Institute of Archaeology
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First for Archaeology in UK 2015

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Monica Nicolaides

Microbotanical Analysis of Stone Tools and Sediment Samples: Reconstructing Early Epipaleolithic People-Plant Interactions in the Eastern Levant

My research uses innovative microbotanical techniques to explore hunter-gatherer responses to climate change in the Early Epipaleolithic period (ca. 25,000-18,500 cal. BP). During this period the Levant experienced extreme shifts in climate and environment caused by the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). By analyzing the microbotanical evidence, such as phytoliths and starch grains, gathered from stone tools and sediments, I will examine the strategies that local populations employed to adapt and survive. The results of my analysis will provide a list of the plants utilized by Early Epipaleolithic peoples and suggest how they used technology to exploit and process those resources. It is my expectation that these findings will show that hunter-gatherers from this period employed a broad-spectrum approach to resource use, which included the routine exploitation of wild cereals and grasses to varying degrees. As lower ranked resources, their incorporation into the diet is an important cultural and social indicator. It marks the beginning of a process that led hunter-gatherers to eventually take up plant food production, a transition of global significance. By studying the dynamic adaptations of Eastern Levantine peoples during the height of the LGM my dissertation and forthcoming publications will offer a new understanding of Early Epipaleolithic people-plant interactions and make a timely contribution to contemporary discussions regarding human responses and adaptations to climate change.

Funding organisation

  • Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Doctoral Fellowship

Supervisors

 Educational background

  • BA, Anthropology Major, Indigenous Studies Minor, University of British Columbia Okanagan, 2007
  • MA, Archaeology, University of Calgary, 2010

Nicolaides, M., 2009 More than Words: Reading Codes of Ethics for Deeper Political, Ideological, and Cultural Meaning. In Postcolonial perspectives in archaeology, Edited by Peter Bikoulis, Dominic Lacroix, and Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown, pp 45-54. Proceedings of the 39th (2006) Annual Chacmool Archaeological Conference. University of Calgary, Alberta.

Nicolaides, M., 2010 Patterns in the Pits: The Paleoethnobotanical Evidence from Three Ancient Earth Ovens from the Hat Creek Valley, British Columbia. Chacmool Conference, Calgary, Paper Presentation.

Nicolaides, M., S. Peacock, B. Kooyman, 2010 Expanding Insights: A Case Study of Earth Oven Reuse from the Hat Creek Valley, British Columbia. Canadian Archaeology Association, Calgary, Poster Presentation.

Nicolaides, M., B. Kooyman, S. Peacock, 2010 Sampling, Sampling, Sampling, Are We Redundant Yet? A Macrobotanical Sub-sampling Procedure for Earth Ovens. Canadian Archaeology Association, Calgary, Poster Presentations.

Nicolaides, M., 2010 White Rock Springs and the Root of it: An Introduction to Canadian Plateau Earth Oven Technology and Wild Plant Food Processing. Noon Hour Lecture, Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary, Paper Presentation.

Nicolaides, M., S. Peacock, B. Kooyman, 2009 Reusing the Pits: A Case Study of Earth Oven Reuse from the Hat Creek Valley, British Columbia. Society of Ethnobiology Conference, New Orleans, Poster Presentation.

Nicolaides, M., 2006 More than Words: Reading Codes of Ethics for Deeper Political, Ideological, and Cultural Meaning. Chacmool Conference, Calgary, Paper Presentation

  • M.Nicolaides, Canadian Plateau, Hat Creek Locality, 2007
  • M.Nicolaides, Canadian Plateau, Hat Creek Locality, 2007
  • M.Nicolaides, Canadian Plateau, Hat Creek Locality, 2007

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