Apologies for any cross posting!
I am currently undertaking some research into deposits found underneath the floorboards of cells in Fremantle Prison, Western Australia. From reading previous threads it seems that many people have retrieved artefacts from underfloor spaces and inside walls etc. I am wondering if anyone has had a chance to look more closely at the actual depositional material or 'dust' itself?
At Fremantle Prison, I am particularly interested in the material found in the upper storey cells because of the high degree of preservation in this context. We have retrieved a lot of really fragile material such as paper from newspapers, books, handrolled cigarettes etc that was not preserved in the subsurface deposits we excavated from a ground floor cell (for obvious reasons). The deposit itself appears to be a mixture of material made up of human detritus such as hair and 'bumfluff' (for want of a more technical term!) as well as other organic material including fibres, insect larvae, rodent skeletons etc
Considering the history of the site it seems likely that the material was deposited there through a combination of concealment or rubbish disposal by prisoners and rodent activity. Although distinguishing between the two processes seems problematic judging from previous discussions.
Beyond the work done at the Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney (Australia), I am having trouble finding any work on sub-floor deposits, in particular from the upper storeys of buildings. If anyone could point me in the direction of any studies along these lines or has any comments on taphonomic processes in sub-floor contexts it would be much appreciated!
Department of Archaeology - University of Western Australia
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