The first encounter between archaeologists and the sites or areas of their study is the topsoil. Still, very little attention is paid to the processes that create the matrix of the topsoil and the archaeological assemblage contained within it, and hence to what data can be obtained from it. This paper, which is part of a larger study on the formation of the archaeological record at Tel ‘Eton, aims to reconstruct the way the topsoil was formed. For this purpose, we studied not only the mound's topsoil and archaeological layers below it, but also the site's environment, in terms of texture (sedimentation/decantation method), color (Munsell charts), phosphate concentration (Olsen method) and vegetation (aboveground plant biomass). Results showed differentiation between the sampling groups and geographical settings in all the measured parameters – in both values and variance. The data imply that the mound’s topsoil was created by an upward movement of materials and their homogenization in the topsoil. Our results strongly suggest that these processes are likely to be more frequent on mounds, compared to their uninhabited environment. Beyond new insights on the processes of archaeological soil formation, this study has implications for both chemical and archaeological phenomena, such as the presence of artifacts on the surface, the color of archaeological soils, the widespread use of archaeological sites for agriculture (from antiquity to the 20th century), and the provenance of mud-brick material.
- Archaeological Record
- Matrix Composition; Anthropogenic soil
- Plant-Soil Feedback
- Site Formation Processes
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes