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Journal Article

From Plant Domestication to Phytolith Interpretation: The History of Paleoethnobotany in the Near East

Peter Warnock
Near Eastern Archaeology
Vol. 61, No. 4 (Dec., 1998), pp. 238-252
DOI: 10.2307/3210657
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3210657
Page Count: 15
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Abstract

Pioneered by such familiar names as Helbaek and van Ziest, paleoethnobotany in the Near East has come far since its early days. The enhanced recovery of botanical remains through flotation has replaced serendipitious finds as a regular source of data. Analysis has reached beyond seeds and fragments of wood to embrace the examination of microscopic pollen grains and silica skeletal fragments (phytoliths). Although initially narrow in focus and fractured in traditions, the field is coalescing into a broad-minded, unified extension of archaeology. There are problems, typical of all growing and expanding sciences, but the future looks promising, with no indication that the relatively few Near Eastern paleoethnobotanists will be running out of work any time soon.

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