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Size Grading - Video

MVAC Research Intern Cindy Kocik discusses size grading, a technique archaeologists use to efficiently focus their study of light and heavy fraction from matrix (soil) samples. After matrix samples are processed through flotation (see the links to the MVAC videos on the topic below), the resulting light fractions, with lightweight plant remains, and heavy fractions, with denser material like artifacts and animal bone, can contain materials ranging from those large enough to identify with the naked eye to the extremely small. For further examination, the light and heavy fractions are sifted through stacked standard geologic mesh screens to separate everything by size. The standard mesh sizes ensure the process remains consistent from sample to sample. Size grading samples in this way helps archaeologists to easily pick out larger artifacts, bones, and shell and better recover smaller remains like miniscule charred seeds and tiny fish bones that can play a big role in answering research questions.