view of Nemea Valley  


a website sponsored by
the National Endowment for the Humanities
and Bryn Mawr College







Georgia is an archaeologist-archaeobotanist getting her PhD in Greece, as well as working for the Greek Ministry of Culture.  Alexandra is an environmental scientist-archaeobotanist completing her PhD studies in England.

Why do you water sieve?

Water sieving tries to find very small finds that cannot be seen by the

naked eye during the excavation and need a more "sophisticated" technique in order to be collected for analysis.

What sorts of things can you find in a water sieve?

All kinds of small finds like charcoal pieces and seeds, bones, shell or sea urchin spines, land snails, flint or obsidian blades, small pieces of pottery or clay, slag,  beads etc. In the case of plants, it is possible to retrieve even their smallest parts.

Do you try and figure out what people ate in the Mycenaean period?

We are trying to figure out the eating habits of the people, but not only this. Archaeobotany can also provide information about the cultivation techniques and processing, the type of environment, economy, trade and aspects of the social life

Can you grow any seeds that you find?

No. Ancient seeds retrieved during excavation are carbonized, mineralized, desiccated, or water-logged.  In this state (and after so many years), seeds have lost their ability to grow. 



Copyright © 2007 Johanna Best