Grain Impression

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A cereal grain which has been incorporated by chance in an artifact, such as pottery, bricks, daub, etc. The impression left in the clay may be clear enough for identification to be possible and thus provide useful evidence on the crops in cultivation at the time. On firing, or as a result of decomposition of time, the organic material is lost but its outline remains, often in great detail. Casts of these impressions are taken using latex rubber, and the original plant or animal may be identified. Before the widespread sieving and flotation of deposits began to yield large amounts of environmental evidence, these grain impressions were an important method of getting information on farming practices.