Topics in Archaeology
What can ancient plants tell us about how humans lived in the past? How were plants used by ancient communities? How do plant remains become part of the archaeological record? Which techniques can we use in order to extract and analyze them? This course is an introduction to the field of archaeobotany, the study of botanical remains from archaeological sites aimed at the reconstruction and interpretation of human-plant relationships in the past. Through active participation, students will learn the processes underlying the inclusion and preservation of botanical remains in the archaeological record, understand the main methodologies and laboratory protocols employed for their recovery and identification, and explore the principal assumptions and analytical elaborations deployed for their interpretation. Through this work, students will be directly engaging with the central and current trends in archaeobotanical research.The course is built around lectures, in-class discussions, and practical lab experience. Students will be involved in hands-on microscope work, collectively conducting an analysis of a macro-botanical assemblage from an archaeological site. Prior knowledge of botany or archaeology is not required.