Plants from the Past is a fascinating, comprehensive record of the work of two dedicated plant scientists who were instrumental in the establishment of archaeobotany and paleoethnobotany as vigorous subdisciplines within American archaeology. Hugh Carson Cutler and Leonard Watson Blake worked together for many decades at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, identifying and interpreting plant remains from archaeological sites all over North America. Covering a period of 30 years and tracing the development of the study of plant remains from archaeological sites, the volume will give archaeologists access to previously unavailable data and interpretations. It features the muchsought-after extensive inventory ""Plants from Archaeological Sites East of the Rockies,"" which serves as a reference to archaeobotanical collections curated at the Illinois State Museum. The chapters dealing with protohistory and early historic foodways and trade in the upper Midwest are especially relevant at this time of increasing attention to early Indian-white interactions. The editors' introduction provides coherence and historical context for the papers and points to the book's potential as a resource for future research. Graced by Dr. Blake's brief introductions to each chapter, Plants from the Past neatly compiles the earliest research in archaeobotany by two originators of the science.
Leonard W. Blake was an investment securities analyst until his retirement in 1965. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Washington University in 1985 and received the prestigious Crabtree Award of the Society for American Archaeology in 1987. Hugh C. Cutler (deceased) earned a master's degree in botany from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1936. He was employed at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis for 25 years. Gayle J. Fritz is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Washington University and Patty Jo Watson is Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Washington University.