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Psychoactive plants Project

Affiliated Projects

Investigating Ancient Plant Residues on South Florida Ceramics

Archeologist Paige Hawthorne, then of the National Park Service’s (NPS) Southeast Archaeological Center (SEAC), conducted residue analysis on prehistoric ceramics from various archaeological sites on National Parks in South Florida. In collaboration with Shannon Tushingham’s Ancient Residue Lab and the Gang Lab at Washington State University, the purpose of this project is to evaluate prehistoric plant and ceramic use in South Florida. For this, analyses of multiple plant species, both for psychotropic uses and subsistence, as well as various ceramic vessel types are utilized to interpret spatial and temporal patterns in plant use. In collaboration with Dr. Margo Schwadron and Dr. Alex Parsons (NPS-SEAC), the residue analysis will help to elicit connections to ceramic types, styles, and cultural phases in South Florida sites. This will help to tie in broader research endeavors examining human-environmental relationships among a variety of prehistoric coastal sites that are vulnerable to climate change due to rising sea level, focusing research and documentation on prehistoric landscapes, cultural ecology, and political economy of threatened sites. The research spans several parks, and includes Canaveral National Seashore’s Turtle Mound; Everglades National Park’s Sandfly Key; and sites in Big Cypress National Preserve and Biscayne National Park.

Hawthorne drying samples
Paige Hawthorne drying samples following residue extraction at the Tushingham Ancient Residue Lab.