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Title: Gauging preservation : the effects of oxidising conditions in soils on the preservation of archaeological material data
Author: Hart, A.-M.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
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The development of a comparative database (CDB) based on the relative deposition of iron oxide in soils, and how this relates to variations in oxidising conditions, provides a platform for identifying differing hydrological environments within archaeological sites. The CDB is developed by using geophysical, geochemical and soil micromorphological analyses on non-archaeological sites, representing four major soil/geology types and environments. Oxidation experiments were carried out on these samples to asses the variation between differing rates of oxidation and seasonality influences. Once constructed the CDB was tested using samples taken from archaeological sites of similar soil/geology type, and includes sites ranging from the Mesolithic to the Romano-British period. Archaeological samples were collected from various features and buried soils from five sites: the Late Bronze Age enclosure at Over, the Iron Age ringwork at Wandlebury, the Iron Age enclosures at Sutton Common, the Romano-British site at Marcham-Frilford and the Bronze Age field systems at Shovel Down. The results of this project indicate that the deposition of iron oxide as identified through soil micromorphological analysis has great potential as a tool for gauging preservation of organic material in archaeological sites throughout Britain. The use of the CDB to improve the understanding of preservation and conservation issues in Britain, and beyond, will be an essential element to any future research in this field. This work will form an important part of all archaeological curators’ repertoires for assessing preservation conditions on a site, and therefore, a gauge of the appropriate level of archaeological importance and response.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available