Mica in the Museum

What do you get when you combine the monotony of artifact washing with visits to friends’ excavations and trips to archaeological conferences? Unfortunately, a long hiatus in posting at the Garden Creek Archaeological Project Blog!

Now entering the North American Archaeology range...

But don’t let the radio silence fool you. We are hard at work in the North American Archaeology range at the UM Museum of Anthropology, collecting data from the artifacts we excavated this summer. Soon, Sophia and Claire will be posting about the sorts of ceramic attributes they are looking at in the course of analyzing potsherds, and Erika will explain why she’s recording information about the hundreds of pieces of chipped stone debitage we found at the site.

Erika weighing a small chert flake. She is quickly filling the notebook on the right with observations!

In the meantime, though, we post to poll the audience: does anyone have any suggestions for how to clean fragile sheet mica artifacts? We managed to bring quite a bit of this material back from the field, but some of it is encrusted with dirt that we’d like to get rid of. This would allow us to better see signs of purposeful cutting under a microscope. Thanks in advance for your input, and for your patience as we get back into the swing of blog posting!

A piece of mica from the earthwork ditch, with a plausible cut edge at the top.

The same piece of mica (above) in situ. We managed to just avoid it when we took removed the flot column.

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About Alice Wright

Alice is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Appalachian State University. She tweets about archaeology, Appalachia, and cats @alicepwright.
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One Response to Mica in the Museum

  1. Tanya says:

    I have never cleaned mica, but if you think it can withstand some water, maybe a quick trip through a sonicator with distilled water?

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