Archaeological Prospection of a High Altitude Neolithic Site in the Arctic Mountain Tundra Region of Northern Sweden
(English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science, ISSN 0305-4403, E-ISSN 1095-9238Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
The project Arctic Sweden initiated during the International Polar Year (2007-2008) was aimed at investigating aspects of the natural and cultural environment in this area. During the summer of 2008 archaeological excavations and geophysical prospection surveys were carried out in the mountain tundra region of north-western Sweden. The investigations focused on locating settlement remains connected with a Middle Neolithic tool production site discovered by archaeologists in 2001. Magnetic susceptibility surveys using the MS2D system by Bartington Instruments and an EM38 by Geonics measuring the Inphase component of the electromagnetic field were used for the prospection of measureable traces of anthropogenic activity and structures such as hearths and middens within the estimated settlement area. Soil samples for phosphate analysis were also collected and analysed using a field analysis method developed by Merck. The magnetic susceptibility measurements successfully located a waste heap containing fire-cracked stones and refuse from a seasonal settlement. The results of the survey were confirmed by subsequent archaeological excavations, which also revealed a piece of resin with the imprint of a human tooth. One additional piece of resin dated the site to 3340 to 3100 BC. The soil phosphate analysis showed slightly increased values over the central part of the site and over the heap of fire-cracked stones, suggesting the applicability of the method to a mountain tundra environment. Comparison between the MS2D and EM38 measurements revealed a weak impact of the bedrock on the results, indicating a potential for the applicability of magnetic surveys to this specific type of environment. Future geophysical archaeological prospection in the Swedish mountain tundra region could benefit from a combined approach using high-resolution magnetometry and magnetic susceptibility measurements.
Magnetic susceptibility, Phosphate, Sweden, Archaeological prospection, Stone Age, Geophysical survey
Research subject Archaeological Science
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79237OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-79237DiVA: diva2:548440