ArchaeoCafé Podcast – Episode 9 – Archaeo-diets: An interview with Anna Florin

hosted by Otis Crandell

In this episode, I talk with Anna Florin about archaeobotany and her research at the Madjedbebe site in Australia.

Listen to this episode online:



Some useful terminology and links

A sandstone rock shelter in Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory of Australia. Site of the oldest known evidence of human habitation in Australia.

The traditional Aboriginal owners of lands in the Alligator Rivers region of Northern Australia. Custodians of the Madjedbebe site.

A palm-like tree used throughout the Pacific for food and textiles. Remains of nuts from the pandanus were found at the Madjedbebe site.

The study of plant pollen, spores, and certain microscopic planktonic organisms, in both living and fossil form. In archaeology, it is used to help determine past environments.

Rigid, microscopic structures made of silica, found in some plant tissues and which persist after the decay of the plant. In archaeology, they are used to help determine which plants were present at a location.

OSL dating
A method of dating soils or certain objects found at archaeological sites. Unlike radiocarbon dating, organic material is not needed for OSL.

Boncuklu Höyük
A 10,500 year old farming village site in Central Turkey.

[article] The first Australian plant foods at Madjedbebe, 65,000–53,000 years ago

[article] Ancient plant foods discovered in Arnhem Land


About Anna Florin

Anna Florin’s PhD research at the University of Queensland focuses largely on identifying plant remains found at archaeological sites. She is currently one of the archaeobotanists working on the Madjedbebe excavations in Northern Australia. As part of her work as an archaeobotanist, she also works with the traditional owners of the site, the Mirarr, to learn about their traditional use of plants and to collect samples of various plants for comparison with remains found during archaeological excavations.



“It’s not what you find, it’s what you find out.”
David Hurst Thomas
(Archaeology. 1989. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 2nd ed., p. 31.)


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