A study of phytoliths produced by selected native plant taxa commonly used by Great Basin Native Americans


Phytoliths, Ethnobotany, Great Basin, Reference collections, Taxonomic morphotypes


Reference collections of phytoliths from plant taxa commonly used by the ancient inhabitants of an archaeological site are critical to researchers conducting analyses on these microbotanical remains. Phytoliths recovered from the site are compared to those in reference collections to make inferences about which taxa were being used, as well as where, why and how. This study presents one of the frst reference collections of phytoliths from selected taxa likely to have been used by Native American peoples living in the Great Basin area. The results are presented as a list of taxa which we sampled, and that are known to have been used by these tribes, such as the Shoshone and Ute, with illustrations of the range of phytolith morphotypes produced by each taxon. Our hope is that this tool will prove to be a ready and valuable resource for any researchers conducting phytolith analysis at Great Basin Native American sites

Original Publication Citation

Pearce, M., and Ball, T.B. 2019. A Study of Phytoliths Produced by Selected Native Plant Taxa Commonly Used by Great Basin Native Americans. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany DOI: rg/10.1007/s00334-019-00738-1

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL



Vegetation History and Archaeobotany




Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor