2017 Fryxell Award Symposium: Papers in Honor of Naomi F. Miller

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Naomi F. Miller is the 2017 recipient of the Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research in archaeology. The Fryxell Award is presented in recognition for interdisciplinary excellence of a scientist who need not be an archaeologist, but whose research has contributed significantly to American archaeology. The award is made possible through the generosity of the family of the late Roald Fryxell, a geologist whose career exemplified the crucial role of multidisciplinary cooperation in archaeology. The 2017 Fryxell Award recognizes the area of plant sciences. Miller specializes in the study of human and landscape relationships through the analysis of macrobotanical remains from archaeological sites. Her career as a preeminent archaeobotanist and prolific researcher has led to over 100 publications and she has continually pushed the boundaries of archaeobotany through interdisciplinary collaborations and innovative work on archaeological site preservation. To reflect the diversity of Miller’s contributions to the field, this symposium brings together scholars working with plants, across methods, times, and regions, to present original research addressing the research themes with which Miller has engaged in her career.

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  • Documents (12)

  • Agricultural Diversification, Perennials and Complex Societies in Mesopotamia and the Yellow River (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Chris Stevens. Dorian Fuller.

    Mesopotamia and the Yellow River of China had long trajectories from early farming through to primary urbanisation, but to what extent do the archaeobotanical records indicate parallel developments in terms of agriculture? In both areas agriculture diversifies during the later Neolithic, with an increasing range of annual field crops as well as evidence for the cultivation of some perennials (tree fruits or vines). However, diversity was much higher in western Asia, from both a highly diverse...

  • Changes on the Land: Gordion in the 1st mill BCE (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lisa Kealhofer. Peter Grave. Ben Marsh.

    Throughout the 1st mill BCE, the inhabitants of Gordion engaged with multiple changes in political power and agricultural strategies, within a diverse landscape with shifting climate regimes. Over most of this period, the city, its industries, and its hinterland population thrived. Using multiple lines of evidence, both material and environmental, this paper explores what we know about changes in the organization of different production spheres at Gordion in order to understand how changing...

  • Cuisine of the Overseas Chinese in the Western United States: Using Recipes to Interpret Archaeological Plant Remains (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Virginia Popper.

    Most of the Chinese who immigrated to the United States in the mid to late 19th century came from a few districts in southern China, an area with a well-developed cuisine. They brought ingredients, cooking equipment, dining implements, and seeds for garden crops to prepare food for daily meals and festivities. However, their culinary traditions were modified by a variety of factors including the absence of some ingredients, the easy availability of Euro-American foods, and restrictions on the...

  • Dung through the Microscope: a Close-up View of Sample Origin (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alexia Smith. Lucas Proctor.

    In the 1980s, Naomi Miller’s seminal publications detailing the use and identification of dung fuel within archaeobotanical samples at Malyan provided archaeobotanists with an alternate explanation for the source of plant remains preserved archaeologically, allowing for considerations of ancient fuel use and pasturing practices. Since then, archaeobotanists have generally relied upon wood to weed seed ratios or the composition of weed assemblages to support the use of dung fuel within flotation...

  • Evidence for Dung Burning in the Archaeobotanical Record of Central Asia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Robert Spengler.

    In the early 1980s Naomi Miller changed the way paleoethnobotanists in several parts of the world approached the interpretation of their data. With her research into whether the ancient seed eaters of southwest Asia were human or herbivore, she opened an ongoing debate over what impact the burning of animal dung had on archaeobotanical assemblages and how researchers can differentiate between human and animal food remains. As the number of systematic paleoethnobotanical studies across Central...

  • Halaf Seasonality and Mobility: An Archaeobotanical View from Fistikli Höyük, Turkey (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Susan Allen.

    Settlement patterns and mobility during the Halaf period (ca. 6000-5400 B.C.) are known primarily from Late Halaf sites. On the basis of the Late Halaf pattern, Halaf economies have been characterized as having segmentary organization with some degree of pastoral specialization reflecting a broad pattern of long-term mobility. However, the paucity of floral and faunal studies, particularly for the Early Halaf, limits the visibility of economic variability over the course of the Halaf. In this...

  • Holocene Vegetation Cycles, Land-use and Human Adaptations to Desertification in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Arlene Rosen. Jennifer Farquhar. Joan Schneider. Tserendagva Yadmaa.

    Since the retreat of the Pleistocene some 11,700 years ago, the landscape and vegetation of the Mongolian Gobi Desert has been profoundly changing, punctuated by the appearance of lakes, wetlands, and finally aridification. Vegetation communities have responded to these changes according to temperature shifts and northward to southward movements of the edges of East Asian monsoonal systems. Human groups have lived, foraged, and traveled through the landscape of the Gobi for millennia, adapting...

  • The Lost Dimension: Pruned Plants in Roman Gardens (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kathryn Gleason.

    This paper focuses on previously unnoticed evidence for the pruning and dwarfing of plants represented in Roman garden paintings, such as the well-known example from the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta. Dozens of other examples of detailed garden scenes are preserved at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Their trompe l'oeil effects created interior garden settings for both living and dining spaces, as well as to extended the perceived extent of actual gardens in exterior courtyards of shops, houses, and...

  • Modeling the Spread of Crops across Eurasia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jade D'Alpoim Guedes. Kyle R Bocinsky.

    Understanding the routes and the timing of the spread of western Eurasia domesticates to Asia and of Asian domesticates to Europe and the Near East has become an increasing focus of research. To date, however, we have had little understanding of the types of constraints that farmers may have faced as they moved these domesticates into the challenging environments of Central Asia. The spread of many of these domesticates also took place during a time of marked climatic change. Although it has...

  • Naomi F. Miller and Applied Paleoethnobotany of Southwest Asia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Chantel White. Alan Farahani. John Marston.

    Naomi F. Miller’s work exemplifies the paleoethnobotanical approach towards understanding human interactions with botanical landscapes in the past using archaeological remains, rooted in theoretical traditions of American anthropological archaeology. On the occasion of her Fryxell Award in Interdisciplinary Research from the SAA, we reflect on her body of published research and active fieldwork to draw out five themes that highlight areas in which Miller has made significant contributions to the...

  • Provisioning and Agricultural Economy at Roman Gordion: Integrating Archaeobotany and Zooarchaeology (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only John Marston. Canan Çakirlar.

    Naomi Miller conducted extensive archaeobotanical research at the urban center of Gordion, in central Turkey, where she worked closely with zooarchaeologist Melinda Zeder to publish an integrated study of diachronic change in agricultural economies and land use. One period, however, was not included in this study: Roman Gordion, when the once-large city became a small military encampment. Drawing on the foundational effort of Miller and Zeder, we couple archaeobotanical data with new...

  • Scrapyards, Curious Constructions, and Local Engagement: A Southeast Arabian Perspective on Building a Flotation Machine (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Smiti Nathan.

    Since the late 1960s, flotation has been used to extract macrobotanical remains from soil. Machine-assisted flotation is a popular method; however, very few publications discuss the logistics of designing and constructing such a machine (notable exceptions include (Hunter and Gassner 1998; Nesbitt 1995; Pearsall 2015; Shelton and White 2010)). Flotation machines are often built in the country of research. The availability of local resources impacts the design, construction, and operation of a...