Dr. John Hart
My research is focused primarily on the histories of maize, bean, and squash in New York and the greater Northeast and the interactions of human populations with these crops. Through collaborations with numerous colleagues both at the Museum and other institutions, this research has resulted in new understandings of these histories and interactions. A primary focus has been on charred cooking residues adhering to the interior surfaces of pottery sherds in the collections of the Museum. These residues contain microfossil evidence (phytoliths, starch, lipids) of the plants cooked in the pots. In addition the residues can be directly radiocarbon dated through accelerator mass spectrometry. These methods and techniques have provided new evidence that is radically altering our understandings of the histories of agriculture in New York State. Theory building to develop understandings of these new histories is another focus. This research has broad implications for Native American history in New York and the greater Northeast.
B.A. in Anthropology and Economics 1980 Stephen F. Austin State University
M.S. in Geosciences 1982 Northeast Louisiana University
Ph.D. in Anthropology 1992 Northwestern University
One source of information about prehistoric cooking activities is charred residue adhering to the interior of pottery and steatite sherds.
The major goals of this project are to establish (1) a history of the three principal agricultural crops used by Native Americans in New York: maize (Zea mays ssp. mays), bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), and squash (Cucurbita pepo) and (2) an evolutionary explanation for the development of the polycropping system that included these three crops.
Late Prehistoric Settlement:
The major goals of this research are to (1) understand the evolutions of late prehistoric (A.D. 900-1600) villages and (2) the effects of cultural-historic taxa on our understandings of these evolutions.