University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

5-1985

Publication Source

Journal of Ethnobiology

Volume

5

Issue

1

Start Page

1

Last Page

19

Abstract

Plant remains from archaeological sites can provide information about the ancient environment. However, these remains should be considered archaeological artifacts, "filtered" through human culture. Adequate interpretation is only possible, and is indeed enriched, by taking the cultural practices of human populations into account. This approach is applied to archaeobotanical materials from Malyan, a fourth to second millennium B.C. site in Fars province, Iran, where there is archaeological evidence for population increase, growing complexity of settlement organization, and technological changes. Clearance of the ancient woodland in the vicinity of Maly an, and concomitant changes in the choice of fuel woods, can account for the observed changes in the proportions of woody taxa found during excavation. In particular, it appears that as the local poplar and juniper were removed, wood of the more distant oak forest was used. Deforestation was a result of a growing population's fuel demands for domestic and technological-especially metallurgical-purposes.

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Date Posted:24 May 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.