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Book: Pedological Perspectives in Archaeological Research
Published by: Soil Science Society of America



  1.  p. 107-132
    SSSA Special Publication 44.
    Pedological Perspectives in Archaeological Research

    Mary E. Collins, Brian J. Carter, Bruce G. Gladfelter and Randal J. Southard (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-939-8


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Geochemistry, Phosphate Fractionation, and the Detection of Activity Areas at Prehistoric North American Sites

  1. Joseph Schuldenrein
  1. Geoarcheology Research Associates, Riverdale, New York


Geochemical studies have been traditionally undertaken at complex, multicomponent archaeological sites where chemical techniques are supplementary to more standard analyses. This study proposes geochemical procedures that have diagnostic potential for isolating activity areas at more typical single component sites. Two examples are selected from functionally distinct and ecologically diverse settings: a village site in Piedmont Georgia and a hunter-gatherer station in the Nebraska Sand Hills. It is demonstrated that trace element analysis of anthropogenic soils can infer patterning in the site formation record irrespective of natural and soil forming environments. Phosphorous emerges as the most accurate barometer of anthropogenic enrichment of subsurface occupations. A new method of presenting and interpreting phosphate fractionation results is proposed that isolates activity areas in diverse archaeological contexts.

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