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Welcome to Archaeological Recidue Analysis Lab
  • 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.
  • Starch is a polymeric carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose unitsjoined by glycosidic bonds.
    Formation of starch grains is under genetic control, and distinctive grain shape, location and shape of the hilum region, and other traits produce diagnostic granules in many species, which have intimate connection of ancient plant diet.
    Starch grains are composed of amylose and amylopectin, and grow by accretion of layers of these polymers around a nucleation point, or hilum. The layers are visible microscopically in many starches. The crossing point of the extinction cross is located at the hilum. These characteristics-presence of the hilum, layering, and the extinction cross-are typically sufficient to identify a particle as starch.
  • Phytolithsare rigid, microscopic structures made of silica, found in some plant tissues and persisting after the decay of the plant.
    Phytoliths may be extracted from residue on many sources: dental calculus (buildup on teeth); food preparation tools like rocks, grinders, and scrapers; cooking or storage containers; ritual offerings; and garden areas.
  • Other fragments of plant tissue produced during growth, such as spores, pollen, organ debris, fibers, etc. These microscopic parts can sometimes be stored for a long time in soil, water, surfaces of archaeological artifacts or other media, acting as indicators of plant growth and distribution, human processing and utilization activities.
  • We apply a standard laboratory protocol to achieve the residue analysis, including pretreatment, concentration, deflocculation, oxidation and flotation. The specific protocol could be varied based on the preservation of samples and the requirements of clients, such as removing the carbonate and organic etc.