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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: An evaluation of the site specificity of soil elemental signatures for identifying and interpreting former functional areas
Author(s): Wilson, Clare
Davidson, Donald
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Keywords: Geoarchaeology
Multi-element analysis
Functional areas
Space use
Soil science in archaeology Scotland
Archaeological geology
Soils Analysis
Issue Date: Oct-2009
Date Deposited: 26-Oct-2009
Citation: Wilson C & Davidson D (2009) An evaluation of the site specificity of soil elemental signatures for identifying and interpreting former functional areas. Journal of Archaeological Science, 36 (10), pp. 2327-2334.;
Abstract: Soil multi-element analysis is now a routine technique employed to help answer questions about space use and function in and around archaeological sites. The pattern of enhancement of certain elements, including P, Pb, Ca, Zn, and Cu, has been shown by numerous studies to correlate closely with the archaeological and historical record. Interpretation of these soil signatures, however, has generally been more problematic. One approach to the problem has been the use of ethnographic or “known” sites to guide interpretation, but how confidently can results from one site be extrapolated to another? This study of abandoned farms tests the site specificity of soil multi-element signatures of past space use through the use of discriminant models. Data analysis suggests that one to one comparisons of similar sites are much less accurate (38% accuracy) than comparisons based on a wider range of sites (59.3% accuracy), even when the latter have contrasting geology. The results highlight the importance of individual anthropogenic practices during occupation and abandonment in the development of diagnostic soil geochemical signatures.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.jas.2009.06.022
Rights: Published in the Journal of Archaeological Science by Elsevier.; Publisher statement: "This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. As a service to our customers we are providing this early version of the manuscript. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain."

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