Hi, this is Cemre and I am the archaeobotanist for the TwoRains project. I look at ancient plant remains to make interpretations on ancient agricultural management practices and changes to these practices over time. I am particularly interested in looking at the potential for changes in management caused by climate variation. Archaeobotanical plant remains come in many forms (waterlogged, silicified, etc.), but the ones I find in my assemblages are mostly charred. As you can imagine, charred plant remains are very different to their modern counterparts due to burning! So, to be able to identify these seeds and grains, we need a reference collection. While the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research has an extensive archaeobotanical reference collection, we may still need to collect some local and regional plant types to increase the number of plants in our collection that come from India. Thus, one of the things I will be doing in this fieldwork season is to survey the landscape and collect different plant species that we don’t have here at Cambridge.

Figure 1: Charred macrobotanical remains are my favourite!

Another important thing that I will be doing this field work season is to float collected sediments to recover archaeobotanical remains. Flotation is a simple but effective way of recovering plant remains from soil. As the name implies plant remains float while heavy sediments sink.

Figure 2: This is the flotation system I used while I was working in Turkey

Until I leave for the field I will continue looking at samples that were collected last year. Looking at previously collected material shows that preservation of macro botanical remains looks a bit problematic, but hopefully Lohari Ragho II will have better preservation (fingers crossed)!

At the moment I am looking at samples from Khanak, and even though I am an archaeobotanist I have found some fish bones. This was both exciting and surprising as modern day Khanak is in an arid area. However, when we checked the palaeochannels around the area (you might remember Hector’s blog post on this), we realised there are palaeochannels very close to Khanak, though it is not clear when they carried water. Once these fish bones have been identified we can look to see if they are still in the river channels in other areas. Apart from the exciting fish bones I found several crop cereals in these assemblages which is expected anyway. The identification is on-going, but I will keep you posted on progress on this blog. Until then have a good time….