Phytoliths analysis was applied to identify the fuel compound used at the steam-powered sugar mill of El Progreso plantation during the late nineteenth century. The microfossil record shows that the fuel compound used was a combination of native wood taxa and introduced grasses to San Cristóbal Island in the 1870s. The rapid extraction protocol was applied and appears as an alternative for phytoliths extraction in remote places where equipment and resources are limited. This paper suggests that phytoliths analysis is a suitable proxy to identify diagnostic morphotypes in rich-ash samples from archaeological sites.
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