8th Experimental Archaeology Conference abstract – Banerjea et al

Using experimental archaeology to identify roofed and unroofed spaces in the archaeological record Banjerea et al

Using experimental archaeology to identify roofed and un-roofed spaces in the archaeological record

Rowena Y Banerjea , Martin Bell & Wendy Matthews

Department of Archaeology, School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science University of Reading, Whiteknights, RG6 6AB, UK

A PDF of this poster is available to download.

Experimental archaeology is a powerful strand of research to be used in the investigation of archaeological site formation processes. Using a micromorphological approach, deposits within experimental structures at Butser Ancient Farm, Hants, and St. Fagans, UK and Lejre Historical and Archaeological Research Centre, Denmark, were examined. The results are compared with data from archaeological deposits within a series of early and mid-Roman (c. 70-80 AD – c. 200 AD) earthen and timber-framed buildings from Insula IX, Silchester, Hants, UK. Clear sedimentary alterations occured as a result of post-depositional events. Micromorphological characteristics attributed to both trampling as a formation process and post-depositional alteration have been identified in experimental and archaeological sediments at these temperate sites. The locations of trampled sediment in archaeological buildings have been used to identify wet areas of buildings such as doorways or semi-open spaces in the archaeological record; differentiation between the two may be determined by the category of clay coatings. In addition, failing roofs can radically transform occupation deposits within buildings and eventually lead to soil development, which may resemble a ‘dark earth’; this could have significant implications for the identification of structures in the archaeological record.

Banerjea, RY, Bell, M, Matthews, W & Brown, A (In press) Applications of micromorphology to understanding activity areas and site formation processes in experimental hut floors. Journal of Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

La Motta, VM & Schiffer, MB (1999) Formation processes of house floor assemblages. In PM Allison (ed) The Archaeology of Household Activities. London and New York: Routledge

Macphail, R I, Galinie, H, Verhaeghe, F (2003) A future for dark earth. Antiquity 349-358

Matthews, W, French, CAI, Lawrence, T, Cutler, DF & Jones, MK (1997) Microstratigraphic traces of site formation processes and human activities. World Archaeology 29 (2), 281-308

Schiffer, MB (1987) Formation Processes of the Archaeological Record. University of Utah Press

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