2014 - 2015

  From Nature Into Culture ? Plants and Human Culture From the                                         
Dafna LanggutGilman-humanities220Sun1000-1200 Sem  1
University credit hours:  2.0

Course description
The aim of the course is to be familiar with all the available botanical remains that can be recovered from archaeological sites in terms of sampling methods, identification and their contribution to the archaeological research. The first part of the course will be devoted to the main principles, benefits and limits of the following archaeobotanical methods: wood and charcoal remains, fossil pollen, seeds and residue analysis (given by Dr. D. Namdar). The second part of the course will focus on the following aspects: 1). The significance of the botanical remains within the different contexts of the site - utilization patterns for living spaces, agricultural practices, diet, plant usage (e.g. building material, fuel), ancient gardens, seasonality of site occupation and determination of the exact use of different facilities within the site; 2). The significance of the botanical remains within the vicinity of the site: determining the geographic limits of a site throughout the different periods of activity, reconstruction of past vegetation (wild versus cultivated) and climate conditions, evaluation of economical strategies (grazing and agriculture); 3). Preservation of wooden artifacts; 4). Dating methods which rely on plant material (carbon 14 and dendrochronology); 5). Nautical archaeology (plants maritime trade: plant importation and exportation, timbers used for ship building and ship technology production). During the course students will be acquainted with archaeological sites characterized by excellent preservation of botanical remains from our region (e.g. Acheulian site Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, the Epi-Paleolithic site Ohallo II, the Neolithic submerged site Atlit-Yam, the cave of the Chalcolithic warrior). A special focus will be given to archaeobotany of tels: preservation of botanical remains in different contexts, sampling methods, a comparison of different periods/different activity areas within the tel, including a paleoenvironmental reconstruction within the vicinity of the tel. The course will involve a visit to the Botanical Gardens of Tel Aviv University.

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tel aviv university