Did you ever think that you could learn
something by throwing dirt into water??
Well, here's your big chance!
For this year's activity you are going to need several things:
O.K. First of all, pull those shirt sleeves up (this can get kind of messy)!
Now, put your hand in the bucket of water and start stirring it around
slowly in a circular motion with your hand and arm. (Don't splash it)
Next, as you are stirring, have someone else slowly shake a scoop of
dirt into the water.  Keep on stirring!!
Add another scoop of dirt and keep on stirring.
Add a third scoop and keep on stirring
If you can feel chunks of soil and dirt at the bottom of the bucket,
gently break them up with your fingers, try to keep all the soil swirling
in a circle in the bucket.
Now, take your hand out from the water, what do you see??
Write down on a piece of paper what you see.
Take the strainer and very gently scoop off the stuff
that is right on the top of the water.
Put these things on a piece of paper towel.
Look at them under the microscope.
What do you see?
Describe it or draw it.
I'll just wait here until you are done doing that...
Well, hopefully you noticed that the heavy things in the dirt,
like big rocks, fell to the bottom of the bucket but that the
lighter things floated to the top when the soil dissolved.
Under the microscope you probably saw many types of
twigs and seeds and little pieces of plants.


Congratulations, you just did floatation!!

Basically, this is what we do in the laboratory or in the field
to see what is in the soil or to find any little artifacts that we missed.
Some archaeologists figure out what type of seed or plant is
in the soil using the microscope. After doing this, they can tell us
what plants were growing at the time at the site or nearby it.
For instance, if you found lots of sunflower seeds in your bucket or
under the microscope, then you would be able to guess that the
soil was from an area that either had a sunflower planted there or
where birds dropped them or where somebody dropped a big bag
of them by accident.  Floatation can tell us lots of things!!
Good work, floatation takes a lot of time and patience but
good archaeological detectives realize how important it can be!
TAKE ME  TO 1997!