Lee Newsom's Laboratory
The work going on in this lab involves primarily research with preserved plant remains from archaeological and paleontological contexts. We work principally with plant macroremains--wood, seeds, fibers, and other organs—but have recently been involved with plant microremains (phytoliths and other similarly minute particles) and DNA. The materials we analyze may be in any of a variety of preservation states (carbonized, waterlogged, or desiccated), but we are especially well outfitted and routinely work with wood charcoal, especially tropical taxa, and waterlogged plant remains of all types. My students and I focus on a host of topics and research questions: paleoenvironment, paleoecology, and past biodiversity; plant domestication and the presence of unique landraces; the thresholds of resource sustainability, including in view of increasing social complexity, and more.
(click here for additional research information)