The obverse and reverse of an otolith from the Sparidae (see the jaws and teeth of this fish in Ashkelon 3, P. 662), or mollusk-crushing sea breams…
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MicroCommons is a worldwide online research community of scholars and specialists interested in the techniques of microartifact analysis and micromorphology. MicroCommons provides a centralized database and forum to facilitate the sharing of images, publications, methods and ideas. Our goal is to promote microarchaeological studies for all regions and time periods. Click here to learn more »
What is microarchaeology?
Microarchaeology is the study of the microscopic archaeological record: a hidden palimpsest of data contained within artifacts, features, and deposits that, in most cases, cannot be seen or identified with the naked eye. Many research avenues and techniques exist for extracting this micro-information. These range from archaeobotany and DNA sequencing to infared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. The results of these investigations offer a more complex and holistic picture of life in the past including paleodiets, environmental conditions, and manufacturing processes, to name but a few.
MicroCommons focuses on the analytical techniques of microartifact (or heavy fraction/refuse) and micromorphology/microstratigraphy. These approaches reveal residues of human behaviors and natural formation processes through the recovery and interpretation of small artifacts ("microartifacts"), sediments, and trace materials. Though these methods are often used and presented in scholarly literature separately, a combination of data can complement any traditional archaeological analysis provided appropriate time, money and resources are available.
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Scholarly content is more valuable if openly discussed and evaluated. This creates a level of transparency that encourages best scientific practice. By sharing information like methods, publications, and datasets, we can begin to push microartifact analysis and micromorphological studies toward a more unified (sub)discipline.