Introduction Archaeological data provide valuable information about the uses of plants in the past. This information comes from a number of sources, including fossil plant and human remains, as well as tools and implements. Oral histories, folk tales, and prehistoric art often provide additional clues. This range of data reflects the diversity of expertise required to analyze it. In this unit, we already have examined a number of psychoactive plant preparations from the Americas.
Now we will look at examples from Europe, and their historical use. We also will examine the ways that archaeological data is collected. Instructions The written assignment has two parts:
Part A: Short Answer
Part B: Essay Resources Review the following article: Merlin, M. D. (2003). Archaeological evidence for the tradition of psychoactive plant use in the old world. Economic Botany 57 (3), 295–323. doi: 10.1663/0013-0001(2003)057[0295:AEFTTO]2.0.CO;2
Part A: Short Answer Answer the following four questions that relate to Merlin’s paper and the textbook readings for this unit. Use full sentences and short paragraphs as appropriate. Each question is worth
In your own words, define the following two areas of study: archaeology and paleoethnobotany. How do these areas relate to each other? How does paleoethnobotany differ from paleobotany? Merlin’s paper discusses two types of data: artifactual and paleoethnobotanical. Give specific examples of each and describe the sources of data and the type of information you can gain. Why were/are psychoactive plants used in religion and medicine? Give examples of other uses of psychoactive plants in addition to their psychoactive effects.
Part B: Essay Merlin’s (2003) hypothesis is that “humans have a very ancient tradition involving the use of mind-altering experiences to produce profound, more or less spiritual and cultural understanding” (p. 295). In an essay of use one plant presented in this article to argue for or against this hypothesis. To defend your argument, make sure you correctly identify what the archaeological data indicates about past uses of the plant. You may want to do research using TRU Library to find evidence that contradicts that which is presented in your paper. You also will need to provide the following background information: The common and scientific names, as well as the family, to which the plant belongs Its geographic origins, current distribution, and current uses The chemical nature of the psychoactive principle, and its physiological effects Be sure that you present the concepts in your own words, and that you include current information. You should follow APA or CSE format for preparing your essay and citing sources. For guidance on conducting research and writing research papers, consult the “Helpful Hints” tab. If you have questions about the assignment, consult your Open Learning Faculty Member. Grading Criteria for
Part B: Essay Following are the grading criteria that will be used to evaluate your essay. Substance Criteria Weighting The introduction offers a sense of direction for the paper and presents a clear thesis statement to the reader. /5 The research paper provides evidence of critical thinking and analysis, as well as synthesis of researched information throughout, and presents a logical and persuasive argument. /10 The body develops the necessary aspects of the main idea and provides examples, support, or illustration for each aspect of the main idea. /10 The conclusion summarizes the main points and ties them to the thesis; it also presents an impact statement and/or suggests direction for future research.
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