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The soil as a source material in archaeology.: Theoretical considerations and pragmatic applications.
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies. (Miljöarkeologiska laboratoriet)
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis deals with questions on various applications using soils and sediments as sources of information in archaeological research. Human environmental impact on soils and sediments, in terms of pollution, is a well known phenomenon as the industrialisation intensified during historical times and onwards and has left strong pollutive marks. However, humans have always accumulated or emitted matter and various compounds in connection to their habitats for subsistence, but these earlier traces are not always detectable, depending on soil and sediment state of preservation. Bioessential elements are intimately linked to humans and their dwellings and especially phosphate has been evident in this respect. It was established already in the 1930s, that even Stone Age settlements could be located through elevated phosphate content in extensive soil phosphate mappings. This thesis is a compilation on results from several sites and excavations from the southern to the northern parts of Sweden. There is a wide variety of soil types and chronological setting in the material, from highly acid podzols to calcareous soils, and sediments dated to Younger Dryas to current top soils. Sites from the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Early and Late Iron Age and Medieval are all represented. Methods that have been implemented are firstly various forms of analysis in regards to soil phosphate, magnetic susceptibility and organic matter. Furthermore, metal and non-metal elements have been considered, as well as lead isotopes. A multiproxy approach is applied in some examples where biological and chemical data is combined to interpret past events. In this thesis there are also five papers presented. The first paper deals with methodological issues concerning multi-element analyses of various soil samples (off-site to feature) from an archaeological excavation. The second paper is about the possibilities that may be used when analysing the soil organic phosphate in relation to prehistoric agriculture. Paper three and fourth are compilations of large scale contract archaeological project. These papers deal with theoretical, methodological and practical issues concerning environmental archaeology in relation to contract archaeology. Studies on landscape development and erosion are among the cases presented. The last paper deals with a late Mesolithic - early Neolithic settlement in Vuollerim, N. Sweden, and spatial dimensions on the human use of settlement (off-site to on-site) and house floors (intra-site), are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå university, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies , 2010. , 31 p.
Series
Archaeology and environment, ISSN 0281-5877 ; 25
Keyword [en]
Environmental archaeology, Geoarchaeology, Prehistory, Soil phosphate, Magnetic susceptibility, Soil chemistry, Site formation processes, Soil erosion
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-31380ISBN: 978-91-7264-944-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-31380DiVA: diva2:293224
Public defence
2010-03-12, Humanisthuset, Hörsal F, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-02-19 Created: 2010-02-09 Last updated: 2011-03-02Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Chemical characterisation of various archaeological soil samples using main and trace elements determined by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Chemical characterisation of various archaeological soil samples using main and trace elements determined by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry
1994 (English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science, ISSN 0305-4403, E-ISSN 1095-9238, Vol. 21, no 3, 303-314 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study a method has been developed to classify archaeologically related soil samples by means of multivariate statistical analysis (principal component analysis) of determined trace and main component concentrations. The Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometry (ICP-AES) technique was used for the determination of Fe, As, Cu, P, Mn, V, Co, Mo, Zn, Cr, Pb and Ca, and good accuracy was achieved by calibration against a certified reference material. It was shown that Cu, P, Mn, Zn and Ca were accumulated in feature and dwelling samples from a late bronze age site, Vistad, in southeast Sweden. Elements like Fe, V, Co and Cr characterized the control samples (from a surrounding field). It was also demonstrated that in this case, a simpler pretreatment procedure—acid extraction—could be used instead of total dissolution of the samples. Microwave heating was utilized for both procedures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier B.V., 1994
Keyword
Trace Element Analysis, Icp-Aes, Dissolution Methods, Principal Component Analysis, Soil Sampling, Dwelling Sites, Archaeological Features
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-31513 (URN)10.1006/jasc.1994.1030 (DOI)
Available from: 2010-02-11 Created: 2010-02-11 Last updated: 2017-10-24
2. Prehistoric land management and cultivation: A soil chemical study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Prehistoric land management and cultivation: A soil chemical study
1996 (English)In: Proceedings from the 6th Nordic Conference on the Application of Scientific Methods in Archaeology, Esbjerg 1993. / [ed] Mejdahl, V. & Siemen, P., Esbjerg, Danmark: Esbjerg Museum , 1996, 315-322 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Esbjerg, Danmark: Esbjerg Museum, 1996
Series
Arkeologiske Rapporter, 1
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-31514 (URN)
Conference
6th Nordic Conference on the Application of Scientific Methods in Archaeology
Available from: 2010-02-11 Created: 2010-02-11 Last updated: 2010-02-12
3. Soil chemical surveying: A path to a deeper understanding of prehistoric sites and societies in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Soil chemical surveying: A path to a deeper understanding of prehistoric sites and societies in Sweden
2007 (English)In: Geoarchaeology, ISSN 0883-6353, E-ISSN 1520-6548, Vol. 22, no 4, 417-438 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley InterScience, 2007
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-20084 (URN)10.1002/gea.20159 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-03-16 Created: 2009-03-16 Last updated: 2011-03-02
4. Miljöarkeologi: människa och landskap - en komplicerad dynamik
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Miljöarkeologi: människa och landskap - en komplicerad dynamik
2008 (Swedish)Book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Malmö Kulturmiljö, 2008. 92 p.
Series
Malmöfynd, ISSN 0580-521X ; 15
Keyword
miljöarkeologi
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-20079 (URN)91-85341-26-6 (ISBN)
Projects
Öresundsförbindelsen och arkeologin
Available from: 2009-03-16 Created: 2009-03-16 Last updated: 2012-11-12Bibliographically approved

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