August, 2016

Airborne Starch Dispersal from Stone Grinding

Experimental results and implications
  • Crystal Dozier

    Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Wichita State University
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Starch granules can be recovered from a variety of archaeological contexts and have been used to interpret plant utilization, cooking technologies, and activity areas. This experiment assessed the distance maize starch granules travelled from an outdoor and indoor stone grinding station. Starch was recovered from water traps as far as 10 m from the grinding site, with dense starch concentrations occurring only within 40 cm from stone mano and grinding slab. Wind direction drastically altered the travel distance of ground maize starch, highlighting the importance of context in interpreting the archaeological starch record. The parameters established by this experimental work can inform starch researchers to improve sampling, research, and interpretation strategies for archaeological starch in soil and sediment contexts.