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Integrated Anthrosol Prospection at Betty’s Hope Historic Sugarcane Plantation, Antigua, British West Indies

Author(s): E. Christian Wells ; Georgia L. Fox ; Christopher K. Waters

Year: 2015

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Summary

Multi-elemental geochemical prospection of soils and sediments has become a highly useful technique for understanding past activity areas and the behaviors that produced them. However, this technique has limited interpretive potential, because it can only identify possible locations of different classes of activities. More importantly, there has been little research to evaluate the processes and elemental loadings that characterize different types of spaces. By studying known contexts and integrating geochemical data with other kinds of information about soil properties, which often co-vary in informative ways, the interpretive potential of this approach can broaden significantly. In this paper, we compare the results of a multi-elemental analysis using ICP-MS with extractable inorganic phosphate, organic matter and carbonates, pH, particle size, and magnetic susceptibility from anthrosols collected in a horse stable from Betty’s Hope, a former sugarcane plantation that operated continuously from 1651-1944. We use this case study to demonstrate how integrated anthrosol prospection from established behavioral contexts can provide evidence-based inferences for past human activities and land use in other settings.

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Integrated Anthrosol Prospection at Betty’s Hope Historic Sugarcane Plantation, Antigua, British West Indies. E. Christian Wells, Christopher K. Waters, Georgia L. Fox. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395461)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America