Under the supervision of Jeanne Schaaf PhD., Patti DeBunch was trained preparing and retrieving preserved plant remains from features of various archaeological sites in Nevada.

Patti follows the water flotation technique described in Schaaf (1988).  Fill sediment is extracted from controlled feature contexts.  In 1-liter sub-samples, the sediment sample is elutriated in a gallon glass jar by directing a fine spray of water against the jar side.  The angle and flow of the water is controlled to create a vortex, causing lighter particles to float off while gently churning the heavier residue.  The light fraction then is floated out of the jar and into a series of nested sieves grading from coarse to fine mesh, placed beneath the jar.  For recovery of the smallest seeds, a sieve size of 0.25 mm (#60 U.S. Standard) is placed at the bottom of the nested sieves, next, the floated fractions of the sample are air dried and sent out for identification of plant and animal remains.

Customarily the dried recovered remains are sent to Dr. Schaaf, who proceeds with sorting the light matrix followed by seed identification. Most recently in 2014-2015, PaleoResearch Institute collaborated with Eetza Research Associates analyzing plant remains from site 26LN2978, the results were stunning that prompted to write a short report soon to be published in the Nevada Archaeologist journal. With this analysis our goal is to establish season/time of occupation, and dietary practices.  The results of these analyses have been presented in professional data recovery reports and conferences.

  • Preliminary Report on Macrofloral Remains from Site 26LN2978 Southern Nevada, J Schaaf 2006.  Botanical remains suggested the site was occupied in late fall  (click here to read mini-report).

Photo by Jim Bunch.