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Anthracology in archaeology to identify wood species

Friday 9 February 2024

Anthracology in archaeology is the discipline that identifies charcoal in order to reconstruct the botanical environment of a period, while also providing invaluable assistance in carbon-14 dating.

Carbon-14 dating is not the only scientific technique used in archaeology. Archaeometry brings together many other investigative and dating techniques. Anthracology is a method practiced by CIRAM laboratories. For complete results, we study charcoal and identify wood species. Anthracology is one of the pillars of archaeobotanical studies, enabling us to understand how ancient human societies used materials. Anthracology also reveals the origin of wood samples, enabling us to differentiate between heartwood, branches and twigs. This helps to overcome the “old wood” effect for carbon-14 dating.