Dr Cristina Mondin invites our first speaker, Dr Mennat-Allah El-Dorry who starts appropriately at the beginning in the Neolithic with our work at Merimde Beni Salama - which consists of archival research and also new research in the field at Merimde. The focus is on the archaeobotanical remains from Merimde and Menna is telling the audience about her field methods for recovering plant remains, and the importance of what was and was not recovered during the excavations from the 1930s. Menna has been looking at the plant remains in museum collections and has been able to discover a couple of species, including millet previously unknown at the site. This new research is bringing together lines in reports and other publications with actual plant remains as Menna is telling us about what how we can reconstruct past processes given the condition and location of the plant remains - and the presence of weeds. We are hearing about the importance of examining the whole assemblage as this will provide information about the various stages of processing and storage of plant remains at Merimde in the past, and how ethnographic analogies can perhaps help. Menna rounds up her talk linking back to the opening lecture to the state of current research - including challenging our preconceptions through new methods - including residue analysis and AMS radiocarbon dating on the older material from Junker's work in the 1930s; as well as the value of looking in detail at animal dung and what it can tell us.
We have a packed house here in the auditorium!