1 DECEMBRIE 1918 UNIVERSITY OF ALBA IULIA
IULIU PAUL SYSTEMIC ARCHAEOLOGICAL INSTITUTE

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Palaeo-botany Laboratory

Palaeo-botanic is an archeology complex discipline that has as object the study of plants remains recovered from archeological sites as well as specific interdependences (interrelations) that were established across the historical ages between human populations and plants. The burnt domestic rest is the most common source of analyzable vegetal material from archeological excavations. In most cases, the carbonization takes place after a high temperature exposure resulted from the fire. This kind of baking (under a limited level of oxygen) transforms the organic components of plants into coal. When the coal is not affected by bacteria, fungi or other organisms that decompose the carbonized vegetal remains they survive. When preservation conditions are good many subfossil seeds look as recent ones. Therefore, they can be identified using a comparative collection.

Carbonized vegetal macro-remains are recovered from excavations by means of direct collecting or by technical separation. The discoveries of burnt grains, stored into containers or silos, containing almost pure cereals. As a rule, in order to recover the vegetal remains chaotically dispersed within the archeological deposits, we resort to macro-remains separation from soil samples, by means of flotation. Flotation is a technique that allows the recovery of all the botanic macro-remains categories. In order to obtain those recovering degrees by means of selection, small (0.5 mm or even smaller) strainer nets can be used. The results interpretation step is the most important, because we can find out if the respective plants were used as food, for medical purposes, for cloth manufacturing, for building a shelter, in ritual contexts, for decoration, but also for recomposing the environment. The qualitative component of the analysis represents the taxonomic identification of the family, the genus, the specie that the recovered rest of the plant belong to. The quantitative component represents the establishment of the percentage in which is present certain specie and the analysis of quantitative relation between them (% domestic-cultivated, % wild, % cereals, % oil-bearing plants, % leguminous plants etc.). Establishing the percentage relations (%), comparing this vegetal spectrum represents a synchronous perspective on the evolution of plants. Is recommendable to gather multiple samples within an archeological deposit, corresponding to the same period of time (from different closed contexts layer, pit, hearth area, special complexes etc.) in order to realize a botanical spectrum as complete as possible.

Endows

  • Flotation equipment for selecting the plant and seed remains with the help of water (external usage); strainer used for selection of 1.6mm, 0.8mm, 0.3mm;
  • Novex AP-8 Stereomicroscope.

In perspective

  • Endowing the laboratory with an interior floating device;
  • Buying a computer with a specialized soft for the determination of vegetal macro-remains, in order to make easier the work of identification;
  • Other equipments needed in the laboratory;
  • In scientific research field: the conceiving and realization of some projects in collaboration with profile institutes from Romania and from abroad for Establishing the impact of climate changes on vegetation during Quaternary in Middle Mureş Valley.

Services

  • Collecting and processing the samples recovered from archeological contexts;
  • The determination of carbonized vegetal macro-remains;
  • Tracing the evolution process of plant cultivation.

Staff

Scientific Researcher dr. Ciută Beatrice

Cerealia Triticum CornusMas Prunus Limba Instalatie flotatie

Phone: +40-258-817071; Fax: +40-258-818459
Address: Alba Iulia, str. Mihai Viteazul, nr. 12, 510010, ROMÂNIA

General information: arhsis@uab.ro