By Kathleen Forste, PhD Candidate Boston University
The major challenge faced by archaeologists is translating past artifacts, features, and architecture into behaviors and activities of the people who made and used them. A similar challenge faced by archaeologists who study ancient plants is translating the preserved plant remains into larger-scale agricultural practices, and into smaller-scale meals and foodways—the everyday stuff. Did they grow cereals and forage for fruit, or did they grow fruit and forage for wild cereals? Did they experiment with recipes, or were there strict rules for combining ingredients? Did they have a similar palate to ours today and did they seek the same flavors and textures? How did their food choices and palates change over time?