Archaeobotany

Our approach to archaeobotany, the study of ancient botanical remains, explores how communities engage with their surroundings. We explore what people ate as well as the crops they cultivated to feed their animals. Experts also explore ancient texts for discussions of agricultural strategies and foodways as well as the role of wild and cultivated plants in past and contemporary medicinal practices and gardens. We use these datasets to reconstruct past environments. From excavations at Kaymakçı sediment samples from all contexts—fills, floors, or hearths, for example—are “floated” to retrieve (usually charred) botanical remains, which are then identified in a laboratory. Other analyses, such as stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes and the extraction and amplification of ancient DNA, are then conducted. Sustainable practices for our research team include eating locally as much as possible, which includes a rich array of seasonal vegetables and fruits, as well as a hearty amount of olive oil from the trees at the research center. We also have a developing component of onsite gardens and orchards.

Affiliated team personnel

Nami Shin, Koç University and Tübingen University
John M. Marston, Boston University