11 Environment and Subsistence

When archaeologists are looking for clues about past environments what are their two primary sources of evidence?  Describe why these two sources are so important.


What are isotopes and how/why do archaeologists use them to study past environments?


How far back in years can tree-rings show us?  Why is this type of environmental record so important and how is it different or similar to examining ice cores?


Plant foods can tell us a lot about diets so reconstructing plant environments is essential.  There are two types of botanical remains, microbotnatical and macrobotanical.  Within these two broader categories, list three main types of plant evidence in the table below.

Microbotanical Macrobotanical













Animal remains are often preserved in archaeological sites.  What question must an archaeologist ask first when encountering animal remains?


Explain the basic methods used to discovering sex, age, and season of death in animal remains.


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