This year at Marj Rabba we are very lucky to have an archaeobotanist (someone who studies seeds and other plant remains from archaeological sites in order to
understand the relationships between plants and people in past cultures) working with us (Dr. PG is also acting as an area supervisor, no down time for him). A recent graduate of the Old World Prehistory program at UCONN (http://www.anth.uconn.edu/faculty/munro/graduateprogramOWA.htm), Dr. PG is taking the project to new heights with insights into the plant remains at MR. After some trips to Sahknin, some photos, some pantomime, and some luck, we now have a state of the art flotation system.
Flotation in action
We hope to take soil samples from each of our discrete loci and then float the samples, collecting the heavy and light fractions (the stuff we skim off of the top and the stuff that sinks to the bottom) for analysis. Dr. PG brought his handy-dandy traveling microscope and he'll be looking through the flot (seeds etc... that rise to the top and get caught in the cheesecloth) for evidence of what was growing in the region, what was domesticated, what was wild, perhaps helping us interpret the various areas and structures at the site.
Dr. PG sets up the flotation machine
Last week Dr. PG gave us a hands on tutorial where everyone played with dirt and water.
Dr. PG with the flot in cheesecloth
Thanks very much to Dr. PG for bringing more science into our lives!