Archaeology of African Plant Use

17 February 2014

Archaeology of African Plant Use bookcover

A new volume edited by Chris Stevens, Sam Nixon, Mary Anne Murray and Dorian Fuller which covers a wide range of botanically related studies within African archaeology is now available.

The volume entitled Archaeology of African Plant Use brings together papers presented at the 5th meeting of the International Workshop for African Archaeobotany (IWAA 5), as well as invited authors, and is published by Left Coast Press.

While the study of plants alongside archaeological projects has long been established within Europe and the Near East, for much of Africa such studies are much rarer. This volume represents an important contribution to this growing focus of research, and provides an important corpus of work both for the archaeobotanist and African archaeologist alike.

The twenty-two newly-authored chapters are divided into four major areas of study; the archaeobotanies of hominids during the Palaeolithic, the West African Neolithic, the role of plants in the economies and structure of complex societies, and finally a series of case studies that apply new techniques and approaches to African archaeological analyses. The themes of the papers cover such diverse topics as primate plant use, diet and evolution, palaeoenvironmental change, domestication, agriculture, iron production and historical linguistics.

The book also presents a launch pad for a key region in the Comparative Pathways towards Agriculture (ComPag) project, funded by the European Research Council which aims to provide the first comparative synthesis for the domestication of plants and transition to agricultural at a global level.