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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Preliminary Paleoethnobotanical Analysis at G-995 La Chiripa, Costa Rica

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

My research investigates the human-environmental interactions of Prehispanic peoples in the Arenal region of Costa Rica. This area is an ideal location to look at resilient practices in the past, since domestic settlements in Arenal persevered through powerful volcanic eruptions that impacted the landscape every few centuries. As a paleoethnobotanist, I collected soil samples that will help reconstruct the past foodways and environmental management strategies of these past peoples over time through the study of archaeological plant remains preserved within an ancient domestic structure (La Chiripa) that was situated near the Arenal Volcano. At this site, distinct ash deposits distinguish between periods of human occupation, with abandonments, ecological recovery, and then re-occupations after each volcanic eruption, spanning from 1450 BCE to 1530 CE. In 2018, supported by Stahl funds, I constructed a flotation machine and processed the soil samples collected from this ancient household structure in order to recover any plant remains that were preserved below the ground surface. With a theoretical framework of practice theory, historical ecology, and household archaeology, my archaeobotanical research will examine the dynamics of residential groups procurement, production, redistribution, and transmission of goods and cultural practices to subsequent generations over thousands of years of archaeological representation in this volcanic setting. This dissertation research will provide invaluable information regarding ancient household practices, long-term residence stability, and environmental resilience in Pre-Columbian Central America.

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