Environment

Modern farming data could help archaeologists identify where to dig, say Bristol researchers

Land analysis reveals clues to ancient cultivated soils.Friday, 8 December 2017

By Jonathan Manning
Imaging that shows farmers where to fertilise their fields can also reveal to archaeologists the presence of ancient cultivated soils.

Researchers at Bristol University have discovered that data from modern precision faming could be of huge value to archaeologists.

Cutting edge technology deployed to measure soil variations and manage small areas of farmland more effectively, such as geochemical mapping, yield recording and multispectral imaging from drones and satellites, could also provide valuable information to archaeologists about where to dig.

Henry Webber, a PhD student in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at Bristol University, said the farm data was useful because, “archaeological remains are often buried within cultivated soils.”

He added that the soils, “also provide a unique context for learning about the archaeological remains themselves both spatially and vertically, providing vital and sometimes detailed records of soil history and depositional processes.”

The findings are published in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences.

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