Quantification of waterlogged remains

Every distinguishable part of a species should be quantified separately (apple seeds, apple pericarps, apple fruit epidermis etc.). The best kind of quantification is of course counting the remains, and in the case of fragmented remains, initially counting units have to be defined. Plant tissue fragments, like cereal bran or epidermis fragments, are often uncountable. Here semi-quantitative methods like estimating or scoring are used.

While unique plant remains such as seeds, fruits or cereal chaff are usually counted after their identification, tiny fragments of plant tissues which often occur in larger quantities (fragments of leaves, epiderms, mosses etc.) must be quantified by estimation during the scanning process.

Scoring of abundances provides only rough results and is rather subjective, but allows a quick analysis of a sample. From some rest types countable complete pieces, halves or quarters will be found in the bigger sieve fractions, while the tiny fragments from the smaller fractions are not countable and have to be estimated. There are different ways to come to estimation values, but usually a scale similar to the following will be used: p = present, + = few, ++ many, +++ masses.

Basis for the next step, the data analysis should be a raw data list, containing name of species name, remain type, state (uncharred) and the quantity of remains per sample.

Example for a raw data list. Picture: IAR project.