Archaeology Experiments in Cincinnati

When not in the field, archaeologists conduct some pretty interesting experiments. Karen Leone, our paleoethnobotanist, recently burned buffalo chips and cow pies in the courtyard of our Cincinnati office.

She wanted to compare burned remains to charred material found in botanical samples from sites in North Dakota. The samples have very little wood and just tiny bits of grass stems, grass seeds, and shrubby twigs. The working theory is that people were burning buffalo chips for fuel due to a general lack of trees in the Great Plains. To test the theory, Karen burned buffalo chips and cow pies found in and around the site. If the theory is accurate, the burnt material from the experiment should be similar to what was found in the field.