Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2022

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Carbonized macrobotanical remains of the Chenopodium album aggregate (Amaranthaceae) are highly ubiquitous at archaeological sites. These chenopods are early successional plants and ruderals, which grow well in disturbed ecosystems, including those that they co-habit and co-create with humans. Often distinguished from known agricultural crops (e.g., rice, millet) as a weed, chenopods have received less attention in early food culture studies, despite their ethnohistory as a grain crop, vegetable, and famine food. Their seed remains in northern China exhibit regionally variable morphological attributes, different from those seen in chenopod cultivars of the Americas. Their morphological variability may be a result of variable interactions with associated ecosystems and human-animal activities, suggesting multiple pathways of human-chenopod engagements. Findings in this dissertation highlight the significance of studying forms of plant management and care that do not necessarily produce a domesticated counterpart to wild ones. Weedy, unruly plants defy such confining binaries, bringing attention to the myriad of peoples and plants who have been relegated to the negative spaces of dreams about human progress and control.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Xinyi Liu

Committee Members

Michael D. Frachetti


Update embargo

Available for download on Saturday, April 13, 2024