Triticum Aestiva, common wheat.

(Image courtesy Valter Jacinto under a Creative Commons License.)

Laura O'Brien

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Beatley Library
Simmons College
Boston, MA 02115
(781) 223-3862
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This guide is intended for graduate-level students interested in paleoethnobotany, also known as archaeobotany, or related fields such as paleoecology and palynology.

flotation using a small bucket

The small-bucket flotation technique in use at a dig in Çatalhöyük, Turkey.

Image courtesy catalhoyuk at under Creative Commons license.

What is paleoethnobotany?

What plants did our ancestors eat, or use for medicine, building, or firemaking? When were crops like corn, wheat, rice, and millet first domesticated? How have plants and humans interacted? These are the questions that paleoethnobotanists ask, using information from fields such as biology, chemistry, archaeology, and anthropology.