Geoarchaeology and past human–environment interactions
Editor(s): Hans von Suchodoletz, Stefanie Berg, Lukas Werther, Christoph Zielhofer, and Eileen EckmeierMore information
Geoarchaeology is a cross-disciplinary scientific field that integrates both geoscientific and archaeological approaches to study human–environmental interactions in former landscapes. During the past few years, this discipline has increasingly become an integral part of both archaeological practice and research. In addition to case studies from different regions and archaeological contexts, this special issue will pool contributions that deal with new methods and concepts in this rapidly evolving discipline.
This study combines geomorphological–hydrological analyses with the distribution of archaeological sites and obsidian raw material outcrops within the catchment of the Bisare River, Mt Damota, and Mt Sodicho (southwestern Ethiopian Highlands). The current highly dynamic hydrological system, strong recent sediment erosion, and increased human impact lead to land degradation, resulting in exposure of lithic raw material outcrops and destruction of archaeological material.
This study investigates Neolithic settlement dynamics by combining archaeological source criticism and archaeopedological data from colluvial deposits. It is shown that the distribution of Neolithic sites in the Baar region is distorted by superimposition due to erosion. Furthermore, the preservation conditions for pottery are limited by weathering effects. By complementing archaeological data with phases of colluviation we are able to point out settlement dynamics throughout the Neolithic.
This case study provides a reconstruction of settlement and land-use history since the 13th century CE in a small valley in the Ore Mountains (Saxony). Archaeological evidence shows settlement activities with a strong building and mining activities that also triggered local soil erosion. After the abandonment of the site in the middle of the 15th century CE and a reafforestation, later land use in the area occurred in the form of charcoal production.
Max Engel, Stefanie Rückmann, Philipp Drechsler, Dominik Brill, Stephan Opitz, Jörg W. Fassbinder, Anna Pint, Kim Peis, Dennis Wolf, Christoph Gerber, Kristina Pfeiffer, Ricardo Eichmann, and Helmut Brückner
This paper deals with recent prospections in the Roman vicus Belginum. All finds were analysed in a QGIS and ArcGIS environment together with lidar scans and the 2013 geomagnetic data. The distribution of bricks is in particular connected to the individual plots, while the pottery is mainly concentrated in the backyards. Regarding surveys in other Roman vici, the brick distribution could be a helpful indicator to identify plots when no geophysical information is available.
Soils are an important source of geoarchaeological information. The archaeological soil archive is extremely endangered by intensive agriculture. Different approaches for problem-solving strategies that derive from daily practice in cultural heritage management are described.