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Piotr Paweł Woźniak, Robert J. Sokołowski, Piotr Czubla and Stanisław Fedorowicz

Abstract

The site at Orłowo Cliff was used to analyse the stratigraphic position and palaeogeographic interpretations of the properties and depositional conditions of two basal tills from the Late Pleistocene. A multi-proxy approach involved lithofacies, petrographic analysis of the fine gravel fraction, analyses of indicator erratics and till fabric. TL dating of intra-moraine deposits was used to determine depositional time frames of tills. The sediment profile at Orłowo Cliff shows a distinct reduction in number of Pleistocene units. Obtained dating results suggest the presence of Middle and Late Pleistocene fluvial units. The main issue discussed is the stratigraphic position of the older till (Unit O-4). It can be assumed that this till was deposited probably during the Middle Weichselian (MIS4). At Orłowo Horn the till of Unit O-4 reveals incorporation of the erratic material derived from an older till in the surrounded area (according to petrographic composition - probably from MIS 8). The younger till (Unit O-6) was deposited in the Late Weichselian (MIS 2). Moreover, the till of Unit O-6 is characterised by a significant shift towards the south-west in terms of the erratic origin in Unit O-4.

Open access

Fabian Welc, Jerzy Nitychoruk, Rafał Solecki, Kamil Rabiega and Jacek Wysocki

Abstract

Archaeology of north-eastern Poland has been poorly recognized owing to vast forest areas and numerous lakes. This particularly refers to the Warmian-Masurian Voivodship, where forest covers over 30% of its area. Prospection of forested areas has become possible in Poland just over 10 years ago with the Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). These techniques allow obtaining 3-D documentation of recognized and also unknown archaeological sites in the forested areas. Thanks to ALS/LiDAR prospection a significant number of archaeological structures have been identified also in the Warmia and Masuria regions. Among them oval-shaped hillforts, surrounded by perfectly spaced concentric moats and ramparts, located mainly on islands and in wetland areas, have raised particular attention. Based on field prospection and results of preliminary excavations, these objects have been considered as Iron Age hillforts. One of the best preserved objects of this type is on the Radomno Lake island, located several kilometres to the south of Iława town. Integrated geoarchaeological prospection of this hillfort emphasized benefits of using LiDAR in combination with results of geophysical prospection and shallow drillings. Applied methodology enabled to document the hillfort shape, and to study its geological structure and stratigraphy. The results clearly indicate that integration of LiDAR data with geophysical prospecting is indispensable in future archaeological surveys. It is a perfect tool for remote sensing of archaeological objects in forest areas, so far not available for traditional archaeology.

Open access

Emuobosa Akpo Orijemie

Abstract

Palynological and archaeobotanical analyses were conducted on excavated sediments from Tse Dura, a Later Stone Age rock shelter in north-central Nigeria with the aim of reconstructing the environment conditions at the site within the last millennium. From 933 ± 29 BP to 802 ± 29 BP, the environment alternated between Guinea savanna with dry conditions, and secondary and riverine forests with humid conditions. During these periods of environmental fluctuations, the LSA populations engaged in the management of economic plants the most significant of which included Dioscorea spp. Pennisetum glaucum and Elaeis guineensis, and exploited wild plants such as Pavetta crassipes, Sarcocephalus latifolius and Lophira cf. lanceolata for dietary and ethnomedicinal purposes. Around 310 ± 30 BP cal, the environment became very wet after which it was succeeded by a drier period. It was during this period that Sorghum bicolor became prominent, and the environment attained its current status dominated by Guinea savanna elements and secondary forests.

Open access

Bill Mahaney, Kurt Langworthy and Robert Fischer

Open access

William C. Mahaney, llen West, Alison Milan, David H. Krinsley, Peeter Somelar, Stephane Schwartz, Michael W. Milner and Christopher C. R. Allen

Abstract

Although much has been written about a cosmic impact event in the Western Alps of the Mt. Viso area, the event closely tied with the Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) of 12.8 ka and onset of the Younger Dryas (YD), the affected land surface is considered to contain a similar black mat suite of sediment found on three continents. While work elsewhere has focused on recovered sediment from lake and ice cores, buried lacustrine/alluvial records, and surface glacial and paraglacial records, no one has traced a mountain morphosequence of deposits with the objective of investigating initial weathering/ soil morphogenesis that occurred in ice recessional deposits up to the YDB when the surface was subjected to intense heat, presumably, as hypothesized by Mahaney et al. (2016a) from a cosmic airburst. With the land surface rapidly free of ice following glacial retreat during the Bølling-Allerød interstadial, weathering processes ~13.5 to 12.8 ka led to weathering and soil morphogenesis in a slow progression as the land surface became free of ice. To determine the exposed land character in the mid- to late-Allerød, it is possible to utilize an inverted stratigraphic soil morphogenesis working backward in time, from known post-Little Ice Age (LIA) (i.e. time-zero) through LIA (~0.45 to ~0.10 ka), to at least the middle Neoglacial (~2 ka), to answer several questions. What were the likely soil profile states in existence at the end of the Allerød just prior to the cosmic impact/airburst (YDB)? Assuming these immature weathered regolith sections of the Late Allerød approximated the <1 ka old profiles seen today, and assuming the land surface was subjected to a hypothesized instant temperature burst from ambient to ~2200°C at ~12.8 ka, what would be the expected effect on the resident sediment? To test the mid-LG (YDB) to YD relationship we analyzed the paleosols in both suites of deposits - mid-LG to YD - to test that the airburst grains are restricted to Late Allerød paleosols and using relative-age-determination criteria, that the overlapping YD to mid-LG moraines are closely related in time. These are some of the questions about the black mat that we seek to answer with reference to sites in the upper Guil and Po rivers of the Mt. Viso area.

Open access

Fabian Welc, Goranka Lipovac Vrkljan, Ana Konestra and Tea Rosić

Abstract

The paper presents results of a geophysical survey conducted in Crikvenica, a town located at the north-eastern Adriatic Sea coast in Croatia. The main aim was to identify extent of a Roman pottery workshop discovered to the north of the present town, at the site known as “Igralište”. The performed magnetic and GPR surveys within the area of the modern playground in Crikvenica revealed a large number of anomalies that may be connected with anthropogenic activity during different periods, both in modern and ancient times. The first group consists of anomalies generated by remnants of the modern underground infrastructure. Magnetic and ground-penetrating radar maps revealed anomalies in the north-western part of the modern playground that can be very likely interpreted as remains of a large ceramic kiln dated back to the Roman Period, similar to the kiln discovered during the excavations located further to the north. Finally, the survey performed within the Crikvenica football stadium clearly indicates that the integration of different Ground Penetrating Radar and magnetic methods allows for a detailed and effective identification of buried archaeological structures in large areas.

Open access

Jerzy Trzciński, Małgorzata Zaremba, Sławomir Rzepka, Witold Bogusz, Tomasz Godlewski and Tomasz Szczepański

Abstract

The Tell el-Retaba archaeological site is located at Wadi Tumilat, a shallow valley running from the Nile Delta to the Bitter Lakes. In ancient times, a route connecting Egypt with Syria-Palestine ran across the site. In the 13th century BC, during the rule of Ramesses II, a fortress surrounded by “Wall 1” was erected and in times of Ramesses III in the 12th century BC, a larger fortress surrounded by “Wall 2” and “Wall 3” was constructed. Using the finite element method (FEM) and ZSoil 2D&3D software, the wall heights were modelled and their soil-structure interaction was analysed. Strength of the wall depended on size and strength of bricks and mortar, brickwork, wall shape and foundation. Ancient builders using mud bricks must have known from practical experience the essentials of a wall construction, in which the height to width ratio was at 1.75 to 1.85. Moreover, they must have related the engineering properties of the material with the height of the construction and its purpose. The width to height ratio must have been used and related by ancient Egyptians to the ground resistance. Modelling has shown that, at wall width of 5 m, the foundation would have lost its stability at wall height of 13–14 m and bricks from the lower part of the wall would be destroyed. According to the undertaken assumptions, in order to retain stability, the wall height must have been limited to about 8–9 m.

Open access

Elena Novenko, Pavel Shilov, Dmitry Khitrov and Daniil Kozlov

Abstract

The last one hundred years of land use history in the southern part of Valdai Hills (European Russia) were reconstructed on the base of high resolution pollen data from the peat monolith taken from the Central Forest State Reserve supplementing with historical records derived from maps of the General Land Survey of the 18th and 19th centuries and satellite images. According to the created age model provided by dating using radio-nuclides 210Pb and 137Cs, pollen data of the peat monolith allow us to reconstruct vegetation dynamics during the last one hundred years with high time resolution. The obtained data showed that, despite the location of the studied peatland in the center of the forest area and rather far away from possible croplands and hayfields, the pollen values of plants – anthropogenic indicators (Secale sereale, Centaurea cyanus, Plantago, Rumex, etc.) and micro-charcoal concentration are relatively high in the period since the beginning of the 20th century to the 1970s, especially in the peat horizon formed in the 1950s. In the late 1970s – the early 1980s when the pollen values of cereals gradually diminished in assemblages, the quantity of pollen of other anthropogenic indicators were also significantly reduced, which reflects the overall processes of the agriculture decline in the forest zone of the former USSR.

Open access

Małgorzata Zaremba, Jerzy Trzciński and Fabian Welc

Abstract

The Tell el-Retaba archaeological site is located in the middle part of Wadi Tumilat, which extends along the north-eastern margin of the Nile Delta. It contains fragments of fortified and domestic objects of the ancient fortress and other constructions built of mud bricks. The establishment and functioning of the fortress is dated at the times of the reign of two great pharaohs, Ramesses II and Ramesses III (13th and 12th centuries BC). The grain size composition of the sediments used for mud brick production had significant influence on their physical and mechanical properties, which was used by the ancient Egyptians for the improvement of bricks. The finest fractions, clay and silt, which generally comprise clay minerals and organic matter played a significant role. These components significantly influenced the mud brick properties and resulted in a structural cohesion of the material. The second important component of mud bricks were coarse fractions – sand and gravel. The source of material used for brick production were the natural sediments located in the vicinity of the fortress, i.e. the Holocene lake clay and the Pleistocene gravel and sand of the gezira formation, deposited by a braided river. Clay sediments have a variable lithology as can be deduced from grain size composition of mud bricks and their properties. This variability was caused by a variable regime of the Nile, which supplied material to the lake basin. Geological studies were used to recognize ancient environment and morphology of the area, and to find clay, sand and gravel open-pits that existed in the area. The fortress site was selected optimally in relation to the landscape morphology and close vicinity of the source of basic material and water used for mud brick production. The area around the fortress was substantially transformed by humans due to settlement.