Abstract

Sixty three soils samples, fourteen samples of previously excavated archaeological material, and five background soil samples taken at the Silchester Roman Town of Calleva Atrebatum in the County of Hampshire, United Kingdom were analysed by the Mobile Metal Ion (MMI) method for a total of fifty three elements. Samples from within the town walls showed considerably higher concentrations than samples outside for many elements; Au, Ag, Cu and Sn were in extremely anomalous concentrations, Bi, Cd, Hg, Mo, P and Pb were anomalous and Sb and Zn in elevated concentrations. The overall pattern of element distribution is one of an annulus of higher elemental concentrations surrounding a centre of generally lower values centred on the previously excavated Forum basilica. The elements Zr, Ti, Th, Ti, Tl, Nb, Sn, Sc, Cr, Co, Sb, Bi, Ce, Nd (and all other REEs), show similar distributions to one another, and their distribution and that of the noble and base metals, as highlighted by various additive indices, is considered to be the result of metallurgical processing on site. The low values for most elements around the Forum basilica are the result of disturbance of the soil geochemical profile in this area by previous archaeological excavation.

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