Soil and Archaeology
Soil is very important for archaeologists, because it provides
a source of information about the past climate, vegetation and
as well as man-made artefacts such as ancient metal tools, coins
Soil can preserve all kinds of things for thousands of years.
However, its ability to do this depends on the soil conditions,
especially the amount of water present in the soil throughout the
time the items are buried. Waterlogged soils are particularly
good at preserving objects, because they contain very little dissolved
oxygen, which is needed by the soil organisms responsible for decay.
Searching for ‘ecofacts’ such as plant and animal
remains, is a useful means of reconstructing how the ecology and
environment of the surrounding land may have once been, and how
it has changed. Fossilised snails and insects are particularly
estimating past climate, whilst preserved pollen grains and seed
can reveal which plant species made up the natural vegetation.
Additionally, soil and crop marks (best visible from
the air in dry weather) are good indicators of past
use of the land. These markings generally appear due to different
caused by buried structures such stone-walls and refilled ditches.