Agendas for Archaeobotany in the 21st Century: data, dissemination and new directions

Lisa A. Lodwick

All Souls College, University of Oxford

Cite this as: Lodwick, L. 2019 Agendas for Archaeobotany in the 21st Century: data, dissemination and new directions, Internet Archaeology 53.


Visualisation of a mid-Roman masonry building 3, Insula IX, Silchester, drawing on archaeobotanical results. (┬ęSilchester Town Life Project/University of Reading 2011).

Archaeobotany, here taken as the study of archaeological plant macrofossil remains, is a mature and widely practised area of study within archaeology. However, plants are rarely seen as active participants in past societies. Recent critical evaluations of the field of archaeobotany have focused on methodological issues, chronological and regional overviews and biomolecular developments, rather than theoretical approaches or research practices. This article aims to reflect on future agendas in archaeobotany, which may improve the use and communication of archaeobotanical data, and invigorate discussion. First, the article briefly reviews the development of archaeobotany in Britain, before focusing discussion on the areas of data publication and archiving, and the application of archaeological theory to archaeobotanical remains. Opportunities provided by the 'plant turn' in social sciences and humanities are explored in relation to plant materiality. The use of the Internet in training and analysis is considered, before reflecting on how archaeobotany has been successfully communicated to broader audiences.

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