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The History of phytolith researchers in Australia
Phytolith and starch research in the Australian-Pacific-Asian regions : the state of the art (1 - 3 August 2001 : Canberra)
Hart, Diane and Wallis, Lynley. Phytolith and starch research in the Australian-Pacific-Asian regions : the state of the art : papers from a conference held at the ANU, August 2001, Canberra, Australia, p.1-17
This paper traces the history of Australian phytolith researchers and their contributions to our understanding of silica in plants and sediments. From initial false starts in the mid-1900s, researchers gradually developed a better understanding of phytoliths and began applying their study to assist in unravelling the geology, archaeology; pedology and botany of Australia and nearby regions. The modern era of Australian phytolith research began during the 1980s, with an upsurge of interest in their archaeological and pedological applications. Through the 1990s the discipline established a strong grounding, leading to the first local meeting of interested researchers in 1998 at a workshop at Macquarie University. With an ever-increasing number of universities adding elements of phytolith studies to their offerings to undergraduate students, and the high quality of research being conducted (as demonstrated in the papers presented in this volume), phytolith research in Australia can be considered to have 'come of age'.