Case Studies:Case study 6

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[edit] Post-burial clay and iron movement in archaeological soils and sediments

Clare Wilson (2000) Processes of post-burial change in archaeologically buried soils. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Stirling.

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Archaeological soils and sediments are a valuable palaeoenvironmental and archaeological resource. Burial of these deposits is generally thought to preserve the information they contain. However, burial also alters the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the soil leading to changes in its fabric. Perfect preservation of pre-burial soil properties, therefore, is rare. Features caused by the movement of clay and iron prior to burial can be important indicators of past environmental conditions and land management / cultivation practices. However, post-burial movement of clay and iron is also common. Care needs to be taken, therefore, over the interpretation of such features in archaeological soils and sediments. The movement of clay and iron may also have implications for the identification of depositional context boundaries in archaeological profiles. This case study presents evidence form Fordhouse, Barrow, Angus of the range of clay and iron features present and the different phases of their formation.

Keywords: Clay, Iron, Micromorphology, Post-burial change, Buried soil, Taphonomic processes, Site formation processes, Burial mound, Scotland.

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Post-burial clay and iron movement in archaeological soils and sediments


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