Parker Academy, Paris, and Paleoethnobotany: The 3 P’s of a Graduate Student’s Research

Current Master of Arts in Public History student, Kendra Hein, recently attended a conference on paleoethnobotany in Paris, France to learn more about  archaeobotanical research is being conducted around the world.  Conference topics included hunter/gatherers, ethnobotany, phytoliths, plants & ritual, islands, agriculture origins, and more from various archaeological research sites around the globe.

Kendra’s career interest in archaeobotanical research led her to attend this conference with the goal of learning more about what is current in research, how it can be potentially related to the Parker Academy, and to meet the leading scholars in botanical research from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Oceania.  Here’s a bit of what she had to say…..

“While attending the 2016 IWGP (International Work-Group for Paleoethnobotany) I learned quite a lot about upcoming research relative to major archaeological sites from all over the world.  I also met with world-renowned researchers, graduate students, doctoral candidates, and post-doc employees, and received invaluable information from how to move forward with one’s research to whom to contact for additional insight.

Taking some of what I’ve learned from the IWGP conference, I will apply those methods with archaeobotanical remains I’ve retrieved from units at the Parker Academy.  Currently, I am in the process of running what is called flotation to obtain botanical remains from several different levels of sediment samples taken from one unit at Parker.  Once I have all the samples  I need I will then begin the process of analysis to see if there is a correlation between foodways from the two different races of students who attended the academy.  I assume that the analysis will show no difference in food preparation and consumption between the former enslaved African American students and the white students, but we never know what surprises may be in store!20160708_164344However excited I am to have learned about this new research and information, I noticed that there still seems to be an under-representation of archaeobotanical research being conducted in areas such as Oceania and the Americas, especially in North America.  This makes me even more committed to conducting my own research on foodways at Parker Academy site with the goal of presenting at the next IWGP and further how my sub-field may help shed more light on little-known dimensions of study on the archaeological sites in the U.S.”