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Archaeological Prospection of a High Altitude Neolithic Site in the Arctic Mountain Tundra Region of Northern Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Archaeological Research Laboratory.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Archaeological Research Laboratory.
(English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science, ISSN 0305-4403, E-ISSN 1095-9238Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

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.

Keyword [en]
Magnetic susceptibility, Phosphate, Sweden, Archaeological prospection, Stone Age, Geophysical survey
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79237OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-79237DiVA: diva2:548440
Available from: 2012-08-30 Created: 2012-08-30 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Remnant echoes of the past: Archaeological geophysical prospection in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Remnant echoes of the past: Archaeological geophysical prospection in Sweden
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis has been to investigate the benefits, pitfalls and possibilities of using geophysical methods in archaeological projects. This is exemplified by surveys carried out at archaeological sites in different geographical and chronological contexts. The thesis also aims at investigating the cause for the under-use of the methods in Swedish archaeology by looking at previously conducted surveys. The methods used during these surveys have been Ground-penetrating radar (GPR), magnetometer, slingram and a kappameter. The surveys in the mountain tundra region of Lapland show that magnetic susceptibility surveys is a valuable aid in discovering heaps of fire-cracked stones and when combined with magnetometry, also hearths. GPR and magnetometer surveys within the Migration Period ringfort Sandbyborg provided the spatial layout of the fort and indicated, along with results from recent excavations and metal detections, many similarities with the ringfort Eketorp II. The non-magnetic character of the sedimentary bedrock on Öland and Gotland is suitable for magnetometer surveys and the method is also highly appropriate for the detection of the remains of high-temperature crafts. GPR surveys at St. Mary’s Dominican convent in Sigtuna produced the spatial layout of the central cloister area. The investigations also show that the geology, pedology, land use and the character of commonly occurring prehistoric remains in Sweden, in certain circumstances and in certain areas, have restricted the possibility of successfully carrying out geophysical surveys. Care must therefore be taken to choose the right instrument for the survey and to tailor the sampling density of each geophysical survey, according to the character and size of the expected archaeological remains, in order to maximize their information return. To increase the use of geophysical methods in Sweden the educational opportunities, both for surveyors and professional archaeologists, need to improve.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, 2012. 116 p.
Series
Theses and papers in scientific archaeology, ISSN 1400-7835 ; 13
Keyword
Archaeological prospection, geophysical survey, Sweden, Ground-penetrating radar, magnetometry, Slingram, magnetic susceptibility, Neolithic, Migration period, Viking Age, Middle Ages, Öland, Gotland, Sigtuna, Lapland
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79239 (URN)978-91-7447-549-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-10-12, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 20 C, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2012-09-20 Created: 2012-08-30 Last updated: 2012-09-26Bibliographically approved

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