Special Issue "Soils as Archives of Human-Nature Interaction"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 March 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Alexandra A. Golyeva
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Russian Academy of Science
Interests: palaeopedology; palaeoecology in the Holocene; soil science; archaeopedology; ancient anthropogenic landscape reconstructions; microbiomorphycal analysis; soil science analysis
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soil is not only an important natural resource, it is also the main archive of the entire history of mankind. All civilizations, on all continents, arose, developed and collapsed on the soil. People influenced the soil, changed it—created cultural layers, ploughed, grazed cattle. They cut down trees, changed riverbeds, and created or drained lakes—that is, they completely changed the original landscape, primarily soil and vegetation. Consequently, in soils and soil-sedimentary deposits, a huge information pool has been preserved about the economic, household and ritual activities of people in the past.

This information can be of a different nature, in the form of unusual properties of the soils themselves or individual horizons, various macro- and microinclusions (coals, phytoliths, pollen, etc.), or in the enzymatic and microbial composition.

We invite all specialists working in the field of archaeological soil science and geoarchaeology to send their articles so that colleagues can benefit from their results. We have no restrictions on research methods—everything new will be welcomed. Articles that have taken an integrated approach will be especially welcome, as the results are usually the most informative and interesting in this case. 

Prof. Dr. Alexandra A. Golyeva
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Archaeopedology
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Pollen, phytoliths and other microparticles
  • Charcoal as result of humans
  • Burial mound
  • Cultural layers
  • Unusual chemical properties
  • Ferments

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Soil Formation, Subaerial Sedimentation Processes and Ancient Cultures during MIS 2 and the Deglaciation Phase MIS 1 in the Baikal–Yenisei Siberia (Russia)
Geosciences 2021, 11(8), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11080323 - 30 Jul 2021
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Abstract
The time of Sartan glaciation in the Baikal–Yenisei Siberia, is comparable with that of MIS 2 and the deglaciation phase MIS 1. Loess loams, aeolian–colluvial sands and sandy loams represent subaerial sediments. There are four subhorizons (sr1, sr2, sr [...] Read more.
The time of Sartan glaciation in the Baikal–Yenisei Siberia, is comparable with that of MIS 2 and the deglaciation phase MIS 1. Loess loams, aeolian–colluvial sands and sandy loams represent subaerial sediments. There are four subhorizons (sr1, sr2, sr3 and sr4) in the Sartan horizon (sr). Sedimentary and soil-forming processes at different stratigraphic levels are considered. Differing soil formation types of cold periods are distinguished. Soils of the interstadial type with the A-C profile are represented only in the Early Sartan section of this paper. The soils of the pleniglacial type are discussed throughout the section. Their initial profile is O-C, TJ-C and W-C. Plant detritus remnants or poor thin humus horizons are preserved in places from the upper horizons. We propose for the first time for the interphasial soil formation type of cold stages to be distinguished. This is represented in the sections by the preserved BCm, BCg, Cm and Cg horizons of 15–20 cm thick. The upper horizons are absent in most sections. According to the surviving fragments, these were organogenous (O, TJ and T) and organomineral (AO and W) horizons. The sedimentation and soil formation features are considered from the perspective reconstruction of the Sartan natural and climatic conditions. Buried Sartan soils often contain cultural layers. Soil formation shows a well-defined periodicity of natural condition stabilization, which allowed ancient populations to adapt actively to various situations. Archaeologists’ interest in fossil soils is based on the ability of soils to “record” information about the natural and climatic conditions of human habitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soils as Archives of Human-Nature Interaction)
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Article
The Pyrogenic Archives of Anthropogenically Transformed Soils in Central Russia
Geosciences 2021, 11(4), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11040165 - 06 Apr 2021
Viewed by 478
Abstract
Charred materials (anthracomass) stored within a soil constitute a major part of its pyrogenic archive and could provide evidence of past fire events, both natural and anthropogenic. However, the dynamics of man-made contributions to the total anthracomass of soil at different time scales [...] Read more.
Charred materials (anthracomass) stored within a soil constitute a major part of its pyrogenic archive and could provide evidence of past fire events, both natural and anthropogenic. However, the dynamics of man-made contributions to the total anthracomass of soil at different time scales are insufficiently understood. In this study, we determined the anthracomass concentrations, stocks, and particle-size distribution in anthropogenically transformed soils of different genesis and ages. Materials were collected from the following archaeological sites within Central Russia—3 Upper Paleolithic sites (Avdeevo, Khotylevo-2 and Yudinovo-1), 2 Early Iron Age settlements (Khotylevo-2 and Yaroslavl), and 1 Medieval site (Yaroslavl). Samples from different cultural layers (CLs), plough layers, and native soils (control) were studied. We identified anthracomass accumulation over a wide chronological scale starting from the Upper Paleolithic Period. The high degree of preservation of anthracomass in ancient anthropogenically transformed soils was explained by the presence of large fragments of charred bones, which are more durable in comparison to wood charcoal. The anthracomass concentrations and stocks in the Early Iron Age plough layer were lower than those in the Medieval plough layer. CLs were generally more enriched in the anthracomass than plough layers, due to their sedimentational genesis, which is more favorable for anthracomass preservation than the turbational genesis of plough layers. However, the differences between charred particle sizes in synlithogenic CLs and turbational plough layers were less clear than expected, due to the specific conditions of formation of each particular layer, e.g., burial rate, duration of ploughing, and type of agricultural land use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soils as Archives of Human-Nature Interaction)
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