Ethnobotany: the role of plants in our life
About the CoursePlants are intimately part of our daily life: we use them as food, drink and decoration as well as for textiles, furniture and buildings. Despite its long history, ethnobotany is a constantly changing science, which grows by including with new contents and looks for new challenges. Its aims not only include the preservation of ancient knowledge and traditions but also improve our adaptation and fitness in the changing environment.
This course will introduce to the science that studies the relationships between humans and plants. It will be organized into three parts:
- case studies.
- to understand the theoretical basis of the ethnobotanical research;
- to recognize the interdisciplinary knowledge useful to study human-plant relationships;
- to recover the role of plants in our cultural evolution.
Background and Requirements
- Pearsall (2015). Paleoethnobotany: A Handbook of Procedures (3rd Edition). Hardcover.
- Caneva, Pieroni, Guarrera (2013). Etnobotanica. CONSERVAZIONE DI UN PATRIMONIO CULTURALE COME RISORSA PER UNO SVILUPPO SOSTENIBILE. Edipuglia.
Course FormatThe course will be organized in 22 slideshows reporting on three main topics: introduction: definition, history, associations and modernity of the research (4 lessons); methods of investigation, data collection and first studies (5 lessons); case studies (from the European project PaCE, to archaeobotany and the network BRAIN; examples of palaeoethnobotany from the Sahara and from the Mediterranean Basin).
Certificates and Exam rules
In order to complete the course, you have to pass all assignments in three steps:
- see and listen the lessons;
- compile two tests (10 questions each - one after lesson n.10 and one after lesson n. 21);
- send the final composition "Tell a story of plants and humans".