Assessing the effects of geomorphological processes on archaeological densities: a GIS case study on Zakynthos Island, Greece

M. Gouma, G.J. van Wijngaarden, S.K.A. Soetens

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademic

Abstract

While geomorphological processes are considered key factors in the distribution of archaeological surface finds, few studies have attempted to quantify the relationship between artefact dispersal and erosional/depositional patterns. This paper compares Unit Stream Power Erosion Deposition model (USPED) and Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) and integrates the results in the archaeological finds' density map of Zakynthos Archaeological Project. The study area (Palaiokastro), with artefacts dated from middle Paleolithic to medieval times, includes a steep terrain with a surrounding plain area, where the downslope erosion has considerably modified the distribution of archaeological remains. Through this study, it is possible to identify relationships between high artefact densities and stable/non-eroded surfaces, and on the other hand, low densities and eroded surfaces. However, the results indicate a degree of spatial variability, which modifies the predicted relationship. The consideration of the effects of these temporal and spatial patterns is crucial for developing effective sampling methods and accurately interpreting the archaeological record. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2714-2725
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume38
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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