Institute of Archaeology


Jose Julian Garay-Vazquez

Jose Julian Garay-Vazquez

"From the earth to the plate": An archaeobotanical approach to cross-cultural interactions, adaptation strategies, and subsistence variations in the Longue Duré among pre-Colombian societies in Puerto Rico through the study of subsistence remains.


Email: jose.vazquez.16@ucl.ac.uk
Section: Archaeological Sciences



"From the earth to the plate": Towards a more detailed understanding of Pan-Caribbean botanical culinary traditions an archaeobotanical investigation of macro botanical assemblages from pre-Colombian sites in Puerto Rico in the Longue Duré.

There is little archaeobotanical data from tropical locations due to notions of poor preservation. More so, in locations where the past peoples' subsistence consisted on tuber crops which are scarcely identified from the archaeological record. My research project focuses on the identification of botanical culinary practices of the pre-Columbian societies of Puerto Rico to identify subsistence practices, and ethnic identity through the analysis of archaeobotanical assemblages. The questions that guides this project is What changes in subsistence practices on tropical archipelagos can be identified on the subsistence-resource archaeobotanical assemblage of macro and micro-remains through the analysis of seeds, fruits, parenchyma tissues, possible charred food fragments, phytoliths and starches through time? Currently, samples from 6 pre-Columbian archaeological sites of Puerto Rico are being analysed, and the presence of charred seeds, food fragments, and possible tuber fragments has been identified. Assessment of unpublished archaeobotanical reports from Puerto Rico have shown that the notions of poor preservation of archaeobotanical remains is related to inconsistencies in methodology. Now the project is on its earliest stages, and future avenues of research will focus on developing a methodology for sampling in tropical contexts, enhance recovery methodologies, and identify the effects of taphonomical effects on archaeobotanical materials.


    • B.A. Anthropology with emphasis in Archaeology, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus, Puerto Rico. 2015
    • MSc Environmental Archaeology, UCL 2017

    Garay-Vazquez, Jose J. (2018) "Tell me what you are eating, and I tell you who are you": An

    analysis of differences in Elite and Non-Elite Food Consumption in Gamo Society During Historical Times (Ethiopian south west Highlands). Presented at the Society for American Archaeology. Washington D.C., Maryland.

    Garay-Vazquez, Jose J.; Rivera-Collazo, Isabel C. (2016) Subsistence and the resilience of coastal habitats in the Longue durée. Presented at the Society for American Archaeology. Orlando, Florida.

    Garay-Vazquez, Jose J. (2015) Into the mind of an undergrad: personal experience, training and

    archaeology. Presented at the Society for American Archaeology. San Francisco, California.

    Garay-Vazquez, Jose J. (2014) Descubriendo Nuestras Raíces y Ciudadano Científico [Unearthing our roots and Citizens science]. Presented in the 3r. Congreso Universitario de Antropología, Sociología, e Historia: Miradas Holísticas del Contexto Social. The University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus.

    Garay-Vazquez, Jose J. (2014) La Arqueología: Investigación, Impacto y Conservación Ambiental

    [Archaeology: Research, Impact and Environmental Conservation]. presented in the 2do. Congreso de Áreas Naturales Protegidas. The Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico: Sala Jesús Maria Sanromá.