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



  1.  p. i-xvii
    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

    unlockOPEN ACCESS

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Front Matter


Because ancient populations lived on and used the soil, there is a natural relationship between soil science and archaeology Within soil science, pedology is the primary discipline dealing with soil characteristics and distribution on the landscape. As such, pedologists can provide useful information to archaeologists such as location and depth of buried surfaces, evidence of soil disturbances, and relative ages of modern and buried soils. Chemical and physical characteristics of soils at archaeological sites may suggest environmental conditions during the period of habitation as well as agricultural and cultural practices used by the people inhabiting the site; the reverse also is true. Absolute or relative ages of buried artifacts enable pedologists to deduce rates of soil development. In addition, knowledge of soil management practices used by ancient populations can help soil scientists understand how soils respond to long-term use and manipulation and can help in designing management systems that will conserve soils for future generations.

This special publication provides an overview of techniques and experiences from the application of pedology to archaeological research. Both archaeologists and pedologists should find the publication useful and, hopefully, it will lead to further cooperation between the two disciplines.

DAVID E. KISSEL, President

Soil Science Society of America


The purpose of this special publication is to disseminate knowledge describing interactions of pedologists and archaeologists that has been used to unravel some of life's mysteries. It was written by archaeologists and pedologists working with archaeology, but many other disciplines should find this publication useful as well. This special publication will provide pedologists and archaeologists and others involved with natural resources with some of the latest techniques described that may be useful in their work.

The chapters in this publication were presented at a symposium at the annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy that was held in Cincinnati, OH, in 1993. One of the objectives of the symposium was to give pedologists and archaeologists an opportunity to demonstrate how pedology and archaeology interaction can be used to increase the efficiency and quality of archaeological and pedological research. Speakers were asked to describe and illustrate relationships of soil genesis, stratigraphy and landscapes, and the implications in pedoarchaeological research. Specific case studies were used to provide examples of the use of pedology in archaeological research and the interactions of pedologists and archaeologists.

Techniques described in this special publication are a few examples of what is being done in pedoarchaeological research. It is hoped that this publication will encourage more interaction of pedologists and archaeologists and result in the use of new techniques in pedoarchaeological research.

My thanks to the authors who participated in the symposium and who wrote the chapters for this publication. These authors have shown us the importance of the interaction of two disciplines in producing quality research.

The organizers of the symposium would like to express gratitude to the S-880 Soils-Geomorphology Committee; without their support the symposium would not have been possible.

Mary E. Collins, editor

Soil and Water Science Department University of Florida Gainesvill, Florida


Kathleen E. Callum, Institute for Quaternary Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, presently GEOARCH, RD #2 Box 2429A, Brandon, VT 05733

D. L. Cremeens, Senior Staff Soil Scientist, GAI Consultants, Inc., 570 Beatty Road, Monroeville, PA 15146

J. E. Foss, Professor of Plant and Soil Science, University of Tennessee, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Knoxville, TN 37901

Douglas S. Frink, Principle Investigating Archaeologist, Archaeology Consulting Team, Inc., P.O. Box 145, Essex Junction, VT 05453

John P. Hart, Director of Cultural Resource Survey Program, Anthropological Survey, New York State Museum, 3122 Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230

John S. Jacob, Research Associate, Department of Soil and Crop Science, Texas A&M University; Presently Research Fellow, Environmental Institute of Houston, University of Houston, Clear Lake. 2700 Bay Area Boulevard, P.O. Box 540, Houston, TX 77058

Jonathan P. Kerr, Cultural Resource Analysts, Lexington, KY

R. J. Lewis, Professor of Plant and Soil Science, 1124 Burton Road, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37916-8110

H. Curtis Monger, Assistant Professor of Pedology, Box 30003 Department 3Q, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8003

Joseph Schuldenrein, President, Geoarcheology Research Associates, 5912 Spencer Avenue, Riverdale, NY 10471

Cynthia A. Stiles, Research Assocaite, Department of Plant and Soil Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37901

M. E. Timpson, Post Doctoral Researcher, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN. Presently Adjunct Assistant Professor for the Quaternary Studies Program, Northern Arizona University, 2515 North Fort Valley Road, Apartment 13, Flagstaff, AZ 86001



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