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5.2 Distinctive residue types

When viewed with reflected VLM, this group of residues contains distinctive but not diagnostic features. Distinctive residues are defined by the presence of visual traits that allow a suggested identification to be made, but with limited confidence. It is possible for these residue types to be identified incorrectly or mistaken for other materials originating from the soil or substrate. Distinctive residue types are potentially recognisable; however, identification with reflected VLM should be considered tentative and preliminary, and further techniques of identification are recommended. Fibrous plant cells in reeds, starch granules in potato tuber, and wood residues in hard and softwood were all categorised as distinctive.

Plant cells

Biological description

Identification

Reference residue

Figure 29
Figure 29: Plant cell walls. Reed residues on flint, reference collection
Figure 30
Figure 30: Rectangular plant cell walls and long crystals appearing light within the tissue (bottom of image). Reed residues on flint, reference collection (SEM-BSE image)

Starch

Biological description

Identification

Identification notes

Reference residue

Figure 31
Figure 31: Potato residues, presumably starch granules, in situ on flint, reference collection. Composite image taken with cross polarised reflected light, note partial presentation of extinction crosses
Figure 32
Figure 32: Starch granules. Potato residues on flint, reference collection (SEM-BSE image)

Wood

Biological description

Identification

Identification notes

Reference residues

Figure 33
Figure 33: Softwood residues on flint, reference collection. Note bordered pits within the tracheids in a linear arrangement (uniseriate)
Figure 34
Figure 34: Pits with borders in a single uniseriate arrangement on a wood cell, probably a tracheid. Softwood residues on flint, reference collection (SEM-BSE image)
Figure 35
Figure 35: Closely packed alternate intervessel pits on a vessel element. Hardwood residues on flint, reference collection
Figure 36
Figure 36: Alternate intervessel pits on a vessel element. Hardwood residues on flint, reference collection
Figure 37
Figure 37: Hardwood residues on flint, reference collection. Crystals in a row (appearing light) (SEM-BSE image)

Red ochre

Description

Identification

Reference residue

Figure 38
Figure 38: Red ochre on flint, reference collection
Figure 39
Figure 39: Red ochre (dark areas) on flint, reference collection (SEM-BSE image)

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