Bea, thank you for your response and interesting comments!
No, the seeds I found at Malia (Minoan) are mineralised only so it seems
that they were "fresh" seeds which became mineralised within a certain
environment. Now, together with these seeds I found some charred seeds too
and they seem to have followed another route of deposition...they might have
been charred before getting in the seware, so the seware could have been a
trap of several environments! Faecal remains but also "cleanings"...maybe!
Regarding your interesting comments, I would like to know where husks are
used to absorb seawater? Any references available and/or which areas are
involved? Yes, in Greece/Crete salt making was taking place near the sea up
to quite recently..until it became a State monopoly and it became illegal
for private interprises to "make "it...However, yes salt was found in a Late
Minoan site (Cave site) near Zakros (Ourania to Froudi Cave) (very East of
Crete)(published by K.Kopaka and published in O.J.A.) but the process you
describe would have taken place in areas far from the sea where salt would
have been of added value. Crete, as you know is surrounded by the sea so
although salt would have been of some value in Minoan times depending of
course on a multitude of factors, yet, it would not have been of such a high
value to involve intriate methods of extraction as it happened in lots of
areas of Western Europe (mainly inland areas).
Regarding the porosity of seeds...yes, I suppose charring does make them
more porous -although I would welcome comments on that effect- but there
must have been other factors at play....ammonia to start with....and other
minerals which I do not know and which I would like to go into. This is the
reason I need some bibliographic leads or personal experience of colleague
so that I could move forward....The other problem of course is deciphering
forms of mineralised seeds...Sometimes it is quite easy but other times they
have concretions which are difficult to identify...
Thank you though for your somments and all comments are very welcome....
----- Original Message -----
From: "Beatrice Hopkinson" <[log in to unmask]>
To: "The archaeobotany mailing list" <[log in to unmask]>;
"Sarpaki Anaya" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2007 3:13 AM
Subject: Re: cess pit mineralised material
> Another correspondent from Crete has indicated there is quite a bit of
> salt making on Crete and salt has been found at Minoan levels in a cave.
> I was interested in your comment that the seeds in this pit were charred
> and mineralized and am wondering if charring made these seeds more porous?
> I ask because I am aware of a salt making process that utilized husks to
> seawater to increase the salt saturation. these husks eventually burned
> to an ash
> and filtered with seawater to produce a brine that could be economically
>>I am looking at few samples from a Minoan sewage at the site of Malia in
>>Crete and I am quite baffled by what I see......what seems to me to be
>>mineralised seeds, such as grape etc. However, legume seeds seem to also
>>have been mineralised and also fragments of "pods". As my experience is
>>with charred material I find quite difficult to "decipher" these forms. I
>>would therefore appreciate to have any references which might help me with
>>these. If anybody is working on cess pits/sewage mineralised material or
>>has published on these, I would very much appreciate to have their contact
>>address and/or references.
>>Thank you for all the help,
>>73200 Souda - Chania, Crete.
>>Tel: +30 28210 81641
>>Fax: +30 28210 28452
>>[log in to unmask]
> Hon. Secretary Los Angeles Branch, Oxford University Society
> AIA Board member, Los Angeles,
> UCLA Institute of Archaeology Associate
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