1,624 research outputs found

    Modeling resilience and sustainability in ancient agricultural systems

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    The reasons why people adopt unsustainable agricultural practices, and the ultimate environmental implications of those practices, remain incompletely understood in the present world. Archaeology, however, offers unique datasets on coincident cultural and ecological change, and their social and environmental effects. This article applies concepts derived from ecological resilience thinking to assess the sustainability of agricultural practices as a result of long-term interactions between political, economic, and environmental systems. Using the urban center of Gordion, in central Turkey, as a case study, it is possible to identify mismatched social and ecological processes on temporal, spatial, and organizational scales, which help to resolve thresholds of resilience. Results of this analysis implicate temporal and spatial mismatches as a cause for local environmental degradation, and increasing extralocal economic pressures as an ultimate cause for the adoption of unsustainable land-use practices. This analysis suggests that a research approach that integrates environmental archaeology with a resilience perspective has considerable potential for explicating regional patterns of agricultural change and environmental degradation in the past

    Cider, Wheat, Maize, and Firewood: Paleoethnobotany at Sylvester Manor

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    The paleoethnobotanical analysis program at Sylvester Manor is designed to investigate the relationships between the Sylvesters, their workers, and the botanical environment. Most of the contexts sampled provide information about domestic household consumption. The site residents used large quantities of oak for fuel and possibly building construction. Documents provide more robust information about the production of crops and interactions with Native peoples, suggesting that local Native Americans provided a source of labor for the production of crops

    Paleoethnobotany in Interior Alaska

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    Thesis (M.A.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2016Vegetation and plant resources can impact forager mobility and subsistence strategies. However, misconceptions about the preservation of organics in subarctic archaeological contexts and underestimations of the importance of plant resources to foraging societies limit paleoethnobotanical research in high-latitude environments. This research draws upon concepts from human behavioral ecology to address questions relating to site seasonality, plant resource use, land use, and deposition and taphonomy. The model developed in this thesis outlines expectations of seasonal archaeobotanical assemblages for Late Pleistocene and Holocene sites in interior Alaska. I consider these expectations in light of plant macroremains found in anthropogenic features from Components 1 and 3 (approximately 13,300 and 11,500 cal yr BP, respectively) at the Upward Sun River site, located in central Alaska. Site-specific methods include bulk sampling of feature matrix in the field and wet-sieving matrix in the laboratory to collect organic remains. Analytical measures of density, diversity, and ubiquity tie together the model expectations and the results from Upward Sun River. The dominance of common bearberry in the Component 1 archaeobotanical assemblage meets the expectations of a late summer or fall occupation. This suggests that site occupants may have focused on mitigating the risk of starvation in winter months by foraging for seasonally predictable and storable resources. The variability in results from the Component 3 features could relate to longer-term occupations that extended from mid-summer to early fall, in which site occupants foraged for locally available and predictable plant resources such as blueberry or low-bush cranberry species. In this thesis, I argue that large mammal resources were a key component in Late Pleistocene and Holocene subsistence strategies. However, foragers were flexible in their behavior and also targeted small mammals, fish, waterfowl, and plant resources in response to environmental conditions and cultural preferences. The results illustrate the long-standing use of culturally and economically important plant resources in interior Alaska and draw attention to aspects of human behavior that are under-conceptualized in northern archaeology, such as the gender division of labor, domestic behavior, and potential impacts of plant resource exploitation on mobility and land use

    Review of Plants and Humans in the Near East and the Caucasus: Ancient and Traditional Uses of Plants as Food and Medicine, a Diachronic Ethnobotanical Review (2 vols)

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    Review of Plants and Humans in the Near East and the Caucasus: Ancient and Traditional Uses of Plants as Food and Medicine, a Diachronic Ethnobotanical Review (2 vols). Vol. 1: The Landscapes. The Plants: Ferns and Gymnosperms. Vol. 2: The Plants: Angiosperms. Diego Rivera Núñez, Gonzalo Matilla Séiquer, Concepción Obón, Francisco Alcaraz Ariza. 2011. Ediciones de la Unverisdad de Murcia. Pp. 1056. EUR 23.76 (paperback). ISBN 978-84-15463-07-08 (2 vols.), 978-84-15463-05-4 (vol. 1), 978-84-15463-06-1 (vol. 2)

    Bulletin of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society, Vol. 41, No. 1

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    Introduction (John Rosser) The Geological Setting of the Green Hill Site (David C. Roy) Petrography, X-ray Diffractometer Analysis and Quarry Sites (Douglas DeNatale) The Paleoethnobotany of Green Hill (Lawrence Kaplan) Recent Wild Fauna (Robert Stanhope) References Cited (Parts 1 and 2

    A Bibliography of Aboriginal Archaeological Plant Food Remains From Eastern North America: 1901-1991

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    Research Report No. 11, Research Laboratories of Archaeology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Reports in this series discuss the findings of archaeological excavations and research projects undertaken by the RLA between 1984 and present

    An Integrated Assessment of Archaeobotanical Recovery Methods in the Neotropical Rainforest of Northern Belize: Flotation and Dry Screening

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    This report presents results of a study examining the ancient use of plants at four Late Classic (CE 600-900) Maya rural farmsteads in northwestern Belize. Our research specifically targeted residential middens for macrobotanical recovery. Samples yielded the remains of more than a dozen plant families, representing some genera that do not currently grow in the area. These plants were used in the Late Classic, countering the idea that ancient botanical remains do not survive in Neotropical archaeological contexts. We also evaluated two macrobotanical sample processing methods vis-à-vis one another: flotation and dry screening. Our results indicate that flotation recovered 58% more seeds than dry screening, while dry screening yielded almost twice as much charcoal and other wood as flotation. The divergent quantities in the types of material recovered suggest a comprehensive macrobotanical recovery program should include the use of both processing methods

    Starch Grain Analysis at the Penny Site (8BR158)

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    This document is a student report containing the results of starch grain analysis on residue from five pottery sherds at the Penny site (8BR158)
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