Phytoliths as a tool for investigations of agricultural origins and dispersals around the world

Terry Ball, Karol Chandler-Ezell, Ruth Dickau, Neil Duncan, Thomas C. Hart, Jose Iriarte, Carol Lentfer, Amanda Logan, Houyuan Lu, Marco Madella, Deborah M. Pearsall, Dolores R. Piperno*, Arlene M. Rosen, Luc Vrydaghs, Alison Weisskopf, Jianping Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

Agricultural origins and dispersals are subjects of fundamental importance to archaeology as well as many other scholarly disciplines. These investigations are world-wide in scope and require significant amounts of paleobotanical data attesting to the exploitation of wild progenitors of crop plants and subsequent domestication and spread. Accordingly, for the past few decades the development of methods for identifying the remains of wild and domesticated plant species has been a focus of paleo-ethnobotany. Phytolith analysis has increasingly taken its place as an important independent contributor of data in all areas of the globe, and the volume of literature on the subject is now both very substantial and disseminated in a range of international journals. In this paper, experts who have carried out the hands-on work review the utility and importance of phytolith analysis in documenting the domestication and dispersals of crop plants around the world. It will serve as an important resource both to paleo-ethnobotanists and other scholars interested in the development and spread of agriculture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-45
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume68
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Keywords

  • Crop plants
  • Diagnostic criteria
  • Phytoliths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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