Evidence of a homestead from the Late Bronze Age at the Ruda site (Northern Poland) based on archaeopedological studies

Maciej Markiewicz 1  and Anna Rembisz-Lubiejewska 2
  • 1 Department of Soil Science and Landscape Management, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland
  • 2 Archaeological Laboratory Archeo-Lab, Gdańsk, Poland


Based on archaeological data and pedological analysis, an attempt was made to reconstruct the functional pattern of a farmstead from the Late Bronze Age at the Ruda site (Northern Poland). Late Bronze Age human activity in the area and immediate vicinity of the homestead led to changes in the chemical properties of the soils. Different values of phosphorus and organic carbon content in the features and cultural layers may help interpretation of the past spatial development and use of the studied households. The areas with the highest concentration are linked with places of intense economic activity, and the small increase in the phosphorus content in the soil from the homestead may suggest a relatively short exploitation of this place, which would correspond with the small number of artefacts from that area. Features similar to the presented Late Bronze Age homestead have not been recorded before in the Polish territory. Analogous spatial assumptions are known from the Carpathian Highlands as well as from the north (German and Scandinavian territories).

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • ARRHENIUS O., 1931, Die Bodenanalyse im Dienst der Archaologie. Zeitschrift fur Pflanzenernahrung, Dungung und Bodenkunde, Teil B, 10 Jahrgang: 427-439.

  • AUDOUZE F., BUCHSENSCHUTZ O., 1989, Villes, villages et campagnes de l’Europe celtique, Poitiers.

  • BARON J., 2004, Budownictwo i organizacja przestrzenna osady z końca epoki brązu i wczesnej epoki żelaza w Polwicy na Śląsku, [in:] B. Gediga (ed.), Budownictwo i architektura epoki brązu i żelaza w Europie Środkowej - problemy rekonstrukcji. Biskupin, 08-10. 07. 2004.

  • BEDNAREK R., 2000, Gleby kopalne jako źrodło informacji o zmianach środowiska przyrodniczego. AUNC Geografia, 31: 47-63.

  • BEDNAREK R., JANKOWSKI M., 2000, Wyniki badań paleopedologicznych przeprowadzonych na stanowisku archeologicznym Ruda 4. Manuskrypt w Instytucie Archeologii UMK, Toruń, 22.

  • BEDNAREK R., KAMIŃSKI D., MARKIEWICZ M., CHRZANOWSKI W., ZBYSZEWSKA K., 2010, Transformations of soils and forest communities in the areas of early medieval strongholds (examples of Chełmno Land). Polish Journal of Soil Science 43, 1: 93-101.

  • BUKOWSKI Z., 2004, Proby rekonstrukcji domostw z epoki brązu ze strefy nordyjskiej. Wybrane przykłady. [in:] Gediga B. (ed.), Budownictwo i architektura epoki brązu i żelaza w Europie Środkowej - proby rekonstrukcji. Biskupin, 08-10.07.

  • CANUTO M.A., CHARTON J.P., BELL E.E., 2010, Let no space go to waste, comparing the uses of space between two Late Classic centers in the El Paraiso Valley, Copan, Honduras. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37: 30-41.

  • CHUDZIAK W., BOJARSKI J., 1996, Sprawozdanie z archeologicznych prac rozpoznawczych (powierzchniowych i sondażowych) przeprowadzonych w strefie budowy autostrady A-1 na terenie wojewodztwa toruńskiego, (maszynopis w archiwum Zespołu do Badań Autostrady A1; Instytut Archeologii UMK), Toruń.

  • COOK S.F., HEIZER R.F., 1965, Studies on the Chemical Analysis of Archaeological Sites, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.

  • CRADDOCK P.T., GURNEY D., PRYOR F., HUGHS M., 1986, The application of phosphate analysis to the location and interpretation of archaeological sites. Archeological Journal, 142: 361-376.

  • CROWTHER J., 1997, Soil phosphate surveys: critical approaches to sampling, analysis and interpretation. Archeological Prospection, 4: 93-102.

  • DAUNCY K.D.M., 1952, Phosphorus content of soils on archaeological sites. Advancement of Science, 9: 33-37.

  • DĄBROWSKI J., 1990, Rozwoj stosunkow kulturowych na Pomorzu w epoce brązu,[in:] Malinowski T. (ed.), Problemy kultury łużyckiej na Pomorzu. Słupsk: 75-87.

  • DEMKIN W.A., 1997, Paleopočvovedenie i archeologija: integracja prirody i obščestva. RAN, Puščino.

  • DEMKIN V.A., BORISOV A.V., ALEKSEEV A.O., DEMKINA T.S., ALEKSEEVA T.V., KHOMUTOVA T.E., 2004, Integration of paleopedology and archaeology in studying the evolution of soils, environment and human society. Eurasian Soil Science, 37 (Suppl. 1): 1-13.

  • DEMKIN V.A., KLEPIKOV V.M., UDALTSOV S.N., DEMKINA T.S., ELTSOV M.V., KHOMUTOVA T.E., 2014, New aspects of natural science studies of archaeological burial monuments (kurgans) in the southern Russian steppes. Journal of Archeological Science, 42: 241-249.

  • DERGAČEVA M.I., 1997, Archeologičeskoje počvovedenie. Izd. SO RAN, Novosibirsk.

  • DROZDOWSKI E., 1974, Geneza Basenu Grudziądzkiego w świetle osadow i form glacjalnych. Prace Geograficzne, 184: 1-139.

  • FARSWAN Y.S., NAUTIYAL V., 1997, Investigation of phosphorus enrichment in the burial soil of Kumaun, mid-central Himalaya, India. Journal of Archeological Science, 24: 251-258.

  • FOGEL J. 1993, Uwagi o niektorych faktorach i szlakach wymiany ponadregionalnej na Pomorzu na przełomie epoki brązu i żelaza. [in:] Miscellanea archaeologica Thaddaeo Malinowski dedicata quae Franciscus Rożnowski redigendum curavit, Słupsk - Poznań: 137-146.

  • GEBHARDT H., 1982. Phosphatkartierung und bodenkundliche Gelandeuntersuchugen zur Eingrenzung historischer Siedlungs- und Wirtschaftsflachen der Geestinsel Flogeln, Kreis Cuxhaven. [in:] Probleme der Kustenforschung im sudlichen Nordseegebiet, 14: 1-10.

  • HAYES M.H.B., SWIFT R.S., 1978, The chemistry of soil organic colloides, [in:] The chemistry of soil constituents (ed. M.H.B. Hayes), John Wiley, New York: 179-291.

  • HOLLIDAY V.T., GARTNER, W.G., 2007, Methods of soil P analysis in archaeology. Journal of Archeological Science, 34: 301-333.

  • IUSS Working Group WRB, 2015, World Reference Base for Soil Resources 2014, update 2015. International soil classification system for naming soils and creating legends for soil maps. World Soil Resources Reports No. 106. FAO, Rome.

  • JAMES P., 1999, Soil variability in the area of an archaeological site near Sparta, Greece. Journal of Archeological Science, 26: 1273-1288.

  • JASZEWSKA A., KAŁAGATE S., 2006, Wstępne wyniki badań archeologicznych na autostradzie A18 Olszyna - Golnice (nitka połnocna), [in:] Z. Bukowski, M. Gierlach (eds.), Zeszyty Ośrodka Ochrony Dziedzictwa Archeologicznego, seria B: Materiały Archeologiczne, Raport 2003-2004, t. 2: 445-490.

  • KONECKA-BETLEY K., OKOŁOWICZ M., 1988, Phosphorus - as an indicator of the man activity in Pleistocene. Soil Science Annual, 49, 2: 87-94.

  • KRISTIANSEN S. M., 2001, Present-day soil distribution explained by prehistoric land-use: Podzol-Arenosol variation in an ancient woodland in Denmark. Geoderma, 103: 273-289.

  • LIPPI R.D., 1988, Paleotopography and phosphate analysis of buried jungle site in Ecuador. Journal of Field Archaeology, 15: 85-97.

  • LUZZADDER-BEACH S., BEACH T., TERRY R.E., DOCTOR K.Z., 2011, Elemental prospecting and geoarchaeology in Turkey and Mexico. Catena, 85: 119-129.

  • MICHALSKI J., 1982, Typy osad otwartych kultury łużyckiej, ich rozprzestrzenienie na terenie Polski oraz liczba zamieszkującej je ludności. [in:] Hensel W. (ed.), Przemiany ludnościowe i kulturowe I tysiąclecia p.n.e. na ziemiach między Odrą i Dnieprem. Wrocław: 375-388.

  • NIESIOŁOWSKA-WĘDZKA A., 1989, Procesy urbanizacyjne w kulturze łużyckiej w świetle oddziaływań kultur południowych. Wrocław.

  • PARNELL J.J., TERRY R.E., NELSON Z., 2002, Soil chemical analysis applied as an integrative tool for ancient human activities in Piedras Negras, Guatemala. Journal of Archeological Science, 29: 379-404.

  • PECCI A., ONTIVEROS M.A.C., VALDAMBRINI C., INSERRA F., 2013, Understanding residues of oil production: chemical analyses of floors in traditional mills. Journal of Archeological Science, 40: 883-893.

  • PRUSINKIEWICZ Z., BEDNAREK R., KOŚKO A., SZMYT M., 1998, Paleopedological studies of the age and properties of illuvial bands a tan archaeological site. Quaternary International, 51/52: 195-201.

  • ROOS C.I., NOLAN K.C., 2012, Phosphates, plowzones, and plazas: a minimally invasive approach to settlement structure of plowed village sites. Journal of Archeological Science, 39: 23-32.

  • SALISBURY R.B., 2012a, Soilscapes and settlements: remote mapping of activity areas in unexcavated prehistoric farmsteads. Antiquity, 86, 331: 178-190.

  • SALISBURY R.B., 2012b, Engaging with soil, past and present, Journal of Material Culture, 17, 1: 23-41.

  • SALISBURY R.B., 2013, Interpolating geochemical pattering of activity zones at Late Neolithic and Early Copper Age Settlement in eastern Hungary. Journal of Archeological Science, 40: 926-934.

  • SAPEK A., SAPEK B., 2004, Phosphorus. [in:] Merian E., Anke M., Ihnat M. and Stoeppler M., (eds.), Elements and their compounds in environment. Occurrence, analysis and biological relevance. VILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KgaA: 1285-1296.

  • SCHLEZINGER D.R., HOWES, B.L., 2000, Organic phosphorus and elemental ratios as indicators of prehistoric human occupation. Journal of Archeological Science, 27: 479-492.

  • SCUDDER S.J., FOSS J.E., COLLINS M.E., 1996, Soil Science and Archaeology. [in:] Sparks D.L. (Ed.), Advances in Agronomy, Academic Press, San Diego, CA: 1-76.

  • SMECK N.E., 1973, Phosphorus: an indicator of pedogenetic weathering processes. Soil Science, 115: 199-206.

  • STEVENSON F.J., 1985. Geochemistry of soil humic substances. [in:] Aiken F.R., Wershaw R.L., MacCarthy P. (eds.), John Wiley, New York: 13-52.

  • TERRY R.E., FERNANDEZ F.G., PARNELL J.J., INOMATA T., 2004, The story in the floors: chemical signatures of ancient and modern Maya activities at Aguateca, Guatemala. Journal of Archeological Science, 31: 1237-1250.

  • VAN REEUWIJK L.P., 2006, Procedures for soil analysis. 7th Edition. Technical Report 9, ISRIC-World Soil Information, Wageningen, Netherlands.

  • WELLS E.C., TERRY R.E., HARDIN P.J., PARNELL J.J., HOUSTON S.D., JACKSON M.W., 2000. Chemical analyses of ancient anthrosols in residential areas at Piedras Negras, Guatemala. Journal of Archeological Science, 27: 449-462.

  • ZÖLITZ, R., 1980, Phosphatuntrsuchungen zur funktionalen Differenzierung in einem Volkerwanderungszeitlichen Langhaus von Norre Snede, Danemark. Archaol. Korrespondenzblat, 3: 273-280.


Journal + Issues