Midwest Ethnohorticulture, LLC

Midwest Ethnohorticulture is a small, woman-owned business founded in 2007, dedicated to research related to: Ecology of Native American horticulture, Archaeological site ecology, and the use of phytoliths and humic acids in interpreting landscape and past plant communities and climate.

We work in the Midwest and Great Plains. Midwest Ethnohorticulture uses a multidisciplinary approach with collective backgrounds in Archaeology, Anthropology, Ecology, Environmental Science, Geography, Natural History and the arts.

Services provided:

Phytolith extraction and analysis from soils (click the link for more information)

• Humic acid analysis: Improves the interpretive quality of phytolith analysis results under some circumstances, also has agricultural applications

• Identification of grass species in textiles such as roof thatching, walls, pit linings

• Identification of maize leaf and cob phytoliths from features

• Phytolith and starch extraction from lithics

• Phytolith and starch extraction from ceramic residue

What can we do for you:

Phytolith analysis is well-suited for investigating climate and plant cover changes over time. It can provide additional information about visible differences between two soils, in a feature or in an earthwork. If food plants or crop plants are the target species for your research, there may yet be an interesting story in the rest of the phytolith assemblage. Choosing good samples is critical – please e-mail or call before sampling.

Humic acid analysis provides information about a different component of soil – the organic part. It is complimentary to phytolith analysis. It characterizes the conditions in which organic matter decomposed (aerobic vs. anaerobic, temperature, and pH). This analysis may helpful for storage features, earthworks, or for differentiating between soils or soil-sources.

Who do we work for: Individuals, State and Federal Agencies, Tribal agencies, Researchers, Cultural Resource Management.


Our approach to phytolith analysis is based in Ecology and Biogeography. Soil is a Cultural Resource, containing a great deal of information in its organic and inorganic components.