Beyond their nutritional values, plants have played a central role for the production of artefacts in prehistoric societies. Specific plants and their anatomical parts may have been selectively used for the production of baskets and wooden containers, among others, which in turn could have been employed for processing and storing distinct commodities. However, the nature and function of these artefacts often remains a matter of debate due to their poor preservation and the paucity of research on their organic fraction. You will apply a suite of molecular techniques involving protein analyses on plant based artefacts from La Draga (a waterlogged early Neolithic site in Spain) to unlock information on the nature of these artefacts (taxonomic identification), and molecular analysis of amorphous residues thought mass spectrometry (lipids) to explore what resources were processed, transported and/or stored in them. Stable carbon isotope analysis of plant remains will allow to investigate the environment and climate of plant’s procurement area. This information will ultimately shed light on the decision-making processes behind the manufacture of plant based artefacts, and their place in the first agro-pastoral societies of western Europe.
PhD starting October 2021 and recruiting now.
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