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Archaeological study of wood charcoal remains based on the X-ray microtomography imaging method: contributions to 3D Anthracology


This project focuses on the study of the wood resources managment trajectories throughout the successive past human occupations of the sites Monte Castelo-MC (ca. 7500-650 BP) and Teotônio (ca. 9400-400 BP), and its relationship with the configuration of the Southwestern Amazonian landscape, by mean of the anthracological analysis of charred wood remains recovered at the sites. The proposal promotes the development of a new line of research at the Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia MAE USP, centred on the study of archaeological charred remains and the integration and complementariety of the X-ray CT imaging methods (especially X-ray MicroCT imaging method), into the anthracological methodology.The general purpose of this study is to contribute to the debate about the impact of the subsistence practices of pre-colonial societies on the configuration of the Southwestern Amazonian landscape, based on the diachronic characterization of wood resources past management in MC. These sites have great potential to explore dynamic processes on a time scale, as it gathers evidence of one of the oldest, most extensive and uninterrupted sequences of human occupation in the region along the Holocene.The methodology follows the general principles of Anthracology, integrating the X-ray MicroCT method into the sample identification process. The materials under study comprise a set of charcoal fragments already collected by the archeological team of the Laboratorio Arqueotrop MAE- USP in MC, to which other specimens, recovered in the field work linked to this project, will be added. The creation of the anthracological reference collection, an essential tool for identifying this material, will have support the support of the Xilotheca IB USP. Other modern specimens will also be obtained in the field. The diagnostic anatomical attributes of each experimentally charred specimen will be microtomographied in order to optimize comparability with archaeological samples. X-ray MicroCT is a non-destructive 3D imaging technique that produces three-dimensional images of the internal structure of objects with micrometric resolution. The application of the analytic method based on this technique has both benefits and challenges for archaeological studies in general. Its use in this study is explained by the possibility of improving the results and procedures of anthracological research. On the one hand, the same analysis process also enables the production of high-resolution 3D models of the internal structure of each charcoal sample and thus the compilation of a virtual 3D collection of anthracological references. These digital models facilitate the storage, optimize the access to comparative references and promote the reuse of archaeobotanic research data. The acquisition of the CT images will be performed using principally the X-ray MicroCT Phoenix v-tome-x m (GE) system of the Laboratorio Mutiusuario in the MZ USP, and its reconstruction will be done by means of the software Datos|X. The analysis of the 3D images will initially use the computer system of the LACAPC Laboratory IF USP along with the ImageJ software. (AU)

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