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Plants used in the Indigenous Caribbean: a database of plants in reference to the archaeological literature

Author(s): Natasha Fernandez-Perez ; Isabel Rivera-Collazo

Year: 2016

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Archaeological studies have demonstrated that the dynamics between plants and people in the Neotropics are central for the understanding of both forests and human societies. However, in the archaeological literature of the Caribbean there is no single analysis listing the range of plants used and for what purposes. Upon this situation, we have undergone the task of reviewing the existing paleobotanical literature from a Pan-Caribbean perspective, and assembling a database. It includes each plant identified with details of remain type, use/interpretation, country or island, archaeological site, attributed culture, reported date, calendar years minimum and maximum, and reference. The database was analyzed statistically (taxa most represented), spatially (localities where specific taxons have been identified), and qualitatively (general perspective of the meaning of these assemblages). As the database included both macro and micro remains, the diversity and richness of taxa responds to the variability of human use of different species, their preservation in the archaeological record, and to the recovery methods for each type of remain. The taxonomic richness evidenced in this database illustrates the wide range of plants used in the past and the importance that the forests had to the societies living in the Lowland Neotropics.

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Plants used in the Indigenous Caribbean: a database of plants in reference to the archaeological literature. Natasha Fernandez-Perez, Isabel Rivera-Collazo. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404554)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America