Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Archaeobotany of Early Agriculture: Microbotanical Analysis

  • Linda PerryEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_2165


Archaeobotanical research is conducted to gain an understanding of the relationships between ancient human populations and their surrounding botanical biosphere. To reach this goal, archaeobotanical researchers recover plant remains from archaeobotanical contexts, identify the botanical taxa present in the samples, and interpret the data within the cultural framework of the peoples who used the plants for various purposes including food, construction, and crafts such as basketry. Microremains are also used as tools to understand human impact on the surrounding landscape. It is the aim of archaeobotanical research both to gain a complete understanding of ancient plant use and to obtain the most solid, reliable evidence possible.

Perhaps the most common area of research is plant use and economy, a broad field of study that includes basic subsistence categories such as diet and construction materials, as well as more specific topics such as medicines or fish poisons. Because...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Foundation for Archaeobotanical Research in MicrofossilsFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science, Center for Earth Observing and ResearchGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA