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Animating soils: geoarchaeological approaches to past human-environment relationships in the Arctic
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies, Environmental Archaeology Lab. (Miljöarkeologiska laboratoriet, Environmental Archaeology Lab)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3049-8271
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Skildringar av jord : geoarkeologiska tillvägagångssätt kring forntida relationer mellan människa och miljö i Arktis (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, soils and sediments have been used as sources of information on past human activity in Arctic environments. The study has combined geoarchaeological methods and techniques with information from historical documents, ethnographic accounts, and archaeological remains to create integrated narratives of human-landscape interactions in the past. The thesis consists of two parts: an introductory text and four research papers.

In the first paper, social and cultural aspects of the spatial organisation of Sámi hearth-row sites are presented and discussed through an analysis of the soil from two sites in northern Norway (Steintjørna and Brodtkorbneset) and one from northern Sweden (Hobergsträsk). Based on spatial patterns in the excavated and analysed materials, a socio-spatial ethnographic model of the Sámi goahti (tent/hut) was challenged and new insights into spatial organisation were generated.

The second paper revisits Steintjørna in Norway and presented a geoarchaeological methodology for identifying spaces used for corralling or controlling reindeer.The third paper deals with the human impact on soils from two contemporary sites representing short term, low intensity use, but under different socio-economic conditions. Snuvrejohka was a Sámi viste (camp site) in a high-altitude location connected to 19th and 20th century reindeer herding, whilst Maiva, was initially a farmstead that was turned into a tourist station, that later became a holiday cottage and lastly a research outpost. The interaction of humans with soils and sediments was explored using stratigraphic and spatial soil sampling strategies and analysis to provide interpretable data on land use.

The fourth paper approaches human impact from a different perspective, namely the introduction of invasive soil fauna in Arctic environments. An integrated cultural and natural historical approach, including soil sampling and analysis, was used to study archaeological and historical information at Maiva. The results suggest that earthworm driven bioturbation is a remnant of 19th and 20th century agricultural settlements, showing that ecological imperialism is present in Arctic Fennoscandia.

These studies have collectively and conclusively shown that human impact on soils is detectable, measurable, and essential for interpreting and understanding past events in human-environment relationships.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2023. , p. 48
Series
Archaeology and environment, ISSN 0281-5877 ; 33
Keywords [en]
environmental archaeology, sampling, Sámi archaeology, spatial organisation, Arctic archaeology, geoarchaeology, soil formation, historical archaeology
Keywords [sv]
miljöarkeologi, provtagning, samisk arkeologi, rumslig organisering, Arktisk arkeologi, geoarkeologi, jordmånsbildning, historisk arkeologi
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology; environmental archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-212767ISBN: 978-91-8070-114-3 (print)ISBN: 978-91-8070-115-0 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-212767DiVA, id: diva2:1786966
Public defence
2023-09-01, HUM.D.220, Humanisthuset, Umeå, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-08-15 Created: 2023-08-10 Last updated: 2023-08-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Spatial Perspectives on Hearth Row Site Organisation in Northern Fennoscandia Through the Analysis of Soil Phosphate Content
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spatial Perspectives on Hearth Row Site Organisation in Northern Fennoscandia Through the Analysis of Soil Phosphate Content
2016 (English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, ISSN 2352-409X, E-ISSN 2352-4103, Vol. 5, p. 361-373Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The focus of this paper is to present new perspectives on the social and cultural aspects on spatial organisation of so called 'hearth rows' in Northern Fennoscandia. Previous studies have shown, based on geographical distribution and finds, that these sites are associated with native Sámi settlements and consist of linearly organised hearths dated to 800 - 1300 AD. In order to provide a deeper understanding of spatial behaviour and waste dispersal in hearth row settlements, information and data from three excavated sites is compiled, together with 14C analysis (bone and charcoal), detailed sampling and mapping of citric soluble soil phosphate, to enable a spatial analytical approach. On the basis of repeated spatial patterns observed in excavated and analysed data the authors provide new insights on the spatial organisation of these Sámi dwellings. Also, a generally accepted ethnographic model on how these dwellings and hearth areas were spatially organised is challenged.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016
Keywords
Sámi archaeology, hearth rows, spatial organisation, environmental archaeology, Fennoscandia, settlement patterns, sampling
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
environmental archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-112554 (URN)10.1016/j.jasrep.2015.12.007 (DOI)000415596200030 ()2-s2.0-84949883185 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-01-04 Created: 2015-12-10 Last updated: 2023-08-10Bibliographically approved
2. Possible traces of reindeer corralling at a hearth-row site from 1000-1300 CE in Northern Norway
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Possible traces of reindeer corralling at a hearth-row site from 1000-1300 CE in Northern Norway
2019 (English)In: In search of hearths: a book in memory of Sven-Donald Hedman / [ed] Petri Halinen & Bjørnar Olsen, Helsinki: The Finnish Antiquarian Society , 2019, Vol. 22, p. 31-39Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsinki: The Finnish Antiquarian Society, 2019
Series
Iskos, ISSN 0355-3108 ; 22
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
environmental archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-163581 (URN)9789526655123 (ISBN)
Available from: 2019-09-26 Created: 2019-09-26 Last updated: 2023-08-10Bibliographically approved
3. Geoarchaeology and soil formation in an Arctic setting: impact from 19th century herders and farmers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Geoarchaeology and soil formation in an Arctic setting: impact from 19th century herders and farmers
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-212765 (URN)
Available from: 2023-08-10 Created: 2023-08-10 Last updated: 2023-08-11
4. The legacy of ecological imperialism on soil fauna: implications for Arctic research
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The legacy of ecological imperialism on soil fauna: implications for Arctic research
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-212766 (URN)
Available from: 2023-08-10 Created: 2023-08-10 Last updated: 2023-08-11

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Jerand, Philip

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