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Plant palaeoecologists use data from plant fossils and plant subfossils to reconstruct ecosystems of the past. Handbook of Plant Palaeoecology deals with the study of subfossil plant material retrieved from archaeological excavations and cores dated to the Late Glacial and Holocene.
One of the main objectives of Handbook of Plant Palaeoecology is to describe the processes that underlie the formation of the archaeobotanical archive and the ultimate composition of the archaeobotanical records, being the data that are sampled and identified from this immense archive. Our understanding of these processes benefits from a knowledge of plant ecology and traditional agricultural practices and food processing. Handbook of Plant Palaeoecology summarizes the basic ecological principles that relate to the reconstruction of former vegetations and of agricultural practices in particular.
We hope Handbook of Plant Palaeoecology will help palaeobotanists, environmental archaeologists, and colleagues from related disciplines optimize inferences based on what we could term "old-style" archaeobotany. And we hope that our observations will serve as an eye-opener and improve future research, not only as it is practised in our laboratories, but also as it is practised in the field.