chapter  7
22 Pages

Plants and People: An Introduction to Paleoethnobotany

Peoplehavealongandcomplexhistoryofinteractionwiththeplant worldaroundthem,usingplantsassourcesoffood,fuel,constructionmaterials,andmedicine.Evidenceofthislonginteractioncomes fromarchaeologicalremains.Withtherecognitionthatimportant informationcanbegainedfromthestudyoftheseremains,new specializationsinpaleoethnobotanyandarchaeobotanyhavedevelopedinthefieldofarchaeology.Althoughtheterms"paleoethnobotany"and"archaeobotany,"havebeenusedinterchangeably, theyrepresentseparatesubdisciplines.Archaeobotanyencompasses thetechnicalaspectsofrecoveringandidentifyingplantremains fromarchaeologicalcontexts.Paleoethnobotany,however,focuses ontheinterrelationshipsbetweenplantsandhumans.Asdefinedby Ford(1979:299),"archaeobotanyreferstotherecoveryandidentificationofplantsbyspecialistsregardlessofdiscipline;paleoethnobotanyimpliestheirinterpretationbyparticularspecialists."