Mineralised Plant and Invertebrate Remains

A guide to the identification of calcium phosphate replaced remains

By Wendy J. Carruthers and David N. Smith

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The aim of this photographic guide is to assist archaeobotanists and archaeoentomologists in the identification of calcium-phosphate replaced mineralised biological remains that are of archaeological significance.

High quality photographic images (magnifications of x6 to x80) of identifiable plant and insect taxa are presented, primarily using mineralised archaeological material, including high magnification images of specific structures and cell layers (magnifications of up to x160). Variations of potential preservation are illustrated where possible, although many more variations can be expected to be found in archaeological deposits.

The guide highlights identification criteria, provides examples of archaeological sites which yielded mineralised material and information on modern ecology, and outlines the interpretative value of each taxon.

This first edition provides information on some of the most commonly found mineralised taxa from cesspits, drains and middens dating from the prehistoric to post-medieval periods. It is envisaged that additional pages will be added, and some pages may be updated, as further well-preserved reference material becomes available.

Comments and new information or material are welcomed and should be addressed to the authors [email protected] and [email protected]



  • Scope of the photographic guide
  • Organisation of the guide
  • Sources of reference material and site examples
  • Phosphatic mineralisation
  • Acknowledgements

Section I: Botanical remains

Section II: Entomological remains

  • Order: Diptera
  • Order Coleoptera

Section III: Additional items often present in mineralised deposits

Appendix I: Voucher specimens

Appendix II: Archaeological sites


Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 101
  • ISBN: 9781800341203


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