Is Traditional Pollen Analysis Obsolete?

Author(s): Mary Bryant

Year: 2018


For more than 100 years, palynologists have relied on the traditional method of pollen analysis to provide essential information on paleodiets, paleoenvironments, archaeology, and other research such as forensics. The past traditional method has focused on the of light and scanning electron microscopy and then used those results to obtain information and values which palynologists can use to interpret those. During the past decade, some scientists have turned to using other techniques such as DNA and isotopes of pollen grains to gain information about the above research goals. This paper investigates if these new techniques can in fact replace traditional pollen analysis. Ultimately, the current state of DNA and isotope research technology is unable to provide some of the most crucial information provided only by utilizing microscopic pollen analysis. Currently, the molecular and microscopic methods are complimentary. However, the relationship between the microscopic and molecular methods will need to be reevaluated as new technologies are developed.

Cite this Record

Is Traditional Pollen Analysis Obsolete?. Mary Bryant. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445056)

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Abstract Id(s): 22462