UNLOCKING ANCIENT DIET: USING STARCH GRANULES IN FOOD RESIDUE FROM COOKING CERAMICS TO ANALYZE PRE-COLUMBIAN ERA CADDO DIET
This thesis examines the nature of food residues on sherds of ancient Caddoan ceramic cooking vessels from East Texas, which was the homeland of Caddoan peoples for more than 2,000 years. Interior surfaces of some ceramic cooking vessels retain small areas of encrusted residue representative of what was cooked therein. Food plant microfossils, starch granules, and phytoliths are sometimes embedded in this residue. Extraction and analysis of the residue is a reliable pathway to the study of Caddoan diets and these same analytical techniques are applicable to ceramic vessels in general. Diet- related information gained from residue analysis is compared to data about Caddoan diets derived from the archaeological and ethnographic records. Reference slides are created by extracting and mounting starch granules from fresh samples of key Caddoan foods, including maize (i.e. corn), beans, squash and other food resources. This study affirms that microscopic analysis of food residue provides an independent assessment of ancient diet and is applicable to a variety of settings.
Skrla, Amy (2011). UNLOCKING ANCIENT DIET: USING STARCH GRANULES IN FOOD RESIDUE FROM COOKING CERAMICS TO ANALYZE PRE-COLUMBIAN ERA CADDO DIET. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from