Using palaeo-environmental proxies to reconstruct natural and anthropogenic controls on sedimentation rates, Tell es-Safi/Gath, eastern Mediterranean

Oren Ackermann, Noam Greenbaum, Avner Ayalon, Miryam Bar-Matthews, Elisabetta Boaretto, Hendrik J. Bruins, Dan Cabanes, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Frank H. Neumann, Naomi Porat, Ehud Weiss, Aren M. Maeir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mediterranean landscapes have been characterized by the ongoing interaction between natural processes and anthropogenic activities over several thousands of years. However, separating the relative contributions of these two factors in shaping the landscape has proved to be difficult. With reference to three excavated probes located in the environs of the archaeological site of Tell es-Safi/Gath (central Israel), we outline a methodological approach that may aid in distinguishing between the impact of natural and anthropogenic agencies on the accumulation of sediment fills. We conclude that at Tell es-Safi/Gath, natural geomorphic processes were the major factors that shaped the landscape, but anthropogenic activity is expressed in a brief period of time as evidenced by a high sedimentation rate, combined with high δ13C values, a relatively high quantity of phytoliths, and a high concentration of charred particles. This anthropogenic signature is interpreted as resulting from the destruction of the site by Hazael, King of Aram Damascus (ca. late 9th century BCE). This research demonstrates how high-resolution multi-disciplinary sampling of probes for dating, C isotopic composition, phytolith characterization, pollen analysis and assessment of sedimentation rates, in combination with the study of human cultural history at an archaeological site, may facilitate the distinction between natural and anthropogenic causes of sedimentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-82
Number of pages13
JournalAnthropocene
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - 11 Aug 2014

Keywords

  • C isotopic composition
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • OSL
  • Phytoliths
  • Pollen
  • Tell es Safi/Gath

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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