Australian Museum starch reference collection

13th January 2014

Sago starch grains under cross-polarised light (published in Australian Archaeology 44:52).

Sago starch grains under cross-polarised light (published in Australian Archaeology 44:52).

Michael Therin, Robin Torrence and Richard Fullagar

Introduction*

One of the major limitations on research into plant management systems in Oceania has been the lack of appropriate methods for recovering macroscopic remains in these settings with high rainfall and acid soils. Starch grains have been recognised in archaeological sediments and as residue on the surface of stone tools (Loy 1994; Therin 1994; Therin et al. in press). Accurate identification of these grains would enable a much greater understanding of subsistence systems in Oceania. Previous species identification of starch from the surface of stone tools has been undertaken using very small reference collections, often containing less than 20 individual species (Barton and White 1993; Loy 1994; Loy et al. 1992). The limited range of these reference collections raises questions about the accuracy of the species identification.

*Note that an abstract was not included with this paper, and so the introductory paragraph has been included here instead of the abstract.

Therin, M., R. Torrence and R. Fullagar
Australian Museum starch reference collection
June 1997
44
52–53
Short Report
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