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Crop and Weed in Prehistoric Eastern North America: The Chenopodium Example

  • Kristen J. Gremillion (a1)

Analysis of seed morphology in paleoethnobotany typically focuses on identification of domesticates. However, the wild and weed forms that are sometimes recognized in archaeological contexts can provide pertinent information about garden ecology. Morphometric studies of Chenopodium from the eastern United States have revealed patterns of variation compatible with the coexistence and interaction of crop and weed populations. The character of this interaction reflects considerable flexibility and diversity in prehistoric agricultural systems. In addition, the frequency of weed seeds in archaeological collections can be used to assess the nature of selection in managed habitats and the husbandry practices associated with it.


Un análisis paleoetnobotánico de la morfología de semillas, normalmente se enfoca a la identificación de las semillas domesticadas. Sin embargo, por medio de las semillas silvestres se puede rendir información pertinente en el contexto arqueológico sobre la ecología de huertas prehistoóricas. Estudios morfométricos de Chenopodium, desde el este de los estados unidos, se ha revelado modelos de variación similares cosechas agrícolas y hierbas que manifiestan coexistencia e interacción. El cáracter de la interacción refleja flexibilidad y diversidad dentro del sistema agrícola de la prehistoria. Además, la frequencia de semillas silvestres dentro de colecciones arqueológicas se pueda utilizar hacia una evaluación de la naturaleza de selección dentro de habitates manejados y métodos agrícolas con que se asocia.

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American Antiquity
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  • EISSN: 2325-5064
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