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date: 07 April 2020

Archaeobotany: Methods 

Source:
The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Historiography: Methods and Sources
Author(s):
Louis ChampionLouis Champion, Dorian Q. FullerDorian Q. Fuller

There are many different ways to approach the study of domestication, agricultural evolution, and culinary traditions. Because plant foods (cereals and vegetables) are among the most common foods in Africa—and indeed, the world—archaeobotany is a key approach to studying the history of alimentation and the transformation of the environment that came about through food production. Archaeobotany is an interdisciplinary field bringing botanical knowledge and methods to archaeological contexts and materials. Archaeobotany is concerned with the recovery of the fragmentary remains of plants from archaeological sites, their taxonomic identification, and their interpretation in terms of past human activities and the environment. Archaeobotany draws upon a wide range of adjunct information in arriving at interpretations, such as modern botanical and genetic studies of crops, ethnographic observations of plant processing, cooking and land use, and experimental work like observations on the destructive and distorting effects of charring on the preservation of plant parts. In North America, archaeobotany is more often called ... ...

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