Plants from the Past is a fascinating, comprehensive record of the work of two dedicated plant scientists who were instrumental in the establishment of archaeobotany and paleoethnobotany as vigorous subdisciplines within American archaeology. Hugh Carson Cutler and Leonard Watson Blake worked together for many decades at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, identifying and interpreting plant remains from archaeological sites all over North America.
Covering a period of 30 years and tracing the development of the study of plant remains from archaeological sites, the volume will give archaeologists access to previously unavailable data and interpretations. It features the much-sought-after extensive inventory "Plants from Archaeological Sites East of the Rockies," which serves as a reference to archaeobotanical collections curated at the Illinois State Museum. The chapters dealing with protohistory and early historic foodways and trade in the upper Midwest are especially relevant at this time of increasing attention to early Indian-white interactions.
The editors' introduction provides coherence and historical context for the papers and points to the book's potential as a resource for future research. Graced by Dr. Blake's brief introductions to each chapter, Plants from the Past neatly compiles the earliest research in archaeobotany by two originators of the science.