Dear Ursula and members,
Talking of starch, I must admit I know practically nothing about it, except
that under aerobic conditions it oxidizes extremely rapidly compared to most
plant materials and to my knowledge it does not survive in anaerobic
waterlogged sediments from lake sites. I found desiccated cereals grains
with intact starch on a first millennium site in the Taklimakan desert, but
this is one of the driest areas on earth! I have also found it in partly
decomposed plant materials, roots, seeds etc. on many sites, but these were
I have always considered that most un-charred plant materials occurring in
aerobic archaeological sediments to be potentially modern contaminants.
Mineralization of plant materials requires special conditions which are
rarely encountered on archaeological sites.
This is perhaps a naïve question and something I should already know about,
but can someone explain how starch survives in archaeological sediments?
Best wishes to all.
Archéorient CNRS UMR 5133, Université de Lyon II.
Antenne d'Archéorient, Jalès, Berrias.
Tel : 00 33 (0)4 75 89 80 24
Fax :00 33 (0)4 75 89 80 22
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Tel pers 00 33 (0) 4 75 39 08 37
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