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Crop and Weed in Prehistoric Eastern North America: The Chenopodium Example

Kristen J. Gremillion
American Antiquity
Vol. 58, No. 3 (Jul., 1993), pp. 496-509
DOI: 10.2307/282109
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/282109
Page Count: 14
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Crop and Weed in Prehistoric Eastern North America: The Chenopodium Example
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Abstract

Analysis of seed morphology in paleoethnobotany typically focuses on identification of domesticates. However, the wild and weed forms that are sometimes recognized in archaeological contexts can provide pertinent information about garden ecology. Morphometric studies of Chenopodium from the eastern United States have revealed patterns of variation compatible with the coexistence and interaction of crop and weed populations. The character of this interaction reflects considerable flexibility and diversity in prehistoric agricultural systems. In addition, the frequency of weed seeds in archaeological collections can be used to assess the nature of selection in managed habitats and the husbandry practices associated with it.

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