Floating at Kaymakçi
So, what does it take to transform bags of unremarkable soil samples into analyzable carbonized material? At the Kaymakçi Archaeological Project, this involves a large orange flotation tank and a lot of water pressure.
In order to deliver water to the tank so that we can dissolve the soil and leave the carbonized remains floating on the surface of the water, an electric-powered pump pushes water up a hill to a repository, where it then flows back down the hill. The floatation team is able to take advantage of the water pressure both as it is being pushed up the hill and as it is falling back down in order to help release stubborn carbonized plant and seed parts from the soil.
Of course, this often involves a bit of troubleshooting, including building a series of canals to divert water flow, dealing with temperamental hoses and valves, and managing the local wildlife.
In the end, the carbonized remains that are analyzed during the off-season are invaluable in helping the project to understand the life and environment of the people living at Kaymakçi.