Following comments I did some research and discovered that typically in the
UK around 1g/m2/day of dust arrives from earth and a smaller but still
appreciably large quantity arrives from outer space in the form of meteorite
dust. (Although the figures reflect atmospheric dust and discount leaves,
rain splatter, bird droppings, cow pats etc, which may be a much larger
impact on organic and mineral soil transportation)
However, when I worked through the sums I was surprised to find it came to
around 1-10cm of dust over a millennium so quite clearly this can't account
for the meters on some sites.
I was interested to have a look at a garage wall that fell down around a
year ago and since has been left to "grow weeds".
It may be stating the obvious but the broken wall seems to encourage grass
to grow and somehow promotes the overgrowth of weeds. The broken down walls
must form an ideal home for all sorts of creatures from mice to bumble bees
and thence earwigs and woodlice, all of whom bring into this new home
enormous amounts of organic remains.
The rubble and plant growth must also provide a still area of air which is
ideal for dust extraction and therefore receive much higher than the average
dust (both space and earth sourced) i.e. there are plenty of pockets to
receive the dust from which it is all but impossible for the wind to extract
But at the end of the day perhaps the main reason for burial of archaeology
is purely statistical-
If 50% of sites are on actively eroding ground - they have disappeared.
leaving the 50% of sites on actively depositing ground which is preserved
under protective soil
QED --> all archaeology is buried!
----- Original Message -----
From: "McCrone, Peter (NE)" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 9:33 AM
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] How does archaeology get buried?
Soil is a mixture of minerals and organic material.
However much of archaeology isn't actually soil either, not in the true
sense of it, but deposition of material in other ways other than soil which
is generally 'created' in situ.
Soil does move under gravity but not very far and most certainly does not
migrate 'en mass', even as wind blown, apart from the occasional mudslide.<
When you say that soil doesn't migrate 'en masse' do you count loess as soil
or is it simply a mineral deposit which hisnt technically soil (I know its
pargely just post glacial but its an example of large scale movements in the
past). Similarly are sand blows soil or mineral (haivng worked on a site
where the first bit of work was to remove a mettre or so of sterile sand
from over the archaeology (a deposit which probably covered hundreds of
hectares). There are also historical references to 'warping' using
embankments to trap silt laden water to create new farmland, which could
result in two or three feet of deposits - on the other hand this may not
count as 'large scale' in global terms. Can you elaborate a bit on that
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