The geoarchaeological significance and spatial variability of a range of physical and chemical soil properties from a former habitation site, Isle of Skye

Jane A. Entwistle*, Peter W. Abrahams, R. A. Dodgshon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Of the 34 major and trace elements investigated in this study, enrichments of K, Th, Rb and, to a lesser extent, Cs, were associated with former habitation of the area, whilst high levels of Sr and, to a lesser extent, Ca were associated with the adjacent field area. This latter enrichment is thought to represent additions of shell sand and/or bone and fish refuse. Phosphorus is a less reliable indicator of human habitation than K, Rb and Th, possibly because P enrichment may be caused by additions of animal manure as well as by human habitation of an area. Vanadium, Co, Zn, Pb, Ni, Ga, Sc, Mg, Cu and U all indicated negligible on-site enrichment, whilst Cr and organic matter content were found to be depleted in the on-site soils relative to the control samples. Consideration of the degree of variability in the soil parameters investigated has implications for the bulk or composite sampling of soils over sites of former habitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-303
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes

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