Archaeobotanical analysis

Archaeobotanical analysis at Olynthos focuses first, on the study of carbonized seeds retrieved from sediment by flotation, and second, on analysis of phytoliths.  Phytoliths are microscopic remains of some plant tissues that are made of silica.  These persist after the decay of the plant and are found either in the sediment or on the surfaces of objects like grindstones. Our archaeobotanical study aims to discover the diet, processing and storage practices of the household, to understand the spatial organization of those activities, and to reconstruct the taphonomic processes involved in the formation of individual deposits. Our sampling protocol ensures all potentially informative contexts are sampled. Certain contexts (e.g., large pits, hearths, or floors) are sampled more than once in discrete units to explore variability and enable us to build up a picture of different activities taking place across a single architecture space.

Processing soil samples through flotation is one way to collect archaeobotanical remains. The light fraction including carbonized seeds will be collected in the small sieve to the left.

Further reading:

Margaritis, E. 2014. “The Kapelio at Hellenistic Krania: Food Consumption, Disposal and the Use of Space,” Hesperia 83, 103-121.

Piperno, D. R. (2006). Phytoliths: a comprehensive guide for archaeologists and paleoecologists. Lanham, M.D., Altamira Press.

Rondelli, B., Lancelotti, C. Madella, M., Pecci, A., Balbo, A., Perez, J.R., Inserra, F., Gadekar, C., Cau Ontiveros, M.A. and Ajithprasad, P. (2014). “Anthropic Activity Markers and Spatial Variability: an ethnoarchaeological experiment in a domestic unit of northern Gujarat (India).” Journal of Archaeological Science 41: 482-492.