MicroArchaeology

Microartifacts refer to small artifacts and fragments less than 1 cm2 in size that become embedded within floors and occupational surfaces (Özbal 2000; 2004a, 2004b; 2006). Microartifacts are found by sorting the heavy fractions (i.e. the part that does not float) of wet-sieved soil samples. The relative fraction sizes of microartifacts in architectural spaces such as public courtyards, hallways, more private rooms, etc. directly represent the degree of daily maintenance/cleaning and may provide evidence for lithic and shell working, and for burning. Microartifacts also provide a means of recovering the micro-fauna. This refers to small fragments of fish, bird bone and eggshell that are often not collected in macro faunal analyses. Microartifacts samples must be collected from intact rooms, floors and streets and compared with offsite samples.

 

Procedure: Samples are initially wet-sieved using a 1.00 mm mesh and then allowed to dry. After having been placed through a series of four sieves (6mm, 4mm, 2mm and 1mm) the microartifacts were identified using  x10 magnification and sorted into their respective categories (i.e. ceramics, bone, burnt bone, lithics, shell, eggshell and other items including beads, charcoal and grinding stone fragments. Categories such as ceramics are further divided by ware types. If the fauna can be identified to the taxon level, which is possible in the case of fish and bird bones, these were kept apart, while for lithics, identifications involves not only designations of raw materials and their respective colors but also by type as flake, blade, chip or chunk or fragments thereof. Similarly, the evidence for burning is identified on the fragments of microbone. Each artifact is measured thereafter using a 1-15 mm scale. Groups of artifacts of the same size are weighed and all values are recorded. After the data are distilled using statistical analyses they are plotted across the settlement plan using a GIS program.

 

                                    Micro Archaeology at Tell Kurdu

References:

ÖZBAL, R.,  Microartifact Analysis at Tell Kurdu 1999, ed: Yener et al., Excavations at Tell Kurdu, Anatolica, 26, 49-55, (1999).

ÖZBAL, R., Tell Kurdu'da Mikroarkeolojik Çalışmalar. 19. Arkeometri Sonuçları Toplantısı, Ankara, (2004a) Pp: 85-92.

ÖZBAL, R., Microartifact Analysis, eds:, Özbal, R.  ve Gerritsen, F., et al., Tell Kurdu Excavations 2001, Anatolica

30,62-64, (2004b).