Archaeological Charcoal Analysis in New Zealand
Keywords:charcoal identification, floral remains, fire history, New Zealand archaeological hearths
Charcoal is well preserved and abundant in many New Zealand archaeological sites. When identified to species it provides a means of reconstructing past vegetation communities adjacent to occupation sites. However, the way charcoal deposits accumulated needs to be considered before species identifications are converted into vegetation reconstructions. Here a number of examples from New Zealand archaeological sites illustrate how charcoal identification when combined with a consideration of the contexts from which samples are derived allow inferences to be made about human interaction with the fire histories of past vegetation communities.