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Anthropogenic overprints on natural coastal aeolian sediments: a study from the periphery of ancient Caesarea, Israel

Anthropogenic overprints on natural coastal aeolian sediments: a study from the periphery of ancient Caesarea, Israel
Anthropogenic overprints on natural coastal aeolian sediments: a study from the periphery of ancient Caesarea, Israel
Near surface sediment stratigraphy associated with ancient human settlements can potentially reveal the complex history of human impact. This study explores such impacts in the area around ancient Caesarea, a well-known Roman to Early Islam period metropolis in the central coastal plain of Israel, with analysis of human-induced macro-features and microscopic remains found in buried sediments. We retrieved these anthropogenic markers through boreholes and analysed them with sedimentological and radiometric dating techniques, integrated with archaeological and historical records. The analysis identified a refuse deposit comprising two grey loamy sand artefact-bearing facies bedded between late Holocene aeolian sand. One anthropogenic facies represents an urban garbage mound and the other may be an agricultural pedo-sediment, both dated to the Roman to Early Islamic periods. The grey pedo-sediment, contained in three boreholes in the lowlands south of Caesarea, covers an area of at least 1.4 km2. Apparently improved in terms of soil fertility, we postulate that the pedo-sediment is the outcome of composting enrichment of the soil for agriculture. Taking advantage of the high coastal freshwater aquifer in the study area, we propose that the pedo-sediment represents buried agricultural plots. The comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach demonstrated in this study of cored sediments outside ancient human settlements is among the few in the coastal area of the southern Levant. It could be relevant to other archaeological sites in the Mediterranean and elsewhere around the world.
2213-3054
22-34
Shtienberg, Gilad
e6fe71a5-00f1-4349-a0aa-75cbec5f60a3
Dix, Justin K.
efbb0b6e-7dfd-47e1-ae96-92412bd45628
Shahack-Gross, Ruth
13efb456-4847-40c5-945a-fb301be62785
Yasur-Landau, Assaf
42ea0740-2cf6-4c4c-8ce1-6c7a354c85af
Roskin, Joel
e5bc7892-eea4-4f51-8f65-509534ac7c54
Bookman, Revital
ea312479-1926-40b0-8818-fb65adb06ecb
Waldmann, Nicolas
e0677af4-c46b-4de1-9339-83202c101d52
Shalev, Sariel
bfb25512-3194-4e79-ae0b-46b78d25a222
Sivan, Dorit
4a0c96d8-ac68-47c5-999d-bb7053e5f709
Shtienberg, Gilad
e6fe71a5-00f1-4349-a0aa-75cbec5f60a3
Dix, Justin K.
efbb0b6e-7dfd-47e1-ae96-92412bd45628
Shahack-Gross, Ruth
13efb456-4847-40c5-945a-fb301be62785
Yasur-Landau, Assaf
42ea0740-2cf6-4c4c-8ce1-6c7a354c85af
Roskin, Joel
e5bc7892-eea4-4f51-8f65-509534ac7c54
Bookman, Revital
ea312479-1926-40b0-8818-fb65adb06ecb
Waldmann, Nicolas
e0677af4-c46b-4de1-9339-83202c101d52
Shalev, Sariel
bfb25512-3194-4e79-ae0b-46b78d25a222
Sivan, Dorit
4a0c96d8-ac68-47c5-999d-bb7053e5f709

Shtienberg, Gilad, Dix, Justin K., Shahack-Gross, Ruth, Yasur-Landau, Assaf, Roskin, Joel, Bookman, Revital, Waldmann, Nicolas, Shalev, Sariel and Sivan, Dorit (2017) Anthropogenic overprints on natural coastal aeolian sediments: a study from the periphery of ancient Caesarea, Israel. Anthropocene, 19, 22-34. (doi:10.1016/j.ancene.2017.08.004).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Near surface sediment stratigraphy associated with ancient human settlements can potentially reveal the complex history of human impact. This study explores such impacts in the area around ancient Caesarea, a well-known Roman to Early Islam period metropolis in the central coastal plain of Israel, with analysis of human-induced macro-features and microscopic remains found in buried sediments. We retrieved these anthropogenic markers through boreholes and analysed them with sedimentological and radiometric dating techniques, integrated with archaeological and historical records. The analysis identified a refuse deposit comprising two grey loamy sand artefact-bearing facies bedded between late Holocene aeolian sand. One anthropogenic facies represents an urban garbage mound and the other may be an agricultural pedo-sediment, both dated to the Roman to Early Islamic periods. The grey pedo-sediment, contained in three boreholes in the lowlands south of Caesarea, covers an area of at least 1.4 km2. Apparently improved in terms of soil fertility, we postulate that the pedo-sediment is the outcome of composting enrichment of the soil for agriculture. Taking advantage of the high coastal freshwater aquifer in the study area, we propose that the pedo-sediment represents buried agricultural plots. The comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach demonstrated in this study of cored sediments outside ancient human settlements is among the few in the coastal area of the southern Levant. It could be relevant to other archaeological sites in the Mediterranean and elsewhere around the world.

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Accepted/In Press date: 17 August 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 24 August 2017
Published date: 1 September 2017

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Local EPrints ID: 414724
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/414724
ISSN: 2213-3054
PURE UUID: a9d9041e-72ac-4e2c-8ec6-a5a7c3508df8

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Date deposited: 09 Oct 2017 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 04:58

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