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Archaeobotany in Australia and New Guinea: Practice, potential and prospects

by Mark Horrocks last modified 2009-08-01 04:41 PM

Denham T, Atchison J, Austin J, Bestel S, Bowdery D, Crowther A, Dolby N, Fairbairn A, Field J, Kennedy A, Lentfer C, Matheson C, Nugent S, Parr J, Prebble M, Robertson G, Specht J, Torrence R, Barton H, Fullagar R, Haberle S, Horrocks M, Lewis T, Matthews P. 2009. Australian Archaeology 68, 1-10.


Archaeobotany is the study of plant remains from archaeological contexts. Despite Australasian research being at the forefront of several methodological innovations over the last three decades, archaeobotany is now a relatively peripheral concern to most archaeological projects in Australia and New Guinea.

In this paper, many practicing archaeobotanists working in these regions argue for a more central role for archaeobotany in standard archaeological practice. An overview of archaeobotanical techniques and applications is presented, the potential for archaeobotany to address key historical research questions is indicated, and initiatives designed to promote archaeobotany and improve current practices are outlined.

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