Chapter 11 vocab: (book)
• Kitchen Midden: An above ground accumulation or pile of residue from food preparation.
Inedible material, spoilage, and excess is thrown on the pule and left to decay. The stuff
that does not disappear-depending on the local soil condition this will often be bones,
shells, and carbonized remains such as seed husks, nutshells, cobs, and rinds- becomes a
• Flotation:Aprocedure used in archaeology to separate artifacts and ecofacts from excavated
soil, either the soil matrix recovered from a feature or soil samples taken from ancient
living surfaces, by the use of water. Flotation is based on the fact that in the vast
majority of instances, the archaeological material you are trying to isolate and recover
from the surrounding soil has a different specific gravity than water. This means that
when dumped into a pool of standing water, most archaeological remains will separate
from the water by either floating to the top or sinking to the bottom. Materials that float
can be collected by skimming the waters surface. Materials that sink can be extracted by
draining the water through a fine mesh screen that will allow the water and most of the
very fine soul particles, but not the artifacts or ecofacts to pass through.
• Comparative Collections: Grouping of samples of animal bones, seeds, nuts, lithic raw
materials, and so on that can aid in the identification of materials recovered at
archaeological sites.Acomparative collection is, essentially, a library of prototypes that
serve as the models by which archaeological samples can be judged and identified.
Comparative collections are particularly valuable when the archaeological specimens are
• Starch Grains: Small pieces of starch produced by plants. The shapes of starch grains are
species-specific. As a result, when starch grains are preserved on tools used to process
plants, the can be recovered, and the plant species that produced the grains and on which
the tool was used can be identified.
• Phytoliths: Microscopic, inorganic mineral particles produced by plants. Phytoliths are
extremely durable and species-specific. Enormous databases are being compiled that