Dr. Neil Duncan directs the Paleoethnobotany and Environmental Archaeology Laboratory in the department of Anthropology at UCF. Research in the laboratory centers on understanding the interrelationships of peoples and plants in the past and the interrelationships of subsistence and landscape through time.

The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art technology for the analysis and interpretation of archaeological phytoliths, starch grains, and plant macro-remains including desiccated or water-logged plant tissues, seeds and charcoal. Sources of plant remains may come from archaeological excavations, sediment cores, soil samples, flotation, and artifact residues.

The geographical area of research is the Americas, with special emphasis on South America, including the Andean highlands and the lowland Neotropics. Dr. Duncan has experience working with materials from Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, the Caribbean, the US (southwest, plains, and southeast), and China.

The lab currently houses an extensive paleoethnobotanical comparative collection, including the Pearsall Collection of phytoliths, starch grains, seeds, charred and uncharred macro-remains, and wood from the lowland Neotropics, Andes, Caribbean, and North America, donated to the lab by Dr. Deborah Pearsall, professor emerita of the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Current research in the lab includes the examination of traditional approaches to a tropical agriculture in the Llanos de Mojos, Bolivia, a collaborative project with UCF researcher Dr. John Walker.  In addition, the laboratory is studying the prehistoric plant-people interrelationships in the archaeology of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a collaboration with Dr. Sarah Barber of UCF and Mr. Tom Penders of CCAFS.


Research Opportunities:

Students and researchers interested in working with Dr. Duncan are welcome to contact him directly. Dr. Duncan is accepting graduate students interested in paleoethnobotany.