Only three days left to go until Archaeology for You on Saturday the 12th July at the Powell-Cotton Museum. One of our activities on Saturday will be ‘Give it a Swirl’ where you can find out how archaeologists find out about evidence for ancient environments and diets from soil samples taken at dig sites.
Today’s picture is of some charred grain, seeds, charcoal and tiny shells that were found in a soil sample taken from a Medieval ditch near Manston.
The process we use to retrieve this evidence is called flotation. This is where soil samples are swirled in water in a tank over a fine mesh. The light artefacts such as charred seeds and grain, charcoal and small bones float to the top and are retrieved for identification by pouring the water off through a fine seive. Heavy artefacts such as the odd stone, piece of pot or larger bone sink and are retained by the fine mesh and the soil particles sink right to the bottom of the tank.
We will be using a simplified version of this process on Saturday using buckets and plenty of water, so come along, get your hands dirty and Give it a Swirl!