Methods, Techniques, Interpretations and Field Examples
Part IV Biological Investigations: The Archaeology of Living Matter 319
Part IV Biological Investigations: The Archaeology of Living Matter The fourth part of the volume does not pretend to cover all the disciplines and scientific methods that can be called upon during the process of a garden excavation. Rather, the main objective is to comprehend what soils are, considered to be the contexts for artifacts and artifacts themselves in garden archeology. Gardens are the results of a complex relationship between nature and culture, and soils reflect and embody this dialectic. The previous chapters have mentioned how the choice of geophysical instruments and the sampling strategies depend upon the quality of the soils, and how archaeologists should be attentive to the texture and the color of soils that are the result of both natural and human activities and therefore are considered by archaeologists as signatures of gardens. The section is divided into four chapters written by scientists: a pedologist, two botanists, and an entomologist. The first chapter, “Soil Investigations” by John Foss, is the key chapter to understanding the material nature of gardens. Foss defines garden soils, their characteristics, and the factors of their variety, and discusses the “optimum approach in using a soils investigation” to help evaluate former gardens during the three stages of the excavation developed in Part I and II by Gleason. The next four chapters, by Mark Harrocks, Eberard Grüger, and Hiram Larew, present some of the biological residues that can be retrieved from soils that provide precious information on the past ecosystem of former gardens....
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