Abstract

Our study focused on the investigation of climate change and the fate of lead in soils from the Low Volga region of Russia over 3500 years. We used a comparative analysis of the modern soils and palaeosols preserved under burial mounds, which date back to the Middle Ages and the Early Iron and Bronze Ages. A climate reconstruction showed periodic changes, with the most humid climate conditions occurring during Golden Horde period. However, we could not find any consistent changes in Pb concentration and profile distribution following the climate change. We observed a clear difference in Pb isotopic ratios between the lower and upper horizons both for the modern and buried profiles, reflecting the influence of atmospheric lead depositions. However, there is no statistically significant difference in Pb isotopic ratios between the upper horizons of buried and modern soils (except modern soils collected in the vicinity of a motorway). This means that either anthropogenic input due to long range air transport was insignificant, or that airborne anthropogenic lead and natural airborne lead have similar isotopic composition.

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