Abstract: A combined archaeomagnetic and thermoluminescence study was carried out as part of a rescue archaeological excavation on a kiln discovered during the installation of methane gas pipelines beneath a rice field, along the southern border of Fontanetto Po village (Vercelli province, Italy). A total of 23 independent brick samples have been collected, oriented in situ with an inclinometer; the use of magnetic and sun compass was not possible due to the existence of metallic tubes beneath the kiln and a plastic cover above it. Standard archaeomagnetic procedures have been used for the determination of the archaeomagnetic inclination and absolute geomagnetic intensity. Stepwise thermal demagnetization shows a very stable characteristic remanent magnetization and the calculated mean inclination of the 23 samples is I = 65.3° with α95 = 2.4° and k = 156. Archaeointensity experiments have been performed using the classical Thellier method as modified by Coe, with regular partial thermoremanent magnetization (pTRM) checks. The cooling rate and remanence anisotropy effects upon thermoremanent magnetization (TRM) have been investigated in all the specimens. A total of 19 archaeointensity determinations (at specimen level) that correspond to linear NRM–TRM plots were used for the calculation of the site mean archaeointensity that is 46.4 ± 2.9 μT. Archaeomagnetic dating results show two possible dating intervals for the last 1000 years, calculated at 95% confidence interval: a first one from 1511 to 1614 AD, and a second one from 1768 to 1872 AD. Thermoluminescence (TL) study has been also performed on two brick samples from the kiln's internal wall, using conventional laboratory procedures. According to the thermoluminescence results the kiln's last usage lies between 1796 and 1914 AD. This age is in good agreement with the second dating interval obtained by the archaeomagnetic analysis. The combined archaeomagnetic and thermoluminescence results suggest that the last firing of the kiln could have occurred between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of 20th century.
Keywords: Rescue excavation; Archaeomagnetism; Thermoluminescence dating; Kiln; Italy
Auli Bläuer, Juha Kantanen, Transition from hunting to animal husbandry in Southern, Western and Eastern Finland: new dated osteological evidence, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 40, Issue 4, April 2013, Pages 1646-1666, ISSN 0305-4403, 10.1016/j.jas.2012.10.033.
Abstract: The beginning of animal husbandry in Finland is one of the most debated topics in Finnish archaeology. For this study a total of 69 bone materials from archaeological sites in Southern, Western and Eastern Finland, dating from the Middle Neolithic to the Early Metal Period, were analysed: 52 represented identifiable animal bones. These data were complemented with those from previously analysed bone materials. A total of 19 domestic animal bones were radiocarbon-dated to determine their connection with a particular cultural period. However, 13 of them proved to belong to the historical and not the prehistoric period, emphasizing the importance of radiocarbon-dating and context awareness when interpreting prehistoric bone materials. Among the radiocarbon-dated material were the oldest dated sheep, cattle and horse bones in Finland. The oldest radiocarbon-dated domestic animal bone in Finland, from sheep or goat, derives from the Late Stone Age Kiukainen Culture site, while cattle and horse bones date to the Bronze Age. This is later than expected. However, the available material does not exclude the possibility that some animal husbandry was practised in Finland earlier. Nevertheless, domestic animal bones are rare in samples dated to the cultural periods studied, while hunting and fishing represented important subsistence activities.
Keywords: Zooarchaeology; Animal husbandry; Finland; Corded Ware; Kiukainen Culture; Bronze Age; Early Metal Period; Bone material; Domestic animals; Radiocarbon-dating
John Dodson, Pauline Grierson, John Bennett, Susana Melo de Howard, Henri Wong, Nuclear science and the story of a preserved leaf from a copy of the Great Bible, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 40, Issue 4, April 2013, Pages 1700-1702, ISSN 0305-4403, 10.1016/j.jas.2012.11.022.
Abstract: Three pressed leaves of Ulmus glabra (Wych Elm) were found within the pages of a copy of the Great Bible in the Library of the University of Western Australia. The Bible dates from AD 1540 and was originally housed at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire. A radiocarbon age on one of the leaves found it was about as old as the Great Bible itself, and stable C and N isotope and neutron activation analyses were carried out on the same leaf. The δ15N values were elevated and the content of iron, arsenic, bromine, silver, gold and mercury were relatively high. These analyses are consistent with an environment where water logging is present, as at Ely at the time, and the silver and gold content are probably consistent with the cathedral setting. The mercury was found to be associated with the red ink in the Bible. It is intriguing to ponder why Wych elm leaves were placed in the Bible, especially in the light that a copy of an original edition of the King James version of the Bible from Ely, also in the library in Perth has many dozens of U. glabra leaves also preserved within in its pages.
Keywords: Ancient Bible leaves; Nuclear methods; Environmental setting; Great Bible
Renée Enevold, Pollen studies of textile material from an Iron Age grave at Hammerum, Denmark, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 40, Issue 4, April 2013, Pages 1838-1844, ISSN 0305-4403, 10.1016/j.jas.2012.10.037.
Keywords: Pollen analysis; Prehistoric textiles; Iron Age; Grave excavation; Prehistoric agriculture
Karen B. Milek, Howell M. Roberts, Integrated geoarchaeological methods for the determination of site activity areas: a study of a Viking Age house in Reykjavik, Iceland, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 40, Issue 4, April 2013, Pages 1845-1865, ISSN 0305-4403, 10.1016/j.jas.2012.10.031.
Abstract: For over a decade, geoarchaeological methods such as multi-element analysis and soil micromorphology have been used to identify and interpret activity areas on archaeological sites. However, these techniques, along with others such as magnetic susceptibility, loss on ignition, and microrefuse, artefact and bone distribution analyses are rarely integrated in the study of a single site, even though they provide very different and potentially complementary data. This paper presents a comparative study of a wide range of geoarchaeological methods that were applied to the floors sediments of a Viking Age house at the site of Aðalstræti 16, in central Reykjavík, Iceland, along with more traditional artefact and bone distribution analyses, and a spatial study of floor layer boundaries and features in the building. In this study, the spatial distributions of artefacts and bones could only be understood in the light of the pH distributions, and on their own they provided limited insight into the use of space in the building. Each of the sediment analyses provided unique and valuable information about possible activity areas, with soil micromorphology proving to have the greatest interpretive power on its own. However, the interpretation potential of the geochemical methods was dramatically enhanced if they were integrated into a multi-method dataset.
Keywords: Activity areas; Soil micromorphology; Loss on ignition; Electrical conductivity; Magnetic susceptibility; ICP–AES; Viking Age houses
Hongen Jiang, Jun Yang, David K. Ferguson, Ya Li, ChangSui Wang, Cheng-Sen Li, Changjiang Liu, Fruit stones from Tiao Lei's tomb of Jiangxi in China, and their palaeoethnobotanical significance, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 40, Issue 4, April 2013, Pages 1911-1917, ISSN 0305-4403, 10.1016/j.jas.2012.11.009.
Abstract: Fruit stones were discovered in Mr. Tiao Lei's Tomb (around 300 AD) at Nanchang, China. The morphology and anatomy of the fruit stones were investigated. They are identified as belonging to three species, namely, Chinese plum (Prunus salicina Lindley), red bayberry (Myrica rubra Sieb. et Zucc.), and Chinese date (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.). These stones suggest the possibility of orchards in the local area, and the fresh or processed drupes of these three species probably played important roles in the tomb owner's life.
Keywords: Ancient horticulture; Archaeobotany; Fruit remains; Plant history