EGU22-2222, updated on 27 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

How to determine the anthropogenic signal at less settled spatially bounded archaeological sites?

Martin Janovský1,2, Alžběta Danielisová3, Jan Horák1, Barbora Strouhalová3, and Daniel Bursák3
Martin Janovský et al.
  • 1Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Ecology, Czechia (
  • 2Charles University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology, Czechia
  • 3Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Archaeology, Czechia

Our research on spatially bounded Iron Age enclosure of the Viereckschanze type in southern Bohemia made it possible to distinguish the anthropogenic influence of the Iron Age from modern human activities. We collected over 456 samples from 200 cores to a depth of up to one metre. Samples were measured using pXRF to determine the content of the following elements: Al, Si, P, K, Ca, Ti, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, As, Rb, Sr, Zr, Pb, and LE – ‘light elements’). Subsequent isometric log-transformation of ppm elemental contents and PCA allowed to distinguish the prehistoric anthropogenic influence from the current modern one. The result of the analysis is as follows: 1) the P signal typical for archaeological settlements was found mainly outside of the enclosure; 2) the conventional anthropogenic signal from the inside of the enclosure was only represented by Mn; 3) other elements related to possible anthropogenic activities were revealed only after applying statistical analysis (As, Pb, Zn, Cu); 4) the unusual manifestation of Si and Ti was connected to the archaeological contexts. The combination of these results (Cu, Zn, Pb) and magnetic measurements revealed places of metallurgical activity inside Viereckschanze. It is certain that the site was not only a place of residential activity, but also of production activity. Viereckschanze was only occupied for a short period of time.

The presented abstract is adapted from the article published in Catena in 2022.



This work was supported by the Czech Science Foundation [Project: Mobility of materials and life cycles of artefacts: archaeometry of metals and glass of the La Tène and early Roman period; project number: 18-20096S]. M.J. was supported by project “Geochemical insight into non-destructive archaeological research” (LTC19016) of subprogram INTER‐COST (LTC19) of program INTEREXCELLENCE by Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic.

How to cite: Janovský, M., Danielisová, A., Horák, J., Strouhalová, B., and Bursák, D.: How to determine the anthropogenic signal at less settled spatially bounded archaeological sites?, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-2222,, 2022.