Organic residue

Organic residues are traces of the substances on the surface or absorbed within the matrix of pottery vessels. They provide insight into food storage, preparation and consumption. Sampling for organic residues focuses either on vessels appearing to be in use or storage contexts (which can provide information about the use of a particular space as well as the role of the vessel itself) or on vessels which appear to contain visible residues. As wide a range of vessel types as possible are sampled in order to recover information about a range of different forms and wares. A small number of soil samples are also being taken to determine whether sediments have retained organic molecules. Ultrasonication, derivatization, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry are used to process and analyze the samples. The results of the analyses will inform the interpretation of the use of different ceramic types.


Further reading:
Margomenou, D. and Roumpou, M. 2011. “Storage Technologies as Embedded Social Practices: Studying Pithos Storage in Prehistoric Northern Greece,” in A. Brysbaert (ed.) Tracing Social Networks through Studying Technologies. New York, 126-142.