Director: Kristen J. Gremillion
This laboratory is designed for the analysis and curation of archaeological plant remains. It is equipped with binocular microscopes for low-magnification observation of macroremains (seeds and fruits, stem tissues, leaves, and other structures that can be taxonomically identified using gross morphology). There is also a compound microscope for observation of microanatomical features. The lab houses a comparative collection of seeds and wood charcoal from eastern North America as well as a set of print manuals and identification guides. A series of geological sieves is available for preliminary size-sorting of processed samples. Two sinks have sediment traps for flotation and wet-screening of small samples (our West Campus laboratory houses a flotation tank). In addition to these facilities, the Near Eastern Archaeology and Archaeobotany Laboratory houses a fume hood and equipment suitable for processing of plant microremains.
Current and ongoing projects:
- Hopewell agroecology (Andrew Weiland)
- Identification and processing of sunflower and marshelder remains for ancient DNA analysis (collaborative project with University of Virginia and others)
- Analysis of wood charcoal to assess paleoenvironments of eastern Kentucky and anthropogenic impacts across the transition to food production
- Analysis of plant remains from several early colonial-era sites in New Orleans (in collaboration with Shannon Dawdy, University of Chicago)
Graduate students receive training in basic analysis, sampling, identification, and quantification skills for plant macroremains. The laboratory is a temporary repository for plant materials collected from dry rockshelters in eastern Kentucky, including collections of seeds used to document early food production. Students may choose to seek out their own fieldwork and analysis opportunities, collaborate with other faculty archaeologists, or develop projects based on curated materials and data from eastern Kentucky.