Can Soil Microbial Community Composition Distinguish Indoor and Outdoor Spaces?

Author(s): Brigid Grund; Stephen Williams

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Hell Gap at 60: Myth? Reality? What Has It Taught Us?" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Various methods have been used to differentiate among activity areas at archaeological sites (e.g., element and lipid analysis), but additional work in this area is needed. To our knowledge, no previous studies have attempted to classify indoor and outdoor spaces by examining soil microbial community composition. Phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis is a technique widely employed by soil scientists to estimate microbial presence in soils. PLFA signatures may be used to identify the occurrence and prevalence of certain groups of soil microbiota, such as bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. Ethnoarchaeological soil samples collected from inside and outside nomadic Dukha house footprints in Northern Mongolia in 2013 produced significantly different PLFA signatures, indicating that this technique could potentially inform archaeological interpretation. In 2014, soil samples were collected from inside and outside stone circles at the Hell Gap Tipi Ring site (48GO556) in eastern Wyoming, just southwest of the well-known Hell Gap Locality 1 Paleoindian site (48GO305). In this poster, PLFA results from Mongolia and Hell Gap are compared to determine whether differences in PLFA signatures persist on a timescale that is archaeologically useful.

Cite this Record

Can Soil Microbial Community Composition Distinguish Indoor and Outdoor Spaces?. Brigid Grund, Stephen Williams. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452203)

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23745