Archaeobotanical studies have been carried out by the team of the Laboratory of Palynology and Palaeobotany of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia since 1990. Main target of the research is to make an inventory of microscopical and macroscopical botanical records present in the studied contexts with the aim of improving:

  • the knowledge of flora and vegetation which lived, especially in the Holocene, in Central Sahara to reconstruct the plant landscape of the area and global climatic oscillations;
  • the comprehension of the cultural landscape, and of the complex relationships between humans and environment.

The archaeobotanical research has been traditionally concentrated on the Holocene chronological phases and on anthropogenic deposits from rockshelters and caves, firstly occupied by hunter-gatherers and then by pastoral groups. However, studies on Garamantian and post-Garamantian materials are currently in progress.

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Mercuri, A. M. 2008. Human influence, plant landscape evolution and climate inferences from the archaeobotanical records of the Wadi Teshuinat area (Libyan Sahara). Journal of Arid Environments 72: 1950-1967.

Mercuri, A. M. 2008. Plant exploitation and ethnopalynological evidence from the Wadi Teshuinat area (Tadrart Acacus, Libyan Sahara). Journal ofArchaeological Science 35:1619-1642.

Mercuri, A. M., L. Sadori, and P. Uzquiamo Ollero. 2011. Mediterranean and north-African cultural adaptations to mid-Holocene environmental and climatic changes. The Holocene 21: 189-206.

Olmi, L., A. M. Mercuri, M. T. P. Gilbert, S. Biagetti, S. Fordyce, E. Cappellini, I. Massamba N’siala, and S. di Lernia. 2011. "Morphological and geneticanalyses of early-mid Holocene wild cereals from the Takarkori rockshelter (central Sahara, Libya): first results and prospects," in Windows on the African Past: Contemporary Approaches to African Archaeobotany, Reports in African Archaeology. Edited by A. G. Fahmy, S. Kahlheber, and A. C. D’Andrea, pp. 175-184. Frankfurt Africa Magna Verlag.