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Scrapyards, Curious Constructions, and Local Engagement: A Southeast Arabian Perspective on Building a Flotation Machine

Author(s): Smiti Nathan

Year: 2017

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Summary

Since the late 1960s, flotation has been used to extract macrobotanical remains from soil. Machine-assisted flotation is a popular method; however, very few publications discuss the logistics of designing and constructing such a machine (notable exceptions include (Hunter and Gassner 1998; Nesbitt 1995; Pearsall 2015; Shelton and White 2010)). Flotation machines are often built in the country of research. The availability of local resources impacts the design, construction, and operation of a flotation machine. This paper aims to provide guidelines and considerations for fellow archaeobotanists and archaeologists who are contemplating building a flotation machine, while providing examples from the author’s own experience in southeast Arabia, specifically northern Oman. This paper covers pragmatic considerations during the design phase, practical suggestions for sourcing material and physically constructing a machine, and, finally, discussions on the role of local engagement. Using southeast Arabia as an example, this paper explores how continuous integration of local community members into archaeobotanical research has fostered long-term and sustainable community engagement.


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Scrapyards, Curious Constructions, and Local Engagement: A Southeast Arabian Perspective on Building a Flotation Machine. Smiti Nathan. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430594)


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Abstract Id(s): 15772

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America