Anthropology Professor to Present an Invited Webinar for the Friends of the American Schools of Research

Jennifer Ramsay doing flotation at Caesarea Maritima

Dr. Jennifer Ramsay (Department of Anthropology) was invited to give a webinar for the Friends of the American Schools of Research (ASOR) titled “The Wheat from the Chaff: What we can learn from studying Plants in Antiquity” on December 14, 2023 at 6 pm.

Friends of ASOR present the next webinar in the 2023-2024 season on December 14, 2023, at 6 pm, presented by Dr. Jennifer Ramsay. From examining Neolithic plant remains from the Black Desert in Jordan that indicate a much more verdant environment in the past, to discovering what plants can tell us about provisioning the Roman Army in the East, and even to understanding the role pigeons played in ancient agriculture, plant remains offer vital evidence to our understanding of the past. Join Jennifer Ramsay as she recounts a fascinating career in archaeobotany.

In the summer of 1994, Ramsay embarked on her first archaeological excavation to King Herod’s Palace at the site of Caesarea Maritima in Israel, where she was thrilled to be bestowed with the title of assistant bone person. After excavating many bones that summer, the director took her aside and said, ‘everyone is doing bones, you should study plant remains.’  And just like that, an archaeobotanist was born. Little did she know those many years ago that plant remains recovered from archaeological sites could tell us so much about the past.

Ramsay spent several summers as an archaeobotanist at Caesarea collecting plant remains. It was there that she discovered the importance of the neglected, but informative, ‘weed.’ Many economic crops were recovered that illuminated aspects of the agricultural economy in the ancient city, but it was what the weeds could tell us about the environment, seasonality, and agricultural techniques that she found intriguing. Since then, she has been fortunate to work on projects.

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Posted: December 13, 2023