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A Neolithic palaeo-catena for the XagAs.ra Upper Coralline Limestone plateau of Gozo, Malta, and its implications for past soil development and land use.(Report)

French, Charles ; Taylor, Sean ; Mclaughlin, Rowan ; Cresswell, Alan ; Kinnaird, Tim ; Sanderson, David ; Stoddart, Simon ; Malone, Caroline

Catena, 2018, Vol.171, p.337 [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    A Neolithic palaeo-catena for the XagAs.ra Upper Coralline Limestone plateau of Gozo, Malta, and its implications for past soil development and land use.(Report)
  • Autor: French, Charles ; Taylor, Sean ; Mclaughlin, Rowan ; Cresswell, Alan ; Kinnaird, Tim ; Sanderson, David ; Stoddart, Simon ; Malone, Caroline
  • Assuntos: Archaeology – Analysis ; Land Use – Analysis ; Land Development – Usage ; Land Development – Analysis ; Agricultural Associations – Usage ; Agricultural Associations – Analysis ; Land Use Controls – Analysis ; Excavations (Archaeology) – Analysis
  • É parte de: Catena, 2018, Vol.171, p.337
  • Descrição: Keywords Micromorphology; Brown/red Mediterranean soils; Argillic; Calcification; Rubefication; A gantija and Santa Verna temples Highlights * Buried soils at two Neolithic sites on Gozo tell a new story of soil development. * Micromorphological analysis shows these soils are well-developed argillic brown soils. * Human activities and xerification led to rapid degradation and calcification. * There is evidence of amending these deteriorating soils in the mid-3rd M BCE. Abstract Geoarchaeological survey on the island of Gozo combined with test excavations and new chronometric dating of two Neolithic temple sites at Santa Verna and A gantija on the XagAs.ra plateau have revealed well-preserved buried soils which tell a new story of soil development and change for the early-mid-Holocene period. Micromorphological analysis has suggested that the earlier Neolithic climax soil type was a thick, well-developed, humic and clay-enriched argillic brown Mediterranean soil. With human intervention on the XagAs.ra Upper Coralline Limestone plateau from at least the early 4th millennium BCE, the trajectory of soil development quickly changed. Radical soil change was marked by the removal of scrub woodland, then consequent poorer organic status and soil thinning, and rubefication and calcification, no doubt exacerbated by Neolithic agricultural activities and a more general longer-term aridification trend. The beginnings of this transitional brown to red Mediterranean soil change process has been observed at Santa Verna temple by the early 4th millennium BCE, and appears to be much further advanced by the time of the latter use of A gantija temple in the early-mid-3rd millennium BCE. There is also evidence of attempts at amending these deteriorating soils during this period and into the 2nd millennium BCE, a practice which probably underpinned the viability of later Neolithic agricultural society in the Maltese Islands. The changes observed ultimately resulted in the creation of the thin, xeric, red Mediterranean soils on the Coralline Limestone mesa plateaux which are typical of much of Gozo and Malta today. Author Affiliation: (a) Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3DZ, England, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (b) Department of Archaeology, Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (c) Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, East Kilbride, Scotland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (d) School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of St Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 10 October 2017; Revised 2 May 2018; Accepted 24 July 2018 Byline: Charles French [caif2@cam.ac.uk] (a,*), Sean Taylor (a), Rowan McLaughlin (b), Alan Cresswell (c), Tim Kinnaird (c,d), David Sanderson (c), Simon Stoddart (a), Caroline Malone (b)
  • Idioma: Inglês

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