Get the answer of: What is Archaelogical Palynology?
Archaeological palynology is regarded as an information bank of the past including climatic conditions in a particular time bracket. Sediments along with pollen are collected for analysis from the archaeological sites. These are dated with radiocarbon dating to measure the changing pollen presence over time.
Individual pollen grain from archaeological sites is identified, counted and estimated the types of pollen present in relation to time scale. These data are used to trace the history of the domestication and cultivation of plants. Moreover pollen analysis of human coprolites (= feces fossils — these are typically preserved in dry caves) provides the dietary preferences.
Pollen analysis of sheep excrements found in Switzerland over several thousand years provides data regarding the reconstruction of the composition of pastures of that time. With the aid of palynological data the land use, forest clearance, cultivation and abandonment all can be identified. These data when collaged with other archaeological evidences become extremely informative.
Zea mays is the most commonly found pollen of cultigens. Other cultigens are cotton, Agave, Cleome, Opuntia and various weeds etc. Pollen data from the excavation sites of San Andres, Southeast Mexico confirm the use of cultigens like maize and manioc, Bryant (2003). With the aid of radiocarbon dating the archaeological deposits containing pollen of cultigens were dated and they were found to be of 5800 to 6200 years old.
In the early Holocene humans first selected and cultivated the food and fibre plants upon which they are to depend. Pollen data obtained from Pueblo dwelling in Eastern Arizona revealed that Pueblo cultures (AD 900-1250) collected and ate a wide variety of plants like Cleome, Chenopodium, Helianthus and Amaranthus etc. Previously many archaeologists assumed that the Pueblo groups subsisted on agriculturally grown foods.
In old Egyptian tombs honeys are found. Pollen analysis of these honey samples helps to trace back over four to five thousand years the vegetation of Nile Valley. In India Birbal Sahani Institute of Paleobotany, Lucknow, investigated the sites of the excavation at Lahuradewa District, Sant Kabir Nagar, U. P. and Porbandar.
The excavation near Porbandar has brought to light a late Bronze Age settlement. Pollen analysis from archaeological samples reveals shallow river depositional environment. The relative rise and fall of sea level corresponding to dry and warm climatic periods influenced the depositional environments.