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Phytolith and starch research in the Australian-Pacific-Asian regions : the state of the art : papers from a conference held at the ANU, August 2001, Canberra, Australia

CollectionsTerra Australis
ANU Pacific Institute
Title: Phytolith and starch research in the Australian-Pacific-Asian regions : the state of the art : papers from a conference held at the ANU, August 2001, Canberra, Australia
Author(s): State of the Art in Phytolith and Starch Research in the Australian-Pacific-Asian Regions Conference
Golson, Jack
Hart, Diane M
Wallis, Lynley A
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Pandanus Books, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University.
Series/Report no.: Terra Australis: 19
The decision to produce this volume of terra australis arose during a workshop held at the conclusion of a conference hosted by the Centre for Archaeological Research at The Australian National University in the nation's capital, Canberra, in August 2001. The conference (The state of the art in phytolith and starch research in the Australian-Pacific-Asian regions) attracted participants from China, Belgium, the United States of America, Argentina, New Zealand and, of course, Australia. The volume brings together many of the papers and posters presented at the conference, as well as invited papers from Tracey Lu and Matiu Prebble, who were unfortunately unable to present papers at the Canberra conference. An introductory paper outlining the history of phytolith researchers in Australia sets the scene, demonstrating the steady emergence of three primary local centres of excellence in phytolith research (Macquarie University, Southern Cross University and The Australian National University). The next two sections deal with techniques and taphonomy; demonstrating the ingenuity of researchers in adapting procedures, establishing the utility of phytoliths and starch and the problems involved in analysing data. It is usually the application of phytolith and starch analyses to varied external research questions that is of primary interest to non-specialists. It is crucial, however, that we develop a deeper understanding of the processes and techniques involved in phytolith and starch preservation and behaviours, as well as greater skill in efficiently and effectively extracting and studying such microfossils. The papers in these sections of the volume demonstrate some of the recent steps taken towards meeting such challenges. Advances of this nature in baseline research, which often seem of little value to outsiders, ultimately afford us a greater degree of confidence and sophistication in utilising phytoliths and starch in applied studies. The final selection of papers presents recent applications of phytoliths and starch to research into archaeology, palaeoenvironments and the origins of early agriculture. The final paper, contributed by Deborah Pearsall, a modern pioneer in the field who presented a keynote address at the conference, outlines current research directions and demonstrates the power of using several strands of evidence in archaeological and environmental reconstructions.
ISBN: 1740760395
ISSN: 0725-9018


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