Arts and Sciences of Ancient Plants at McMaster University


Since 2013, the McMaster Paleoethnobotanical Research Facility (MPERF) has explored questions surrounding the relationship between humans and plants, including plant cultivation and collection, consumption and social uses of flora, and interactions between people and landscape. Active projects address human-plant dynamics throughout different regions of Mesoamerica, South America, and Ontario, at time periods ranging from the Late Pleistocene through historic periods. With recent support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, laboratory work has turned toward refining techniques for microbotanical analysis and applying Raman spectroscopy to botanical residues.

This presentation centers on the study of macrobotanical and microbotanical remains to address three foci: meal production and everyday practices in the Late Formative Lake Titicaca basin of Bolivia; foodways and ethnoecology at Southeastern Mesoamerican sites; and changes and continuities in Mixtec lifeways during the Early Spanish Colonial period at the site of Achiutla in the Mixteca Alta region of Mexico. We highlight collaborations with broader networks and institutions, as well as the ongoing training in paleoethnobotanical techniques and interpretative strategies currently taking place at the MPERF. These efforts fit into a long tradition at McMaster of the application of novel methodologies in archaeological sciences to answer social questions.

Cite this Record

Arts and Sciences of Ancient Plants at McMaster University. Éloi Bérubé, Shanti Morell-Hart, Sophie Reilly. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431393)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16281