HIDDEN FOODS will develop a suite of methodological and experimental approaches in order to identify archaeological evidence of plant foods in Palaeolithic and Mesolithic societies of Southeastern Europe. HIDDEN FOODS analytical appproahes include:
1. Study of use wear and residues on artefacts
2. Identification of macro-botanical remains with particular focus on the analysis of plant parenchyma tissue
3. Study of dental pathologies on ancient human remains
4. Analysis of micro-fossils and disease-associated oral microbiota in ancient dental calculus
Creating an experimental reference collection of utilised groundstone and wild edible plants in order to understand use wear traces development, starch granules preservation and changes in starch visibility due to the physical state of processed plants and multiple uses of the same tool in different activities.
Identifying which species of plants were exploited using ground stone tools during the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic in Italy and the Balkans.
Organising floatation and sampling for recovering paleobotanical remains from archaeological excavations, sampling starch granules from sediments and selecting samples for radiocarbon dating.
Recognising macro-botanical remains and micro-fossils related to plant food processsing and consumption in archaeological sediments and human dental calculus.
Investigating the impact of plant foods on ancient hunter-gatherers’ health through the analysis of dentla pathologies and the disease-assoicated oral microbiota caused by the consumption of plant rich in carbohydrates.
Indentifying the social basis of specific dietary strategies and the possible existence of preferences in foragers’ diet established on a gender and/or age basis.
Estimating when plant foods started being used in foragers’ diet and understanding the tempo of Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic technological innovations related to plant processing.