Thursday, December 27, 2012

0138 - Ditches and pollen

The pollen record is one of the documents available for the knowledge of ancient landscapes and environments. The approach to these “documents” is always problematic, for post depositional events of taphonomic origin can be of significant interference.

Well ditches, as a receptor, can be an important kind of context to provide good results in this kind of approach to ancient landscapes and to human interaction with them. Naturally, as all contexts, ditches have their problems. Natural problems, like the fact that they are drains (intended or not) or recipients of erosion, but also cultural ones, such as the intentional nature of the fillings, interfere in the “construction” of the pollen record. But, nevertheless, these “negative contexts” are particular important for their particular conditions of sedimentation and preservation.          

So, in Perdigões, after a first test (Wheeler, 2010), we initiated a project, in the context of the program of IGESPAR for “Archaeosciences” (2012), to use these “documents” in the reconstruction of local and regional flora landscapes, to infer about the human strategies regarding the exploitation of that environment and start to have a notion of the human impact in it.

Sample in ditch 6
The Perdigões site is particular interesting for this kind of approach, since have ditch structures dating from a time span of almost 1500 years. That could provide an important record of the evolution of local and regional landscapes and of human strategies of use of those territories.

The systematic sample collection started this year: in ditches 6, 8 and 12.

Bibliographic References:
Wheeler, Jane (2010), "Paleoenvironmental assessment of two archaeological sediments from Perdigões, Alentejo region, Portugal", Apontamentos de Arqueologia e Património, 6, Lisboa, NIA-ERA Arqueologia, p.41-45. 

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