M. Edgeworth, 2014. "The relationship between archaeological stratigraphy and artificial ground and its significance in the Anthropocene", A Stratigraphical Basis for the Anthropocene, C. N. Waters, J. A. Zalasiewicz, M. Williams, M. Ellis, A. M. Snelling
Download citation file:
This paper investigates the relationship between archaeological stratigraphy (in archaeology) and artificial ground (in geology) and considers their wider application to the investigation and characterization of the Anthropocene. Evidence from two archaeological case studies is used to illuminate key points. The first case study examines stratigraphic sequences from beneath the city of Leicester, UK; the second looks at stratified deposits within the prehistoric settlement mound of Abu Hureyra, Syria. Earthworks, riverworks and cultivation soils are also considered. Archaeological and geological perspectives are combined to develop a unified view of anthropogenic deposits that cover large parts of the surface of the Earth.
Figures & Tables
Humankind has pervasively influenced the Earth’s atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and cryosphere, arguably to the point of fashioning a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. To constrain the Anthropocene as a potential formal unit within the Geological Time Scale, a spectrum of indicators of anthropogenically-induced environmental change is considered, and shown as stratigraphical signals that may be used to characterize an Anthropocene unit, and to recognize its base. This volume describes a range of evidence that may help to define this potential new time unit and details key signatures that could be used in its definition. These signatures include lithostratigraphical (novel deposits, minerals and mineral magnetism), biostratigraphical (macro- and micro-palaeontological successions and human-induced trace fossils) and chemostratigraphical (organic, inorganic and radiogenic signatures in deposits, speleothems and ice and volcanic eruptions). We include, finally, the suggestion that humans have created a further sphere, the technosphere, that drives global change.