Everyday Use of Plants in Pre-Hispanic Costa Rica


This summer I traveled to Costa Rica to participate in archaeological excavations of possibly the oldest known house structure in Central America. I have worked as a paleoethnobotanist previously in El Salvador and Belize, so I was excited to bring my expertise to an area nearby that has yet to fully embrace macro botanical analysis of plant remains.  While in Costa Rica, I collected over 400 soil samples designated for a variety of botanical analyses including macro remains, pollen, and phytoliths. I learned that macro remain recovery can actually be quite productive in this region, despite its lack of application by archaeologists here thus far. My results will reveal much-needed details about what people were eating in the past in an area that experienced remarkable societal longevity despite frequent climatic events such as volcanic eruptions and tropical storms.

Venicia M Slotten
Publication date: 
August 30, 2018
Publication type: 
Student Research