Aiding Archaeological Site Interpretation through Soil Geochemistry

Author(s): Michael J. Gall

Year: 2016


This paper synthesizes the results of 45 soil geochemical studies undertaken on historic archaeological sites in Delaware since the 1990s that utilized weak acid extraction methods. Analysis was completed as part of an alternative mitigation survey for Delaware’s U.S. Route 301 project. The data reveals the importance of soil geochemistry in site and feature interpretation, site boundary delineation, archaeological site prospection, and spatial use analysis within sites. Soil geochemistry aids in the identification of ephemeral structures and myriad yard use areas that may not be reflected by artifact distribution patterns and features alone. The study highlights the crucial role of combining multi-element analysis and other soil attribute data to cost efficiently aid in archaeological site interpretation. Key element attributes of various feature types, appropriate sampling methodology, and analyses will be presented.

Cite this Record

Aiding Archaeological Site Interpretation through Soil Geochemistry. Michael J. Gall. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434606)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 124