Research overview by Ceren Kabukcu in the European Association of Archaeologists Newsletter.
The past few decades have seen mounting evidence of plant use by Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers drawn from plant residues on stone tools (Lippi et al. 2015), ancient tartar on teeth (Henry et al. 2011) and DNA from sediments (ter Schure et al. 2022), as well as plenty of evidence from the burnt remains of plants used as food and fuel. Without a doubt, prehistoric hunter-gatherers in most environments and across a considerable time depth relied on plants for survival and as a means to adapt to changing environments. And yet, research focusing on the protein components of prehistoric diets continues to persistently question the significance of plants, often considered to be ‘inferior’ food choices (Jaouen et al. 2019).