Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

A 3300-year atmospheric metal contamination record from Raeburn Flow raised bog, south west Scotland

Küttner, A., Mighall, T. M., De Vleeschouwer, F., Mauquoy, D., Martínez Cortizas, A., Foster, I. D. L. and Krupp, E. (2014) A 3300-year atmospheric metal contamination record from Raeburn Flow raised bog, south west Scotland. Journal of Archaeological Science. 44, pp. 1-11. 0305-4403.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: There is now a plethora of records of atmospheric metal deposition across Europe based on total concentrations and calculated enrichment factors. However, to place such records into an archaeological context and to identify anthropogenic contamination signals more accurately, it is important to separate the signals derived from anthropogenic activities from those of a natural origin. This study presents a new 3300-year record from a bog in the vicinity of Hadrian's Wall and the Northern Pennine orefield in order to generate a new atmospheric metal deposition record for this archaeologically important part of the British Isles. For this purpose multi element geochemistry was undertaken to apportion the contribution of trace metals (lead, zinc, copper, arsenic and mercury) and sulphur as a result of mining/metallurgy and/or geogenic processes. To extract the different contributions through time we used total concentrations and enrichment factors (EF), and applied principal component analysis (PCA) to the dataset. The PCA extracted 7 components: at least two components are necessary to elucidate the trace metal distribution. Zinc, arsenic and lead are mostly related to atmospheric pollution, while mercury and copper appear to be more closely associated with organic matter. Based on these results four phases of lead contamination have been identified that date to: I, c. 2350–1500 cal BP; II, c. 1050–700 cal BP; III, c. 500–350 cal BP and IV, 250 cal BP–present. Copper enrichment also occurs during the Bronze Age (c. 3150–2800 cal BP). Peaks in other metals do not always correspond with lead and they may have been caused by other land use changes or processes that operate internally within the bog. Although the lead can be attributed to both anthropogenic and geogenic sources, its down profile pattern is in accordance with contamination records elsewhere in Britain and Europe, and the lead enrichment recorded at Raeburn Flow suggests that the Northern Pennine orefield was exploited for metals during the late Iron Age and Roman period.
Additional Information: A pre-publication version of this article was made available electronically by the publisher in February 2014
Uncontrolled Keywords: Trace metals, raised bog, Roman, Scotland, PCA, metallurgy, mining
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology > CC79.36 Soil science in archaeology
T Technology > TN Mining engineering. Metallurgy > TN400 Ore deposits and mining of particular metals
T Technology > T Technology (General) > T37 Industrial archaeology
Creators: Küttner, A, Mighall, T M, De Vleeschouwer, F, Mauquoy, D, Martínez Cortizas, A, Foster, Ian D L and Krupp, E
Publisher: Elsevier
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > School of Science and Technology (2010-2016)
Faculties > Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology > Environmental Science
Date: April 2014
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 1-11
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Archaeological Science
Volume: 44
Language: English
ISSN: 0305-4403
Status: Published / Disseminated

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item