Quick Reference


A method of extracting carbonized plant remains, shells, small bones, and insect remains from ancient soils and sediments. The process involves stirring the sediment into a large barrel of water so that the lighter material floats and can be scooped off or floated over a weir and into a fine‐meshed sieve. More sophisticated flotation machines have a water supply inside the barrel, thus forcing water upwards through the descending sediment, so helping to push light material to the surface. Various chemicals can be added to prepare the samples by breaking the sediments down or by creating froth in the flotation machine so that organic residues get trapped in air bubbles and are taken to the surface more easily.

Subjects: Archaeology.

Reference entries