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Welcome to the McMaster Paleoethnobotanical Research Facility!

Our research at the MPERF focuses on foodways and ethnoecology. Research teams draw botanical residues from artifacts, teeth, and sediments to understand human-plant relationships in the historic and ancient past. Paleoethnobotancial research enables us to pose new questions about human adaptations to climate shifts and human impacts on local environments over time.  We can also derive understandings of culinary practices and gastronomic traditions by using paleoethnobotanical methods to analyze food residues.

Through generous funding provided by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the MPERF laboratories house extraction materials and microscopy equipment for macrobotanical analysis, extraction materials and microscopy equipment for microbotanical analysis, and a portable NanoRam spectrometer for limited chemical analysis of uncharred botanical specimens. Active projects include work in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, and Ontario. 

There are research and training opportunities for undergraduate students, graduate students, and visiting scholars.  Please contact Dr. Shanti Morell-Hart with any questions.

 

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