Ideally, these kinds of remains should be identified by the epidermal cells, including stomata, guard cells and possible silica cells (that provide the phytoliths), not only these phytoliths. I had some good experiences with SEM photography (in low vacuum, without coating) of vegetative plant material from different origins, although it often remains problematic to reach more than cf identifications.

Van: The archaeobotany mailing list [[log in to unmask]] namens Linda Scott Cummings [[log in to unmask]]
Verzonden: zaterdag 11 februari 2012 21:52
Aan: [log in to unmask]
Onderwerp: Re: Help with ID: "leaves" from a Greek vessel

It is probably not possible to identify the botanic remains from a photo.  There might be phytoliths (or calcium oxalate crystals) that could be retrieved that would identify this.  Starches don't look as likely because this looks like stems in the photo.

Linda Scott Cummings, Ph.D.
PaleoResearch Institute, Inc.
2675 Youngfield St.
Golden, CO  80401 USA

On 2/11/2012 11:53 AM, Barbara Zach wrote:
Dear All,

the following ask for identification help reached me as a former collaborator with the Romanian archaeologists from the Universitäy of Alba Iulia. I would like to pass the request from Beatrice Ciuta on to the list:

"The sample came from a small Greek silver vessel dated to mid-fourth century BC. The interesting part is that the "leaves" were in foot round the base sample vessel with its shape. I guess they are contemporary with the vessel. Getting it back into its original shape, the conservatoire discovered in the foot ring, that was not worked separately but as part of the body, some dry organic material that looks like "tea leaves". It definitely can date only to the mid 4thcentury B.C. like the vessel itself.  The vessel, c. 11 cm high. The foot of the piece is hollow and forms part of the body and when he got the foot into shape he discovered the organic material.."..

Thank you for any advice!
Barbara Zach

[log in to unmask]">