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Title: Plant Remains
Contributor(s): Beck, Wendy Elizabeth  (author)
Publication Date: 2006
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Abstract: Introduction: A Scene -'We are standing at the mouth of a sandstone rockshelter in the mountains of central New South Wales in Australia, having just climbed up from the creek below. The floor of the rockshelter is sunny and warm at this time of day. I turn to my archaeologist colleague: “I think this floor is gray because it containsorganic material.” He nods and peers at the sandy floor, which has a little mound at the side of the shelter: “There is a fossick hole here, I can see some kangaroo bone.” We kneel down to look more closely, and sticking out of the surface we can see some knotted fibers and large seeds on the surface of the mounded deposit. “Are these plant remains? What are these seeds?” he asks. Because of my prior knowledge I recognized them as Macrozamia by their shapeand size and the tiny holes in the ends. He says, “They are unusually well preserved, but I guess they are just on the surface and have blown in here, so there isn’t much use in looking further. It would be too hard to use flotation anyway, as the creek is dry at the moment, and they wouldn’t tell us anything much about the microlith industry around here anyway.”'This scene illustrates the three main issues for the archaeological analysis of plant remains. The first of these issues is the question of what plant remains can contribute to archaeology as a whole; the second is the problems associated with the identification and origin of plant remains; and the third is the available methods that can be effectively used to retrieve and analyze plant remains. I will return to the scene in a case study showing how we addressed the issues at this rockshelter but, first, a general introduction to the issues is needed.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Archaeology in Practice: A Student Guide to Archaeological Analyses, p. 296-315
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Place of Publication: Malden USA; Oxford, UK; Carlton, AUST
ISBN: 9781405148863
Field of Research (FOR): 200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
Other Links:,M1
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