A rapid phytolith extraction procedure is described, that allows phytolith concentrations and morphotype assemblages to be analyzed within hours. This procedure enables the results of these analyses to be used during an archaeological excavation, in order to better understand how plants were used. The new procedure was tested using a standard phytolith extract and two experimental phytolith-sediment blends and found to be both accurate and precise. The reliability of partial slide counting was evaluated and found to be as accurate and precise as existing phytolith quantification methods. The new extraction and counting procedures were applied to an archaeological site, Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel. The results demonstrate how information on phytolith concentrations in sediments that are available from one day to the next, can be used during an excavation to more effectively document the local features of interest and obtain better information.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Phytolith concentration
- Phytolith extraction
- Tell es-Safi/Gath