Excavation Methods and Techniques: Soil Sampling

Kaitlene writes: On Day 5, a soil sample was taken from Trench B to be used for flotation analysis (specialist water sieving and processing in the lab). From this sample (c. 24 litres, or around two buckets full) we can find out more information about the environment from around the time the villa was in use. The soil sample may have materials, such as ancient land snail shells, bones from small animal species (often difficult to see by eye when excavating), seeds and phytoliths preserved within it. The sample was taken from an area close to the articulated animal bones that were uncovered on day three. By taking a sample from this area, any food particles that may be there are more likely to be better preserved. This also allowed more of the animal to be revealed and the femurs can now be seen.

The area of Trench B from where the soil sample was taken. Taking a soil sample from here has allowed more of the large animal skeleton to be revealed.