Hi, Cemre here, and welcome to a blog post from India. As an archaeobotanist most of the time I sit behind a microscope and identify archaeological plant materials (mostly charred grains from where I am working in India). So why am I in India?
Firstly, context is really important for every archaeologist (including archaeobotanists) so I need to know where my samples are coming from. Hence, it is really important to be in the field and see the archaeological site and its features so I can select representative contexts to answer my research questions. Furthermore, to recover archaeobotanical remains I need to do collect soil from the excavated deposits and do flotation (which I have talked about on my first blog post). So my days on the field alternate between working the site to select which samples to collect for flotation and then floating them.
Another reason why I would like to be in the field is to understand the landscape I am studying. While landscape changes constantly because of human interaction, it is still important to understand the landscape within which archaeological settlements are situated, and how they can be manipulated by people, and it is not possible to learn this type of information by just looking at samples under a microscope.
We are now two whole weeks into our fieldwork and I have floated 13 sample assemblages, and there is going to be plenty more before the end of the season. With permission from the Archaeological Survey of India, I will then take these samples back to Cambridge and sit behind a microscope and identify them so that I can make interpretations on agricultural practices of Indus people living at ancient Masudpur.