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Paleoethnobotany is the study of the relationship between people and plants in the past.

The paleoethnobotany section research focuses primarily on the reconstruction of ancient environments and land use in southwest Asia and Central Asia through the study of plant macroremains (primarily charred seeds and wood). Our major projects are in central Anatolia (at Gordion), in the rainfall agriculture zone along the Euphrates in northeastern Syria and southeastern Turkey (at Tell es-Sweyhat and other sites), and in the lower piedmont of the Kopet Dag in Turkmenistan (at Anau). An outgrowth of the Gordion archaeobotanical project is a conservation and conservation education project centered on the main burial mound in the region, Tumulus MM.

Much of the botanical material is currently being analyzed with the goal of publication and ultimately the integration of the results in the cultural interpretation of the sites. For example, did the political changes signaled in the historical record at Gordion affect its agricultural economy? To what extent can the differences in plant and animal husbandry among 3rd millennium sites in the Euphrates valley be attributed to their geographic positions? How did the agricultural base of the piedmont societies of the Kopet Dag pave the way for the oasis civilizations of the Bronze Age?

e-mail: Naomi Miller
Website link:

Ethnobotanical Laboratory Reports

Long-term Vegetation Changes in the Near East

The Use of Plants at Anau North

Tracing the Development of the Agropastoral Economy in Southeastern Anatolia and Northern Syria

Plant Forms in Jewelry from the Royal Cemetery at Ur

Plants and Mudbrick: Preserving the Midas Tumulus at Gordion, Turkey

Agricultural Development in Western Central Asia in the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages

Seeds, Charcoal and Archaeological Context: Interpreting Ancient Environment and Patterns of Land Use

Farming and Herding along the Euphrates: Environmental Constraint and Cultural Choice

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