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Pollen Record Formation Processes in Temperate Zone Archaeological Sites

Author(s): Gerald Kelso

Year: 2015

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Summary

The pollen spectra of archaeological sites in the temperate zone are subject to post-deposition modifications in the form of earthworms mixing the pollen in the humus zone.They are subsequently percolated downward in rainwater, at rates that vary with the location and nature of the matrix, and are physically degraded by aerobic fungi, by groundwater oxygen, and by repeated hydration and dehydration.These processes produce a profile with the highest pollen concentrations at the top and quantities of pollen grains that are too degraded to be identified that increase with depth. Eventually a depth is reached at which no identifiable pollen remains.Pollen contemporaneous with cultural activity in both prehistoric and historical-era archaeological sites has, however, been recovered in archaeological matrices from under flat rocks and artifacts, from under and inside structures, from under slopewash, from under both large and small earthworks, from in and under fills in ditches, from under mollusk shells positioned concave side down, and from the copper and iron oxides around buried artifacts.Soil compaction in urban sites also preserves historical-era pollen spectra in situ.

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Cite this Record

Pollen Record Formation Processes in Temperate Zone Archaeological Sites. Gerald Kelso. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396461)


Keywords

General
Pollen

Geographic Keywords
North America - Northeast


Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;

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