Ancient Agriculture and Paleoethnobotany Laboratory (AAPL)

Dr. Alan Farahani, Director of the AAPL

The Ancient Agriculture and Paleoethnobotany Laboratory (AAPL), directed by Alan Farahani, is a collaborative research space dedicated to the investigation of agricultural communities in the past as well as the analysis of archaeological plant remains. The laboratory contains several sorting stereo-microscopes, a high-precision balance and scale, equipment for sub-sampling archaeological plant remains, and ample closet space.  A comparative collection is being assembled to facilitate the identification of archaeological plant remains, and collections currently include material from southwest Asia, California, and Mesoamerica. A powerful computer is also available that contains software such as R Studio, ESRI ArcGIS, AgiSoft Pro, and other important applications.

Members of the laboratory use all methods pertinent to the investigation of ancient agriculture or human-plant interactions in the past, including the analysis of animal bones (through collaboration with the Zooarchaeology laboratory), soils, and even pottery reconstruction. Both undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to utilize the space and consult with Farahani on any and all facets of research that touch on these broader themes.  Student projects currently or previously undertaken in the laboratory range from analyses of micro-artifacts from archaeological sites in Hawai'i to the identification of small fish and reptile remains from ancient central Jordan.  

Current and ongoing paleoethnobtoanical projects include an analysis of long-term wood resource impacts in the pre-Hispanic northern Philippines, ancient agriculture under several empires in central Jordan, and culinary changes under some of the earliest states (and later empires) in Iraqi Kurdistan.

All are welcome to inquire about participation in ongoing projects as well as space availability.