Micrograph of the Month: Krotovinas at Çatalhöyük
Did you know that there is a word for an animal burrow that becomes backfilled with soil/sediment? That word is krotovina! At Catalhoyuk, burrowing by small mammals is probably one of the most destructive forms of bioturbation on site. Ground squirrels, or suslik as they are known in Turkey, have a great time digging their way through the nice soft archaeological sediments, mixing up the deposits as they go. When marking out locations for micromorphology sampling we try and avoid these burrows, as we want to look at intact stratigraphy. Every once in a while however, what looks to be undisturbed deposits turns out to have a hidden burrow when the slide is made. It makes the sample almost useless it terms of analysis, but in this case has given a nice example of bioturbated deposits for my teaching reference collection of slides! I have included pictures of the midden section that these micrographs come from, as it is much easier to understand what a krotovina is at the macroscale. The photo on the left highlights the multiple krotovinas in this section, which are distinctly rounded and tunnel-like. It is always important to refer back to field sections when analysing micromorphology slides, as it helps understand the spatial extent of the deposits that are being studied.