Soil Micromorphology

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Micromorphology of Soils

Micromorphology of Soils


Archaeology is a historical discipline that studies on the real sources of the historical past of mankind. It is an academic discipline that studies the changes occurring in society, through material remains distributed in space and content over time. Thus, we must put aside the traditional view that as “an auxiliary science of history, archeology deals with the prehistory and material documents that complemented those periods not sufficiently illuminated by the written sources.” Today, archeology is considered as an autonomous social science. Its main objective is the study of changes in social organization and the diversity of human behavior (economic, political, and ideological) in the past (Cremin, 2007, pp. 54). This is often achieved through the study of material remains in defined spatial and temporal contexts. It is for this reason that archeology has a particular interest in providing a clear temporal sequence (diachronic divisions) that are divided into periods, although there are archaeologists who tend to specialize in a period, also pay attention to events before and after this period, this pattern is an exception Urban Archaeology, where it is not possible to establish temporary divisions or diachronic. There are numerous of subjects which are of archaeological interest such as the micromorphology of soils.

Soil is the surface portion of the lithosphere transformed by a combination of weathering and biological activity. After a shorter or longer pedogenesis, the soil tends to balance the natural vegetation, wildlife, climate and mineral material. The slightest variation in any of these factors will shift the pedogenesis towards a new balance, conditioning, in the second half of the Holocene by human activities. The ground, remembering the past, records the stages of pedogenesis, includes witnesses of ancient environments (pollen, charcoal, molluscs ¤) and accumulates many anthropogenic artifacts (pottery, tools, building materials, seeds and charred wood). If, by chance, it is covered by a well-dated archaeological structure (mound, hillock, wall), it continues to evolve and fossilized reaches us as a paleosol (Holliday, 2004, pp. 89).

Micromorphology of Soils

The study of soils and ancient sediments provides information on rural life (type of land use, technical work, the effects of human occupation in the mid). Micromorphology is a method of study of undisturbed soil samples with the help of microscopic techniques (and sometimes ultramicroscopic), to identify its components, determine their mutual relations in space and time, and interpret their formation conditions. Particular care must be taken so that during the sampling phase, transport, and obtaining the thin film (microscope slides) there is no deformation of the soil sample. To perform a microscopic study, soil sample preparation is required, which preserves the unchanged soil structure, and a petrographic microscope. The micromorphology uses these features to make interpretations, usually on the processes of soil formation. It deals exclusively with the description of the thin soil (Douglas & Thompson, 1985, pp. 54). The micromorphology of the soil is the observable attributes of the land area within the various soil horizons, with the description of the ...
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