The contribution of POSL and PXRF to the discussion on sedimentary and site formation processes in archaeological contexts of the southern Levant and the interpretation of biblical strata at Tel Burna

Martin Petr Janovský, Jan Horák, Oren Ackermann, Aharon Tavger, Deborah Cassuto, Ladislav Šmejda, Michal Hejcman, Yaakov Anker, Itzhaq Shai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Site formation processes at ancient tells in the southern Levant have been the focus of several micromorphological studies, contributing to the differentiation of anthropogenic remains from long-term natural sedimentation, occurring post-abandonment. This paper discusses how the study of sedimentary processes and chemical compositions of sediments can be used within the context of an ongoing archaeological project, and how they can contribute to archaeological, historical and geomorphological interpretations. Sedimentary processes were studied implementing POSL, granulometry and PXRF as part of the archaeological research at Tel Burna, Israel. Focusing on the area along the northwestern fortification walls (Area B2), data was collected from multiple strata inside and outside the casemate fortifications dating from the Late Bronze Age to the Late Iron Age. The gradual increase of OSL values obtained inside the casemate wall, indicate accumulation of sediment during a long period of time. Whereas similar values along the entire profile outside the casemate wall indicate sediment accumulation in one-time event. This might be related to defensive preparations, allegedly in response to advances made by Sennacherib's army in 701 BCE. In addition, results from the PXRF studies demonstrated correlation between human activities and the Cu, P, K, Zn, Mn values. Specifically, it was found that as K content increased from younger to older periods, it can be used as a pseudo-dating element. Ca content decreased as sampling descended from the tell's surface, suggesting its origin in long-term aeolian processes. The results show that the use of POSL and PXRF on archaeological contexts are useful for determining sedimentary processes. Furthermore, chemical content enabled pseudo-dating of strata and facilitated the distinction between natural and anthropogenic processes in archaeological sites and landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-34
Number of pages11
JournalQuaternary International
Volume618
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

Keywords

  • Anthropocene
  • Bronze and iron ages
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Granulometry
  • Portable OSL reader
  • Portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry

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