Features Podcast

ArcheoBotany and the Secrets of Plants

Have you ever heard of archeobotany? It’s the study of ancient plants! Alice Wolff tells Lucie Laumonier about her research, which takes her from the fields to the lab. Alice studies ancient grain and chards to find out about agricultural practices and the impact of climate change on agriculture in early medieval England.

Alice Wolff is a PhD candidate in medieval studies at Cornell University. You can read more about the research in the article she co-wrote, “In the Ruins: The Neglected Link between Archaeology and Weed Science,” published in Weed Science. You can follow Alice on Twitter @AliceWolff15


Alice’s recommended readings:

Mabey, R., 2010. Weeds: How vagabond plants gatecrashed civilisation and changed the way we think about nature. Profile Books.

Thomas, H., Archer, J.E., Turley, R.M., 2016. “Remembering Darnel, a Forgotten Plant of Literary, Religious, and Evolutionary Significance,” Journal of Ethnobiology 36, 29–44.


Zadoks, J.C., 2013. Crop Protection in Medieval Agriculture: Studies in pre-modern organic agriculture. Sidestone Press.

See also: We all eat white bread because of 7th-century missionaries to England

The Medieval Grad Podcast is hosted by Lucie Laumonier. Lucie is an affiliate assistant professor at Concordia University. Click here to view her page or follow her on Instagram at The French Medievalist. She is also a columnist on, writing about agriculture and rural life in the Middle Ages.

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The music in this podcast is La douce jouvencelle

Top Image: Bamburgh Castle – photo by MiloDenn / Wikimedia Commons