Davidson, D. A., Dercon, G., Stewart, M. and Watson, F. (2006). The legacy of past urban waste disposal on local soils. J Archaeol Sci 33 (6). Vol 33(6), pp. 778-783.

Title
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Title:
The legacy of past urban waste disposal on local soils
Issue
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Issue:
J Archaeol Sci 33 (6)
Series
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Series:
Journal of Archaeological Science
Volume
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Volume:
33 (6)
Page Start/End
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Page Start/End:
778 - 783
Biblio Note
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Biblio Note
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Publication Type
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Publication Type:
Journal
Abstract
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Abstract:
The authors contend that many attributes of present day soils can only be explained by reference to land management in the historic past, a factor which is particularly well expressed in the plaggen soils which occur extensively on the north European plain. These deepened soils owe their dominant characteristics to the application from the twelfth century of turf materials, often impregnated with dung. Similar deepening of soils can result from the disposal of urban waste. The paper discusses the results of soil research focused on a small Scottish town (Nairn). A soil survey revealed topsoils of over 1m overlying fluvioglacial sands and gravels; such deepening is explained by the use of town waste on the burgh's arable lands from at least the seventeenth century up until the mid-nineteenth century when an integrated sewerage system was installed. Micromorphological study of this deepened topsoil revealed the presence of many small black carbonaceous particles. Oxygen:carbon ratios were calculated from microprobe results as a means of confirming the carbonaceous nature of these particles. Soil phosphorus was primarily concentrated on the perimeter of these particles. The high quality of present day soils on the edge of the town is explained by the disposal of waste material, which included much carbonised material. The paper highlights the importance and potential of examining the gradation in soils from urban to rural contexts.
Author
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Author:
Donald A Davidson
Gerd Dercon
Mairi Stewart
Fiona Watson
Year of Publication
Year of Publication
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Year of Publication:
2006
Locations
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Subjects / Periods:
Fluvioglacial Sands (Auto Detected Subject))
Soil Phosphorus (Auto Detected Subject))
Midnineteenth Century (Auto Detected Temporal)
Gravels (Auto Detected Subject))
Source
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Source:
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BIAB (The British & Irish Archaeological Bibliography (BIAB))
Created Date
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Created Date:
15 May 2006