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Methodology for the study of plant food processing in hunter-gatherer societies: a case study

In the study of hunter-gatherer societies, the importance of subsistence hunting in these groups has been overstated, modeling even the proposals of the early colonization of the continent. Furthermore, lithic materials associated with processing of plant resources have been ignored or undervalued because of the difficult conditions of preservation of organic materials (including the plant food resources) in the humid tropics, but mainly by the lack of a defined methodology for systematic recovery and study of vegetable remains and artifacts and activity areas associated with plant food processing. This article presents different methods that allow recovery not only of the plant debris remains at macro and micro level, but also the chemical traces from the occupation floors, and the use-wear/residue analysis of lithic artifacts, all guided by a theoretical position based on historical materialism with the objective of evaluating productive, ideological and reproductive processes associated with the transformation of nature, using as examples two sites of Pleistocene-Holocene transition in Southern Mexico (Chiapas).

Hunter-gatherers; Pleistocene; Early Holocene; Archaeobotany; Chiapas

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