Delwen Samuel -
The archaeology of plant-
Microscopy of residues: My study of ancient Egyptian preserved food remains by microscopy
has established that the microstructure of cereal foods is excellent evidence for
ancient processing methods. I am experienced in the use of scanning electron microscopy,
histochemistry and low power light microscopy. The histological and anatomical analysis
of archaeobotanical remains, both embedded in foodstuffs and recovered from archaeological
sediments, is essential to establish ancient food ingredients. Recently, my microscopic
analysis of supposed bread from the Greco-
Archaeological starch: Since 1990 I have had a particular interest in ancient starch,
a subject which is increasingly visible in the archaeological literature. I have
an extensive knowledge of modern starch physico-
Food preparation: A major area of interest is the role of food in the past, to which
I have always applied an integrated, multi-
Experimental archaeology is also critical to my work. It is only possible through a detailed understanding of the archaeological evidence and a strong grasp of relevant ethnographic studies. I use actual ancient tools recovered from excavations where possible, precise replicas of installations and emplacements and authentic modern cereals.
Charred food remains are a recent interest which has grown out of my extensive experience with desiccated food remains. I am working with colleagues to develop methods for the microscopic identification of charred cereal foods.
Ethnoarchaeology plays a key role in my research. In collaboration with colleagues, I have carried out extensive investigations on the cultivation and processing of the hulled wheats surviving in northern Turkey in the 1980s. I have observed bread baking and other cereal processing techniques at Amarna’s local Egyptian village.