Publication Details

Miller, C. E., Conard, N. J., Goldberg, P. & Berna, F. (2010). Dumping, sweeping and trampling: experimental micromorphological analysis of anthropogenically modified combustion features. Palethnologie, 2 25-37.

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Six experimental fireplaces were constructed to investigate the ability of micromorphology to identify anthropogenic reworking of combustion features and to build a reference base of experimentally-derived conditions to calibrate micromorphological conditions. After burning, the fireplaces were either swept out, swept out and the material dumped, trampled, or a combination of these three. Micromorphological examination showed that these processes produce distinct characteristics readily identifiable at the microscopic scale. The application of this experiment to combustion-related features at the Paleolithic site of Hohle Fels in Germany showed that micromorphological examination of anthropogenic deposits-supported by experimental observations -provides an important context in which to evaluate other classes of artefacts.