Today was our second day excavating the archaeological site “Khow To Chong” (KTC). I worked with our analysis team in learning about how to analyze, take care of and pack two types of artifacts that are highly common to the area: pottery and shells. As we have so far excavated to unit 2 (each unit is not more than 5 cm worth of soil/sediment), we have not found that many of either. Therefore, we worked with artifacts from various sites in Phang Nga.
For shells, it is extremely important to identify the species as that can often tell a researcher what the environment may have been like at a specific time in history. Therefore, looking at the morphology (the shape and features of the shell) is important to understanding many past archaeological fields of concern such as diet of human populations and environmental conditions. In order to do this, one must group shells into piles based on their morphology and then compare those items to already collected and identified species or pictures of species types. All species types must be weighed and labeled appropriately to their species type, unit level found, date found, and weight. Complete shells that have not been damaged and therefore are not fragments must also be measured.
For pottery sherds, the distinguishing factors between them tend to be rim, non rim, colour, decoration, size and weight. All of these features help define and distinguish pottery sherds from each other and also help identify time periods in which they may have occured.
Once all the necessary information has been collected, it must be entered into a spread sheet for later analysis. Without all this information we cannot make many inferences into what the human population behaviour or enviroment may have been like. At the top you can see a photo of shells being organized by species type and unidentifiable fragments.