Offre de thèse : The archaeology and ecology of nutritional and medicinal plants from pre-agrarian contexts: Distribution, functional traits and biochemical properties (Glasgow)

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The focus of this project is to investigate the use of plants in recent and ancient non-agricultural communities and explore how plant biochemical spectra and functional traits might have affected the capacity of early human groups to obtain nutritious food and plant-based medications across diverse ecozones. The biochemical characteristics (ecological functional traits) that characterise groups of plants are not well known and likely vary as a function of the locally available flora. This PhD project will bring together an international supervisory network, providing exceptional field, laboratory and big-data analyses and networking opportunities for the successful applicant, all in a rapidly emerging and high-impact field to investigate the extent to which capacity to obtain plants with the required nutritional and medicinal properties in pre-agrarian contexts, was limited by variable local ecological contexts. This position is part of the UKRI ERC Advanced Grant replacement fund project Powerful Plants: The Power of Plants as Food, Medicine and Raw Materials Before Agriculture. This new project will use archaeological evidence supported by experimental archaeology and ethnographic data, to investigate the social, cultural and behavioural roles of the human use of plants before farming. Plants are essential to our physical, psychological and physiological well-being today as they were in the past. They provide us with energy, nutrients, medicines and raw materials. Yet the role of plants before the emergence of agriculture around 10,000 years ago, is virtually unknown largely due to their low survival rate.

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