Residue was originally a concept of criminology and forensic science and is also widely applied in other fields including food science, agriculture and so on.
Archeological residue analysis involves the extraction and analysis of various samples remained on the surface of archaeological materials. Through the identification and interpretation of animal, plant species by means of biological, chemical, immunological, morphology observation and other modern methods, we can reconstruct the local flora and fauna distribution of resources and human’s selection and strategy of interacting with these resources. This method is of paramount significance to prehistoric archaeology. At that time there are no written records, relatively rare animal remains and large plant fossils. Therefore, it has become a huge challenge to interpret and reconstruct the human history of thousands and even millions of years ago from the somewhat primitive stone tools. Residue analysis provides a novel perspective to extract paleoecology, paleoenvironmental information and to comprehend the lifeways of ancient human. With the insights and methods from Quaternary geology, paleobotany, paleoecology, isotope analysis and immunology, and related discipline, residue analysis allows us to make a scientific interpretation of the subsistence, production and social structures of ancient humans.