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A microarchaeological approach for the study of pits

AuthorsBalbo, Andrea ; Cabanes, Dan; García-Granero Fos, Juan José ; Bonet, Anna; Ajithprasad, P.; Terradas-Batlle, Xavier
Issue Date2014
PublisherW.S. Maney & Son
CitationEnvironmental Archaeology 20/2 : 2015
AbstractThe study of the technology underlying pre-industrial storage structures has an interest from an anthropological and archaeological perspective, in terms of the evolution of key cultural and cognitive capabilities, often related to the transition to food production. Microarchaeological techniques offer a unique perspective on the study of pre-industrial storing technologies. In this work, examples are presented from two archaeological contexts in different climatic and socio-ecological situations during the Holocene in S Asia and SW Europe. Microarchaeological techniques used in this study include micromorphology, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and phytolith analyses. The comparative study of two pits highlights key aspects of the decision-making process involved in technological solutions of storage: • The choice of a location for the construction of a given storage facility is highly affected by contextual climatic, microclimatic, soil and bioturbative factors • The time taken to consume stored foodstuffs seems to affect technological investment as much as the intrinsic conservation requirements of the stored taxa • The use of fire to hygienise pits implies that such structures were not conceived for single use • Pre-industrial storage systems can be seen as modular structures, which components (e.g. topographical location, sediment type, lining type, hygienisation techniques and cover) can be recombined to improve storage performance for different climatic settings and foodstuffs.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/1749631414Y.0000000044
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