1997 TOP SECRET TRICK PAGE
The good archaeological detective very
quickly learns to identify and
recover most of the finds from the area
of the site he or she is digging.
But even the most sharp-eyed archaeologist
is likely to miss a few things.
This is why it is useful to screen and
excavated soil to check for more things.
The simplest method of screening is carried
out in a
hand sieve like the one shown below:
The screen can recover things that are
missed due to temporary loss of
concentration or things that are too small
to be noticed while digging like
beads, seeds and tiny bones.
When water is available on the site, like
at DhRl 16, the process can
be improved. There are several ways
to do this:
One way is that the screen can be immersed
slightly in water and gently
shaken. When you do this the soil dissolves
and falls through, leaving behind
any objects. The objects left behind
are now easy to see among the remaining
rocks because they have been washed clean!
Another way to do the same thing is to
gently shower water over the screen with
a hose. This makes the soil fall
through and washes the objects clean, same as above.
The most advanced way of doing this is
called floatation. Floatation is often used
to collect tiny seeds and plant remains
from the soil. Manual floatation is done
by using a set of screens that fit together:
You put the soil on the top, gently spray
water over the top until all the soil
dissolves and falls through, then pull apart your screens and voila! all
the remaining seeds, plant remains and tiny bones are left behind!
Most floatation is done by hand like this
but there is machines that do it for you.
In fact, at DhRl 16, there was a floatation
machine near the site
that was used to collect plant remains.
Like all the other artifacts, anything
found during screening is carefully recorded,
labeled and conserved until it can be
studied in the laboratory.
Sometimes it is amazing
what you discover in your screens.
You feel like a real detective,
finding lost and hidden evidence!
Pretty neat, eh? If you
think this sounds like fun, be sure to
check out the floatation
page, you won't be disappointed!