Dolores Piperno

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Dolores Piperno is an American archaeologist specializing in archaeobotany. She is a senior scientist emeritus of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Balboa, Panama and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington.[1]


Piperno began her work career as a medical technician, and used her training and experience in this field when she moved into archaeology. Her education includes a B.S. in Medical Technology (Rutgers University, 1971), an M.A. in Anthropology (Temple University, 1979), and a Anthropology (Temple University, 1983).


Her research interests include the study of phytoliths, starch grains, and pollen at archaeological sites near the beginning of the domestication of various crops such as cucurbits, maize (corn), and peanuts. Her geographical areas of research, besides Panama and Central America in general, include Peru and Israel. She has developed some of the procedures commonly used in phytolith studies in archaeology and is one of the pioneers in the archaeological study of starch grains, and has built up a reference collection of over 400 species.

Honours and Awards[edit]

In 2009 Piperno received the Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology from the Archaeological Institute of America.[2] In 2005 Piperno was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.[3] In 2011 Piperno received the National Museum of Natural History Science Achievement Award.

Selected publications[edit]

  • Piperno DR, Ranere AJ, Holst I, Hansell P (October 2000). "Starch grains reveal early root crop horticulture in the Panamanian tropical forest". Nature. 407 (6806): 894–7. doi:10.1038/35038055. PMID 11057665.
  • Piperno DR, Pearsall DM (1998). The Origins of Agriculture in the Lowland Neotropics. Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-557180-7.
  • Piperno DR (1988). Phytolith Analysis: An Archaeological and Geological Perspective. Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-557175-3.


  1. ^ Gonzalez JH (2017-02-10). "Dolores Piperno". Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  2. ^ "Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology - Archaeological Institute of America". Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  3. ^ Davis TH (July 2007). "Profile of Dolores R. Piperno". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 104 (29): 11871–3. doi:10.1073/pnas.0704904104. PMC 1924548. PMID 17626180.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]