October 13, 2016 — Tending Trees and Raising Cane: Investigating Pre-Columbian Plant Use for Technology in the Ozark Plateau

Speaker: Elizabeth T. Horton, Ph.D., Arkansas Archeological Survey

Because of uniquely well-preserved perishable remains from bluff-shelters and caves, the Ozark Plateau has long been a crucial region for paleoethnobotanists studying the relationship between past peoples and plants. Dr. Horton will present what we know to date about plant fiber use and the fabric technology of Arkansas’ pre-Columbian peoples. She’ll also address the fascinating intersection of Arkansas Indians’ changing foodways in prehistory, the advent of locally domesticated crop plants, the shift to intensive agriculture, and plant fiber use. Finally, she’ll raise important questions about prehistoric landscape management, the creation of anthropogenic landscapes, and even modern questions about the conservation and management of a critical ecological community – the Canebrakes of the Southeast.

Liz Horton grew up in the Missouri Ozarks with her parent’s fascination for both history and botany installed in her at an early age. She received an MA (2003) and PhD (2010) in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis. As an archeologist, She specializes in paleoethnobotany, the study of the relationship between people and plants, and has a special interest in the use of plants for technological purposes. Her dissertation research focused on the fabric technologies (basketry and textiles) and plant fiber use in the Ozark Plateau of Arkansas and Missouri. After completing a post-doc with the Arkansas Archeological Survey in 2010. She was hired as the station archeologist for the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s Toltec Mounds Research Station in 2011, and continues her work on plant fiber use, as well as other issues in the deep-time history of plant use in Arkansas and the broader Southeastern United States.

Location: Fletcher Library off University Avenue at 7 PM.