Ancient Agriculture and Paleoethnobotany Laboratory (AAPL)

The Ancient Agriculture and Paleoethnobotany Laboratory (AAPL), directed by Sonia Zarrillo, is a collaborative research space dedicated to the investigation of agricultural systems and communities in the past, as well as the analysis of archaeological plant remains. Members of the laboratory use all methods pertinent to the investigation of ancient agriculture or human-plant interactions, including both macrobotanical and microbotanical analyses. Intradisciplinary collaborations with other anthropologists and archaeologists – and subspecialties, such as lithic, pottery, zooarchaeological, and human remains analyses – and interdisciplinary studies with food scientists, ancient DNA specialists, and chemists are utilized and encouraged. Zarrillo is available to consult with students, set up volunteer or independent study projects, and develop research designs, sampling protocols, and evaluation of results.

Some current and ongoing paleoethnobotanical projects include ancient agriculture in Ecuador, Paleoindian plant resource use and interzonal interaction in southern Peru, and the timing and origins of domesticated cacao (chocolate) and its spread throughout the Americas.

The laboratory contains several sorting stereo-microscopes and a transmitted light polarizing microscope with digital cameras, equipment for sub-sampling macrobotanical plant remains, a computer with software such as R Studio, ESRI ArcGIS, AgiSoft Pro, and other important applications, and a refrigerated centrifuge and other equipment for isolating microbotanical remains. A comparative collection is being assembled to facilitate the identification of both macrobotanical and microbotanical archaeological plant remains, and collections currently include material from the American Plains and Southwest, California, and the lowland and highland regions of South America.

All are welcome to inquire about participation in ongoing projects, independent research, and space availability.

 

Contact information:

E-mail: szarrillo@g.ucla.edu

Room: A-418 Fowler Building