Pedogenetic Features of Habitation Deposits in Ancient Towns of European Russia and their Alteration under Different Natural Conditions

Alexander L. Alexandrovskiy, Andrey V. Dolgikh


Over the centuries,
layers of habitation deposits (or archaeological cultural layers) of
up to 5–10 m in thickness have formed in towns and cities of
European Russia. These specific deposits may be referred to as
urbo-sediments. They consist mainly of the remains of buildings
constructed out of wood, stones, bricks, or other materials and may
also include traces of manure and diverse municipal wastes. Their
composition and morphology depend on the natural conditions of the
territory. In the humid northern forest regions of European Russia,
the accumulation of wood remains, manure, and other organic
substances is active. Thus, organic urbo-sediments are formed and
the decomposition of organic matter in the deposits is hampered due
to the high moisture content. In the ancient and medieval towns in
the semiarid zone of southern Russia, such deposits consist of
remains of mudbrick or adobe made of loess. Over the course of time,
these deposits have been transformed as a result of the impact of
pedogenetic processes developing under humid conditions in the North
and under arid conditions in the South. In ancient towns in the
forest zone with humid climate and poor drainage conditions, thick
urbo-organic layers, consisting of a peatlike mass saturated with
woody remains, have formed, whereas in the steppe zone, urbo-mineral
sediments have developed.

Palabras clave

geoarchaeology; cultural layer; urban soil; pedogenic processes; ancient towns; European Russia.

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