Skip to main content

Plant Preservation and the Content of Paleobotanical Samples: A Case Study

  • David J. Hally (a1)

Paleobotanical samples recovered from the floors of three domestic structures at an early historic (A.D. 1550-1700) site in northwestern Georgia are here compared. Several factors-excavation procedures, duration of structure occupancy, functional nature of structures, nature and timing of structure abandonment-which probably contributed to inter-sample variability are discussed. Consideration of the frequency of individual plant species in the samples and of the ethnohistorical evidence for aboriginal plant processing leads to the conclusion that most variability can be attributed to whether or not structures burned and when during the year burning occurred. The analysis demonstrates that the manner in which plant parts become carbonized has a major impact on the accuracy with which paleobotanical remains reflect actual plant utilization.

Hide All
Asch, Nancy Buck, and David L., Asch 1975 Plant remains from the Zimmerman site—Grid A: A quantitative perspective. In The Zimmerman Site: further excavations at the Grand Village of Kaskaskia, edited by Margaret Kimbal Brown. Illinois State Museum, Reports of Investigations 32:116-120.
Asch, Nancy B., Ford, R. I., and David, L. Asch 1972 Paleoethnobotany of the Koster Site: the Archaic horizons. Illinois State Museum, Reports of Investigations 24.
Binford, Lewis R., Sally, R. Binford, Robert, Whallon, and Margaret, Ann Hardin 1970 Archaeology at Hatchery West. Society/or American Archaeology Memoirs 24.
Bohrer, Vorsila L. 1970 Ethnobotanical aspects of Snaketown, a Hohokam village in southern Arizona. American Antiquity 35:413-430.
Bohrer, Vorsila L. 1973 Ethnobotany of Point of Pines Ruin, Arizona W:10:50. Economic Botany 27:423-437.
COSMIC 1977 Wolf Plotting and Contouring Package, GSC-12326. Computer Software Management and Information Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.
Cowan, C. Wesley 1978 The prehistoric use and distribution of Maygrass in eastern North America: cultural and phytogeographical implications. In The nature and status of ethnobotany, edited by Richard, I. Ford. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Anthropological Papers 67:263-288.
Cowan, C. Wesley 1979 Excavations at the Haystack Rockshelter, Powell Co. Kentucky. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 4:3-34.
Crawford, Gary W. 1975 Report on the plant remains from the Little Egypt site (9MU102), Georgia. Ms. on file, Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia.
Dennell, R. W. 1972 The interpretation of plant remains: Bulgaria. In Papers in economic prehistory, edited by Higgs, E. S., pp. 149-159. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Dennell, R. W. 1974 Botanical evidence for prehistoric crop processing activities. Journal of Archaeological Science 1:275-284.
Dennell, R. W. 1976 The economic importance of plant resources represented on archaeological sites. Journal of Archaeological Science 3:229-247.
Dimbleby, Geoffrey 1978 Plants and archaeology. John Baker, London.
Faulkner, Charles H., Michael, W. Corkran, and Parmalee, P. W. 1976 Report on floral and faunal remains recovered in 1972 excavations on the Banks III Site (40CF108). In Third report of the Normandy Reservoir Salvage project, edited by Major, C. R. McCullough and Charles, H. Faulkner. Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Report of Investigations 16:217-238.
Fernald, Merritt L., and Alfred C., Kinsey 1943 Edible wild plants of eastern North America. Idlewild Press, Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York.
Golley, Frank B. 1962 Mammals of Georgia: a study of their distribution and Junctional role in the ecosystem. University of Georgia Press, Athens.
Hally, David J. 1980a Archaeological investigation of the Little Egypt Site (9Mu102), Murray County, Georgia 1970-72 seasons. Report submitted to the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, United States Department of the Interior, in fulfillment of contract nos. 14-10-9-900-390, 1910P21041, 9911T000411, and C5546.
Hally, David J. 1980b The interpretive potential of pottery from domestic contexts. Paper presented at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Philadelphia.
Hamilton, W. J. Jr., 1941 The food of small forest mammals in eastern United States. Journal of Mammology 22:250-263.
Hudson, Charles 1976 The Southeastern Indians. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.
Minnis, Paul E. 1978 Paleoethnobotanical indicators of prehistoric environmental disturbance: a case study. In The nature and status of ethnobotany, edited by Richard, I. Ford. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Anthropological Papers 67:347-366.
Munson, Patrick J., and Paul W., Parmalee 1971 Subsistence ecology of Scovill, a terminal Middle Woodland village. American Antiquity 36:410-431. Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell
Munson, Patrick J., and Paul W., Parmalee 1968 Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.
Rainey, Dennis G. 1956 Eastern woodrat, Neotoma floridana: life history and ecology. University of Kansas Publications, Museum of Natural History 8:535-646.
Renfrew, Jane 1973 The prehistoric food plants of the Near East and Europe. Columbia University Press, New York.
Schiffer, Michael B. 1976 Behavioral archaeology. Academic Press, New York.
Schmits, Larry J. 1978 The Coffey site: environment and cultural adaptation at a prairie plains Archaic site. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 3:69-185.
Schneider, Kent A., and John A., Noakes 1971 Site analysis with a mobile archaeological laboratory: microsample extraction and radiocarbon dating. Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Bulletin 13:82-87.
Smith, Bruce D. 1978 Prehistoric patterns of human behavior: a case study in the Mississippi Valley. Academic Press, New York.
Speck, Frank G. 1909 Ethnology of the Yuchi Indians. Anthropological Publications, University Museum, University of Pennsylvania 1(1).
Struever, Stuart 1968 Flotation techniques for the recovery of small-scale archaeological remains. American Antiquity 33:353-362. Swanton, John R.
Struever, Stuart 1931 Source material for the social and ceremonial life of the Choctaw Indians. Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, Bulletin 103.
Struever, Stuart 1946 The Indians of the southeastern United States. Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, Bulletin 137.
Taylor, Lyda A. 1940 Plants used as curatives by certain southeastern tribes. Botanical Museum of Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
Ulmer, Mary, and Samuel, E. Beck (editors) 1951 Cherokee cookery. Museum of the Cherokee Indians, Cherokee, North Carolina.
Whitaker, Thomas W., and Glen N., Davis 1962 Cucurbits: botany, cultivation and utilization. Interscience Publishers, New York.
Yarnell, Richard A. 1969 Content of human paleofeces. In The prehistory of Salts Cave, Kentucky, edited by Patty Jo Watson, pp. 41-54. Illinois State Museum, Reports of Investigations 16.
Yarnell, Richard A. 1974 Intestinal contents of the Salts Cave Mummy and analysis of the initial Salts Cave flotation series. In Archaeology of the Mammoth Cave area, edited by Patty Jo Watson, pp. 109-112. Academic Press, New York.
Yarnell, Richard A. 1978 Report on the plant remains from the Little Egypt site (9Mul02), Georgia. Ms. on file, Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia, Athens.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed