Wednesday, June 15, 2011

BIN11: Day Seven

Down on numbers a little today, as six of out students were back in Durham doing an introductory session on Environmental Archaeology alongside some members of the Durham Arch & Arch. Environmental archaeology is a key element of the project, particularly as we are beginning to encounter some good dark deposits, which look like they might have good organic preservation (let's not forget our plumstones from the big pit!). This year, for the first time, we are doing some environmental processing on site; our environmental archaeologist Carrie Drew is supervising our students doing some flotation of some of the samples we've taken.

This involves washing the samples in running water, the heavier silt sinks to the bottom, whilst the lighter organic remains (such as charcoal, grain and seeds) floats to the top and can be skimmed off and kept for later analysis. Our flotation kit is a clever set up which allows us to recycle the water we use and has an impressive range of silt traps (aka dustbins!). Work is going well on this front and we're certainly recovering some interesting material.

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