Grubenhäuser or pithouses are common
archaeological features. This paper focuses upon
some examples studied through soil
micromorphology and chemistry from one
Swedish and five English sites dating to around 400-
800 AD, where in situ floor deposits from
contemporary long house/rectangular house
structures have not survived. Fills are divided into
two kinds, homogeneous and heterogeneous types.
Homogeneous fills may represent infilling by turf
(local soil) employed in their construction, while
individual homogeneous layers within a
grubenhaus may result from a period of biological
homogenisation marking a cessation in infilling.
Heterogeneous fills, some examples of which have
been additionally studied through microchemical
techniques, may yield unique examples of cultural
deposits. Grubenhäuser fills thus not only provide
important information on the archaeology of the
features themselves, but can provide the proxy
information on the local managed landscape and
soils, and a settlement’s morphology, in areas and
periods where other sources of geoarchaeological data have been lost.
VIII Nordic conference on the applications of Scientific Methods in Archaeology Umeå 2001