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An archaeological colleague is faced with a site where the ground has been
contaminated with hydrocarbons (specifically diesel). I wonder if list
members have experience of processing samples for charred remains under
these circumstances? Apart from the smell and the problem of being unable to
use material for dating, what problems were there in sieving - was charred
material easier to collect because the hydrocarbons made it float better, or
was flotation more difficult for some reason? I'd be interested to hear of
members' experiences, as mine have been restricted to diesel-contaminated
samples which were being investigated for waterlogged plant and insect
remains and where the issue of flotation (at least for charred plant
material!) was not important.

Allan 

Dr Allan Hall, English Heritage Senior Research Fellow, Department of
Archaeology, University of York, The King's Manor, York YO1 7EP, UK
+44 1904 434950 (fax 433902)
http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/arch/staff/Hall.htm