Georgie DeAntoni: “Post-Contact Paleoethnobotany in California: Studying Indigenous Landscape Management Practices Along the Central Coast”

Join SCAS for “Post-Contact Paleoethnobotany in California: Studying Indigenous Landscape Management Practices Along the Central Coast,” a talk by Georgie DeAntoni, Ph.D. Candidate, UC Santa Cruz. The talk will be held on June 14, 2018, at 7:30 pm at the Santa Cruz Live Oak Grange Hall at 1900 17th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (click here for Google Maps directions).

Within California archaeology, paleoethnobotany—the study of plant remains—has most commonly been applied to pre-colonial contexts. However, much can be learned by using paleoethnobotany to study the post-contact period, particularly in examining questions of landscape change and Indigenous resilience. Using the smallest traces of human pasts to tell stories of life and plant use, paleoethnobotany can be used to understand how landscapes have been managed in the past, evaluate how territories have changed ecologically following colonialism, examine how Indigenous cultures persisted in light of environmental shifts, and explore how communities may reintroduce traditional management practices in the present.

This talk will provide an overview of the collaborative archaeobotanical work DeAntoni has conducted throughout the greater San Francisco Bay area, highlighting the ways that this archaeological subdiscipline can be used in minimally invasive, sustainable research projects moving forward. Specifically, DeAntoni will discuss the value of wood charcoal studies as well as seed identification for ecological restoration and Indigenous landscape management efforts. Utilizing strategic partnerships between tribes, land managers, and academic institutions, studies of historic landscapes and environmental change provide an opportunity to awaken dormant Indigenous cultural and natural resource management practices in ancestral territories. Paleoethnobotany is one course of study which can contribute to these conversations.

Georgie DeAntoni is a second year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz. Her research examines Indigenous responses to colonization along the California coast, using the study of archaeological plant remains to trace landscape management practices and ecological change. With archaeological experience in Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz counties, DeAntoni’s work is inspired by collaborative and community-based research projects. DeAntoni earned her B.A. degree in both Anthropology and Native American Studies from UC Berkeley in 2015, where she wrote a senior honors thesis entitled, “Charcoal Identification as Means of Central California Landscape Reconstruction: A Paleoethnobotanical Study of TCR-11.”

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