Plant remains as a tool for reconstruction of the past environment, economy, and society: Archaeobotany in Israel

Ehud Weiss, Mordechai E. Kislev

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this review paper, we give a brief introduction to the field of archaeobotany, with special attention to the role of Israeli archaeobotany as part of archaeological research during the last 30 years. Our approach toward archaeobotany sees this field as a major tool in present-day archaeology, which utilizes plant remains to reconstruct past environments, economies, and societies. This paper deals with the fundamental methodology of archaeobotany, the various preservation modes of archaeobotanical finds, the sub-fields of archaeobotany, and the different processing of botanical finds in the field and in the laboratory. Thereafter, it describes archaeobotanical field work and laboratory work, including sampling and recovery methods, sorting and identification, naming the botanical find, and documentation. Finally, we give a short review of test cases in archaeobotanical research in Israel as an example of the use of archaeobotany as a tool for the reconstruction of life at the site and its surroundings. This review deals mainly with three research directions: with reconstructing the environment and climate, with reconstruction of the economy, and with reconstruction of the ancient lifestyle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalIsrael Journal of Earth Sciences
Volume56
Issue number2-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

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