Collection of Plant Remains from Archaeological Contexts

  • Alessandra CelantEmail author
  • Donatella Magri
  • Francesca Romana Stasolla


Plant remains from archaeological contexts constitute a variety of materials providing indications on human activity and past environments. They may be found in different archaeological structures and may be preserved in different ways (waterlogged, dried, charred, and mineralized plant remains, and plant impressions) depending on the chemical composition of the tissues and the processes of post-depositional modification. The first step for any collection of plant remains is a preliminary survey of the archaeological site, to establish the best sampling strategy and to plan times and modes of collection. Different collection techniques may be applied depending on the type of plant remains. Macrofossils interspersed in sediment are extracted using flotation or sieving (wet or dry) procedures, or a combination of methods. Fine sediments containing microfossils may be collected from resins, encrustations, material from mummies, and various types of artifacts, or from exposed stratigraphical profiles, or may be drilled from lakes and ponds in the vicinity of the archaeological site. In any case, particular attention must be paid to avoid breakage, and contamination with modern material and with plant remains from adjacent sediment layers.


Archaeobotany Archaeology Plant microfossils Plant macrofossils Sampling 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandra Celant
    • 1
    Email author
  • Donatella Magri
    • 1
  • Francesca Romana Stasolla
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Environmental BiologySapienza UniversityRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of HumanitiesSapienza UniversityPiazzale Aldo Moro 5Italy

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