anna Maria Mercuri, A. Catherine D’Andrea, Rita Fornaciari, Alexa Höhn
    Pages 1-9
  3. Mediterranean Africa

  4. Archaeology and Palaeoecology: Integrated Methods

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 175-175
    2. Kingsley C. Daraojimba, Philip A. Oyelaran, Marcia A. de Barros, Jeanne Cordeiro, Cynthia F. Pinto da Luz
      Pages 246-270
    3. Alexa Höhn, Gabriele Franke, Annika Schmidt
      Pages 271-299
  5. Plant Use, Agricultural History and Ethnoarchaeology: Foods and Fields

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 301-301
    2. Daphne E. Gallagher, Susan K. McIntosh, Shawn S. Murray
      Pages 328-361

About this book


Read this book to better understand the complexity and diversity of the countries of Africa.

The contributions of this book investigate the adaptations and innovations that people on the African continent have developed in order to cope with their needs for food, housing and fuel in the different environments, like the Mediterranean, the desert and the tropical forest, and the changes of these environments through time.

To elucidate these past interrelationships between the human agent and the environment, palaeo/archaeobotanical approaches are essential. Plants are an important part of the human diet, provide construction material for shelters and energy as fuel, and, moreover, the physiognomy of landscapes is to a large extent shaped by plants, while at same time humans have and have had an important role in shaping African environments.

This book comprises the current state of the art of archaeobotanical research on the continent; archaeobotanists, botanists, anthropologists, ethnoarchaeologists, palaeoecologists, geographers and linguists bring together and discuss the evidence concerning matters such as: Plant use in foraging and agrarian societies, plant domestication, agricultural systems/history, foodways and culinary practices, human-environmental interactions, anthropic impacts and the spread of early agricultural communities.

This book is the outstanding outcome of the recent meeting IWAA8 of archaeobotanists working on the African continent in Modena in 2015. The results stress the importance of integrative methods, cooperation between disciplines, and of constant exchange of data and knowledge. The meetings of the International Workgroup for African Archaeobotany were founded in 1994 with the first meeting in Mogilany, Poland. Since then workshops of African Archaeobotany have been held regularly every three years, in Leicester (1997), Frankfurt/Main (2000), Groningen (2003), London (2006), Cairo (2009), Vienna (2012) and Modena (2015).


Africa Archaeobotany Palynology Paleoenvironment Ethnoarchaeology

Editors and affiliations

  • Anna Maria Mercuri
    • 1
  • A. Catherine D'Andrea
    • 2
  • Rita Fornaciari
    • 3
  • Alexa Höhn
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratorio di Palinologia e Paleobotanica, Dipartimento di Scienze della VitaUniversità di Modena e Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  2. 2.Department of ArchaeologySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  3. 3.Laboratorio di Palinologia e Paleobotanica, Dipartimento di Scienze della VitaUniversità di Modena e Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  4. 4.Institut für Archäologische WissenschaftenGoethe-UniversitätFrankfurtGermany

About the editors

Anna Maria Mercuri has a 30-years experience in Palynology and Archaeobotany. She contributed to the onset of the Laboratory of Palynology and Palaeobotany of Modena. Her lines of research are human impact, cultural landscapes, resource exploitation and human behaviour, in Northern-Africa and Italian sites.
KEY WORDS: palynology, palaeoethnobotany, botany, LTHI-Long Term Human Impact, LTE-Long-Term Ecology, Sahara, Northern Africa, Mediterranean basin, Lateglacial/Holocene.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Plants and People in the African Past
  • Book Subtitle Progress in African Archaeobotany
  • Editors Anna Maria Mercuri
    A. Catherine D'Andrea
    Rita Fornaciari
    Alexa Höhn
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Biomedical and Life Sciences Biomedical and Life Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-89838-4
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-07872-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-89839-1
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages VII, 576
  • Number of Illustrations 72 b/w illustrations, 73 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Life Sciences, general
  • Buy this book on publisher's site