An Examination of Circum-Alpine Lake Dwelling Botanicals at the Milwaukee Public Museum

Author(s): Ann Eberwein

Year: 2018


The lake dwelling sites of circum-Alpine Europe were discovered by the archaeological community in the mid-19th century and their artifacts were dispersed to museum collections in the United States and Europe. The Milwaukee Public Museum houses one such collection, which includes zoological material, textile fragments, tools, and carbonized botanicals and food. This paper focuses on the collection of plants and food, which come from Robenhausen, a lake-dwelling site south of Zurich. In studying this collection, there are a variety of factors that preclude traditional paleoethnobotanical methods. First, the protocol for handling carbonized botanicals from waterlogged sites is to maintain their moisture content, which is an impossibility in this context. In addition, since these excavations were carried out in the 1800s, artifacts were removed from the site without regard for stratigraphy and excavations were funded through the sale of Lake Dwelling objects, making quantification of these assemblages impossible. This paper examines the Milwaukee Public Museum’s collection of botanical and food remains, given the limitations inherent in the study of waterlogged carbonized material excavated before modern paleoethnobotanical methods were developed. In addition, this paper/poster works toward the development of a methodology that can be applied to similar paleoethnobotanical museum collections.

Cite this Record

An Examination of Circum-Alpine Lake Dwelling Botanicals at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Ann Eberwein. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443210)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -13.711; min lat: 35.747 ; max long: 8.965; max lat: 59.086 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22639