Thursday, July 19, 2012

Flotation :)

Over the past six weeks each one of us has partaken in numerous different jobs and tasks to do with the project, whether it be shoveling, sweeping, pick-axing, huddling together to form shade for photo-takers, helping with conservation, data entry, pottery washing, taking flotation samples or bone identification, we have all tried something new. Not only have we all immersed ourselves in various activities, we have also met numerous new people in all areas of expertise that play a part in the findings and excavation of this site. One activity I learned about and was taught how to do this year was flotation. The excavation's paleobotanist Evi came and explained to us the importance of flotation and the collection of light and heavy residue. When doing a flotation sample usually you start with approximately 10 liters of soil that was ultimately taken form an area in the trench that could potentially provide further insight into the living conditions and habits of the people being studied. We poured the soil into the flotation "contraption" and as the soil disintegrates, what you are left with  is the light residue-- which contains the substances in the soil that float to the surface (like charcoal), and the heavy residue-- like small rocks and pebbles as well as heavier pieces of charcoal. From these two residues we are able to look at what types of seeds were being cooked and consumed (from the charcoal) as well as any other material including small faunal remains, like fish and bird, that were otherwise not detected without flotation :)

No comments:

Post a Comment