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Paleobotanical Remains

Submitted by mccaffer on Thu, 01/31/2008 - 2:53pm

Excellent preservation conditions allowed the recovery of a variety of botanical remains.  These included carbonized seeds as well as numerous pieces of carbonized wood.  Large fragments of carbonized wood were submitted for radiocarbon dating, but smaller samples are being studied by Tanya Chiykowski in order to identify the tree species, to advance environmental reconstructions.

carbonized wood fragment

 Carbonized wood fragment


Approximately 200 carbonized seeds were recovered from the screens and during flotation of soil samples.  The most abundant were seeds of jocote, a sour fruit eaten raw or fermented into 'wine'.  Other seeds included beans, cacao, and paraiso (a berry used today as an insect repellant).  No evidence of maize was recovered, which is unusual since kernals tend to preserve relatively well in archaeological contexts. 


jocote and paraiso seeds

Jocote and paraiso seeds


Additional analysis of the paleobotanical remains is planned.  Soil samples for flotation have been collected for palynological and phytolith analyses,  Grinding stones are also being prepared for the extraction of phytoliths and starches.  It is hoped that more comprehensive interpretations of the plant resources exploited will soon be available.


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