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People, Plants, and Landscapes

Studies in Paleoethnobotany

Written by Kristen J. Gremillion

Publication Year: 1997

People, Plants, and Landscapes showcases the potential of modern paleoethnobotany, an interdisciplinary field that explores the interactions between human beings and plants by examining archaeological evidence. Using different methods and theoretical approaches, the essays in this work apply botanical knowledge to studies of archaeological plant remains and apply paleoethnobotany to nonarchaeological sources of evidence. The resulting techniques often lie beyond the traditional boundaries of either archaeology or botany.

With this ground-breaking work, the technically and methodologically enhanced paleoethnobotany of the 1990s has joined forces with ecological and evolutionary theory to forge explanations of changing relationships between human and plant populations.

Contents and Contributors:

The Shaping of Modern Paleoethnobotany, Patty Jo Watson

New Perspectives on the Paleoethnobotany of the Newt Kash Shelter, Kristen J. Gremillion

A 3,000-Year-Old Cache of Crop Seeds from Marble Bluff, Arkansas, Gayle J. Fritz

Evolutionary Changes Associated with the Domestication of Cucurbita pepo: Evidence from Eastern Kentucky, C. Wesley Cowan

Anthropogenesis in Prehistoric Northeastern Japan, Gary W. Crawford

Between Farmstead and Center: The Natural and Social Landscape of Moundville, C. Margaret Scarry and Vincas P. Steponaitis

An Evolutionary Ecology Perspective on Diet Choice, Risk, and Plant Domestication, Bruce Winterhalder and Carol Goland

The Ecological Structure and Behavioral Implications of Mast Exploitation Strategies, Paul S. Gardner

Changing Strategies of Indian Field Location in the Early Historic Southeast, Gregory A. Waselkov

Interregional Patterns of Land Use and Plant Management in Native North America, Julia E. Hammett


 

 

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Contents

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pp. vii-ix

Figures and Tables

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pp. x-xii

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Foreword

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pp. xiii-

Science, and our understanding of past human societies, does not advance gradually and uniformly across a broad front of inquiry. Rather the advance occurs as rapid and exciting expansions in some areas along the front while in other areas nothing much may happen for long periods of time. Researchers who move into these areas of rapid advance, ...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xviii

This book had its genesis in a symposium held to honor the recipient of the Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research during the Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Pittsburgh in 1992. In that year the award went to Richard A. Yarnell of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A graduate of the Depart ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-9

When Richard Yarnell's dissertation was published as Aboriginal Relationships Between Culture and Plant Life in the Upper Great Lakes Region in the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology's Anthropological Papers Series in 1964, archaeological evidence for prehistoric plant use was still relatively limited in quality and quantity. Although ...

Part I: The Archaeological Record of Plant Domestication and Utilization

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1. The Shaping of Modern Paleoethnobotany

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pp. 13-22

By "modern" I mean the past thirty years, a period that covers the widespread adoption of flotation/water separation systems for obtaining archaeobotanical remains and the emergence of a generation of paleoethnobotanists who are also anthropologists and archaeologists. This same period is coeval with Dick Yarnell's career, and many members of ...

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2. New Perspectives on the Paleoethnobotany of the Newt Kash Shelter

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pp. 23-41

On December 17, 1935, William S. Webb of the University of Kentucky shipped a package to the Ethnobotanical Laboratory at the University of Michigan. Volney Jones, then an assistant to the Laboratory's director, Melvin Gilmore, eagerly...

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3. A Three-Thousand-Year-Old Cache of Crop Seeds from Marble Bluff, Arkansas

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pp. 42-62

Approximately 3,000 years ago, at least one group of people living in the southern Ozarks chose a dry crevice in a rockshelter beside a small stream, today called Mill Creek, as a storage place for seed stock. The bags of seeds they buried in the crevice demonstrate that, in addition to whatever wild plants and animals these people ate, a portion of their ...

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4. Evolutionary Changes Associated with the Domestication of Cucurbita pepo: Evidence from Eastern Kentucky

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pp. 63-85

Thanks to the "flotation revolution:' the broad outline of the evolution of field agriculture in eastern North America is arguably the best such record in the world (Cowan and Watson 1992; Smith 1992). The past two decades, for example, have seen the formal identification of two extinct domesticates...

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5. Anthropogenesis in Prehistoric Northeastern Japan

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pp. 86-103

Paleoethnobotany in Japan has a relatively young history, especially with respect to intensive flotation sampling and interpretation of resulting data in the context of culture historical, processual, and other issues. Today, nearly fifty sites from a variety of periods have been examined by a handful of researchers using flotation. Recovery of plant ...

Part II: Plant Resources, Human Communities, and Anthropogenic Landscapes

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6. Between Farmstead and Center: The Natural and Social Landscape of Moundville

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pp. 107-122

Between A.D. 900 and 1650 the Black Warrior Valley of Alabama was the setting for dramatic cultural changes. This period encompassed the emergence, florescence, and dissolution of the Moundville polity. At the beginning of the period, the valley was inhabited by people who lived in egalitarian communities and relied on foraging and small-scale...

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7. An Evolutionary Ecology Perspective on Djet Choice, Risk, and Plant Domestication

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pp. 123-160

Most models of plant domestication and the origins of agriculture assign causal primacy to one or more generalized, normative1 variables (or "prime movers"; summary in Redding 1988:57-60). Examples are population, climate change affecting resource abundance or distribution, technological innovation, and energy-extraction efficiency...

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8. The Ecological Structure and Behavioral Implications of Mast Exploitation Strategies

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pp. 161-178

The native nuts of the Eastern Woodlands have long been recognized to have been important foods of prehistoric Native Americans. Early descriptions of Native American diet in the Eastern Woodlands inevitably mention nuts. For example, during the De Soto entrada, "walnuts" (presumably thick-shelled hickories...

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9. Changing Strategies of Indian Field Location in the Early Historic Southeast

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pp. 179-194

During the historic period, from the mid-sixteenth century to the early nineteenth century, Indian societies of southeastern North America adjusted to changing epidemiological, demographic, political, technological, and social circumstances that developed in the course of European conquest and colonization. Native American adaptive responses ...

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10. Interregional Patterns of Land Use and Plant Management in Native North America

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pp. 195-216

The landscape of North American archaeology has been dominated by regional perspectives, chronologies, and cultural and environmental reconstructions. Lack of interregional comparisons has hampered our understanding of pan-North American developments and events. By comparing land-use...

References Cited

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pp. 217-259

Contributors

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pp. 261-264

Index

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pp. 265-271


E-ISBN-13: 9780817384647
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817308278

Page Count: 292
Publication Year: 1997

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Subject Headings

  • Paleoethnobotany.
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