Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Dolores Piperno

Senior Scientist Emerita
Department / Division
Education
Research Interests

The archaeobotany, archaeology, and human ecology of the lowland American tropics together with the biogeographical and climatological history of the tropical biome.  A main focus of my career is the origins of agriculture through investigations of phytoliths, starch grains and pollen at archaeological sites in the Neotropics and elsewhere in the world. Another main focus is the impact and modern legacies of prehistoric human influences on Neotropical forests.

Publications
Article

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Chapter
  • Piperno, Dolores R., Messner, T., and Holst, I. 2017. "Starch Grains." in In Where the Land Meets the Sea: Fourteen Millennia of Human Behavior at Huaca Prieta, Peru, edited by Dillehay, T. D., 683–688. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • Dillehay, T. D. and Piperno, Dolores R. 2013. "Domestication and the Formative in South America." in The Cambridge world prehistory, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 2012. "New Archaeobotanical Information on Early Cultivation and Plant domestication Involving Microplant Remains." in Biodiversity in Agriculture: Domestication, Evolution, & Sustainability, edited by Gepts, P., Famula, T. R., Bettinger, R. L., Brush, S. B., Damania, A. B., McGuire, P. E., and Qualset, C. O., 136–159. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. and Smith, Bruce D. 2012. "The Origins of Food Production in Mesoamerica." in The Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology, edited by Nichols, D. L. and Poole, C., 151–168. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 2011. "Prehistoric Human Occupation and Impacts on Tropical Forest Landscapes During the Late Pleistocene and Early/Middle Holocene." in Tropical Rainforest Responses to Climate and Human Influences, edited by Flenley, J. and Bush, M. B., 185–212. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 2011. "Northern Peruvian Early and Middle Preceramic Agriculture in Central and South American Context." in Early Foragers and Food Producers in the Andes, edited by Dillehey, T. D., 275–284. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 2007. "Fitolitos y carbón; evidencia de agricultura de roza y quema prehistórica en el bosque húmedo tropical de Darién en Panamá." in Ecología y evolución en los trópicos, edited by Leigh, Egbert Giles, Jr., Herre, Edward Allen, Jackson, Jeremy B. C., and Santos-Granero, Fernando., 601–607. Panama: Editora Nova Art.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 2007. "Fitolitos y carbón microscópico del trayecto 155: historia de vegetación y fuego en la cuenca amazónica durante los últimos 75,000 años." in Ecología y evolución en los trópicos, edited by Leigh, Egbert Giles, Jr., Herre, Edward Allen, Jackson, Jeremy B. C., and Santos-Granero, Fernando., 337–348. Panama: Editora Nova Art.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 2007. "Prehistoric Human Occupation and Impacts on Neotropical Forest Landscapes During the Late Pleistocene and Early/Middle Holocene." in Tropical Rainforest Responses to Climate Change, edited by Flenley, John R. and Bush, Mark B., 193–218. Springer/Praxis.
  • Piperno, Dolores R., Ranere, Anthony J., Holst, Irene, and Hansell, Patricia. 2007. "Granos de almidón revelan una agricultura primitiva de raíces en un bosque húmedo tropical de Panamá." in Ecología y evolución en los trópicos, edited by Leigh, Egbert Giles, Jr., Herre, Edward Allen, Jackson, Jeremy B. C., and Santos-Granero, Fernando., 594–600. Panama: Editora Nova Art.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 2006. "A behavioral ecological approach to the origins of plant cultivation and domestication in the seasonal tropical forests of the New World." in Foraging Theory and the Transition to Agriculture, edited by Kennett, Douglas and Winterhalder, Bruce., 137–166. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 2006. "Identifying Manioc (Manihot esculenta Crantz) and Other Crops in Pre-Columbian Tropical America Through Starch Grain Analysis:A Case Study from Central Panamá." in Documenting Domestication: New Genetic and Archaeological Paradigms, edited by Zeder, Melinda A., Bradley, Dan, Emschwiller, Eve, and Smith, Bruce D., 46–67. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 2006. "The Origins of Plant Cultivation and Domestication in the Neotropics: A Behavioral Ecological Perspective." in Foraging Theory and the Transition to Agriculture, edited by Douglas, Kennett and Bruce, Winterhalder., 137–166. University of California Press.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 2004. "Crop Domestication in the American Tropics: Phytolith Analyses." in Encyclopedia of Plant & Crop Science, edited by Goodman, Robert., 326. Dekker, Inc.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. and Holst, Irene. 2004. "Crop Domestication in the American Tropics: Starch Grain Analyses." in Encyclopedia of Plant & Crop Science, edited by Goodman, Robert., 330. Dekker, Inc.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 2001. "Phytoliths." in Tracking Environmental Change Using Lake Sediments, edited by Smol, J. P., Birks, H. J. B., and Last, W. M., 235. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. and Blake, Michael. 1999. "The Origins and Development of Food Production in Pacific Panamá." in Pacific Latin America in Prehistory : the Evolution of Archaic and Formative Cultures, edited by Bkale, Michael., 123. WSU Press.
  • Cooke, Richard G. and Piperno, Dolores R. 1997. "Le peuplement de l'Amerique Centrale et de l"amerique du Sud et les adaptationsaux forests tropicales avant la colonisation europeene." in Les ressources alimentaires: Production et Consommation, edited by Hladik, Claude Marcela, Hladik, Annette, Pagezy, Helene, Linares, Olga F., Kopper, Georgius J. A., and Froment, Alain., 77–96. L'Alimentaton en Foret Tropicale.Interactions bioculturelles er perspectives de developpement.. Paris: UNESCO.
  • Cooke, Richard G., Norr, Lynette, and Piperno, Dolores R. 1996. "Native Americans and the Panamanian landscape." in Case Studies in Environmental Archaeology, edited by Reitz, E. J., Newsom, L. A., and Scudder, S. J., 103–126. New York: Plenum Press.
  • Cooke, Richard G. and Piperno, Dolores R. 1996. "Le Peuplement de LAmérique Centrale et de LAmérique du Sud et les Adaptations: Aux Forêt Tropicales Avant la Colonisation Européenne." in L'Alimentation en Forêt Tropicale: Interactions Bioculturelles et Perspectives de Développement, edited by Hladik, Claude Marcela, Hladik, Annette, Pagezy, H., Linares, Olga F., Koppert, G. J. A., and Froment, A., 77–96. Paris: UNESCO.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 1995. "Plant Microfossils and their Application in the New World Tropics." in Archaeology in the Lowland American Tropics, edited by Stahl, Peter W., 130–153. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 1994. "Phytolith records from the Proyecto Prehistorico Arenal." in Archaeology, volcanism, and remote sensing in the Arenal region, Costa Rica., edited by Sheets, Payson D. and McKee, Brian R., 286–292. Austin, TX, United States: University of Texas Press.
  • Cooke, Richard G. and Piperno, Dolores R. 1993. "Native American Adaptations to the Tropical Forests of Central and South America, Before the European Colonization." in Tropical Forests, People and Food, edited by Hladik, Claude Marcela, Hladik, Annette, Linares, Olga F., Pagezy, H., Semple, A., and Hadley, M., 25–36. Paris: The Partenon Publishing Group.
  • Jones, John G. 1993. "Analysis of Pollen and Phytoliths in Residue from a Colonial Period Ceramic Vessel." in Current Research in Phytolith Analysis:, edited by Pearsall, Deborath M. and Piperno, Dolores R., 31–36. Philadelphia: MASCA Research Papers in Science and Archaeology.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 1993. "Phytolith and Charcoal Records from Deep Lake Cores in the American Tropics." in Current Research in Phytolith Analysis:, edited by Pearsal, Deborah M. and Piperno, Dolores R., 59–71. Research Papers in Science and Archaeology. Philadelphia: MASCA.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 1993. "Phytolith and Charcoal Records from Deep Lake Cores in the American Tropics." in Current Research in Phytolith Analysis:, edited by Pearsal, Deborah M. and Piperno, Dolores R., 59–71. Research Papers in Science and Archaeology. Philadelphia: MASCA.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. and Pearsall, Deborah M. 1993. "The Nature and Status of Phytolith Analysis." in Current Research in Phytolith Analysis, edited by Pearsall, Deborah M. and Piperno, Dolores R., 9–18. Research Papers in Science and Archaeology. Philadelphia: MASCA.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. and Pearsall, Deborah M. 1993. "The Nature and Status of Phytolith Analysis." in Current Research in Phytolith Analysis, edited by Pearsall, Deborah M. and Piperno, Dolores R., 9–18. Research Papers in Science and Archaeology. Philadelphia: MASCA.
  • Piperno, Dolores R., Bush, Mark B., and Colinvaux, Paul A. 1992. "Patterns of articulation of Culture and the Plant World in Prehistoric Panama 11,500-BP-3000 BP." in Archaeology and Environment in Latin America, edited by Ortiz-Troncoso, Omar and van Der Hammen, thomas., 109–127. Amsterdam: Institut Voor Pre-En Protohistorische Archeologie Albert Egges Van Giffen (IPP).
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 1990. "Fitolitos, Arqueología y Cambios Prehistóricos de la Vegetación en un Lote de Cincuenta Hectáreas de la Isla de Barro Colorado." in Ecología de un bosque tropical: ciclos estacionales y cambios a largo plazo, edited by Rand, Austin Stanley, Windsor, Donald M., and Leigh, Egbert Giles, Jr., 153–156. Balboa, Republic of Panama: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 1989. "Non-Affluent Foragers: Resource Availability, Seasonal Shortages and the Emergence of Agriculture in Panamanian Forests." in Foraging and Farming: The Evolution of Plant Exploitation, edited by Harris, David J. and Hillman, G., 538–554. London: Unwin-Hyman.
  • Cooke, Richard G., Piperno, Dolores R., Ranere, Anthony J., Clary, Karen Husum, Hansell, Patricia, Olson, Storrs L., Wilson, Valerio L., and Weiland, Doris. 1985. "La influencia de las poblaciones humanas sobre los ambientes terrestres de Panamá entre el 10,000 A.C. y el 500 D.C." in Agonía de la Naturaleza Ensayos sobre el costo ambiental del desarrollo Panameño, edited by Heckadon-Moreno, Stanley and Espinosa González, Jaime., 3–25. Panamá: Instituto de Investigación Agropecuaria de Panamá and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. and Clary, Karen Musum. 1984. "Early plant use and cultivation in the Santa Maria Basin, Panama: Data from phytoliths and pollen." in Recent Developments in Isthmian Archaeology: Advances in the Prehistory of Lower Central America, edited by Lange, Frederick W., 85–122. BAR International Series. Oxford, England: B.A.R.

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Book
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 2006. Phytoliths: a Comprehensive Guide for Archaeologists and Paleoecologists. Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. and Pearsal, Deborah M. 1998. Origins of Agriculture in the Lowland Neotropics. Academic Press.
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 1988. Phytolith Analysis An Archaeological and Geological Perspective. San Diego: Academic Press.
Thesis
  • Piperno, Dolores R. 1983. "The Application of Phytolith Analisys to the Reconstruction of Plant Subsistence and Environments in Prehistoric Panamá(Ph.D. Dissertation)." Temple University.