About the Archaeobotany Collections

Like the faunal and soils collections housed in the Environmental Archaeology Laboratory, both archaeological collections and modern reference collections of plants are curated. These collections are an integral part of scientific studies and as such their collection, maintenance, and orderly use are crucial. The plant collections are still in their incipient stages of growth as this component of the environmental archaeology program is a recent addition.

Archaeobotany Reference Collection

Many types of plant materials are studied by archaeobotanists: seeds, leaves, stems, roots, fruits, wood, bark, pollen, phytoliths, spores, tissues systems, stomata, starch grains, chemical compounds, resins, and other structures. At present only the macrobotanical remains are our focus. Our holdings now include a few hundred specimens of the species most frequently recovered from archaeological sites in southeastern North America. This includes voucher specimens of seeds, woods, and mounted plant specimens. In addition, we are gradually expanding our comparative collections to include experimentally treated specimens such as carbonized plant remains. Other plant collections that may be used in conjunction with ours are the modern Herbarium and fossil Paleobotany holdings at the Florida Museum of Natural History. These collections also contain comparative seeds and woods from various localities in North, Central, and South America. Together we hold one of the largest seed collections in the southeastern U.S.

Archaeobotany Collection

These collections house plant remains primarily from the southeastern United States and the circum Caribbean region, and include both prehistoric and historic period sites. As the program has developed and the sites have increased in number and volume, they have been inventoried and are being prepared for computerization following the same procedures used in the zooarchaeological computerization program. A modified version of ACCESS is also being planned for these collections.