Thin Section Soil Micromorphology

thinsection
Thin section
mssamples
Preparation for sampling anthropogenic sediments
Sampling
Sampling

Thin section soil micromorphology is a microscopic method that investigates undisturbed soils and sediments. Thin sections are produced from soils and sediments and their analysis provides information on the natural and built environment. With the aid of a polarising microscope, the various building components (organic and non-organic materials) of the soils and sediments and the effect of humans and natural elements can be studied. Thin section soil micromorphology is one of the numerous methods of soil sciences, which is most widely applied in archaeology today. If this method is used in the case of natural soils, information can be gained to the reconstruction of former environments.

Microphotograph of charred grains
Microphotograph of charred grains

However, if the method is used for the analysis of anthropogenic sediments, data on (pre)historic everyday life (activities, use of space) can be collected. In the latter case the method is called thin section soil-micromorphology of anthropogenic sediments, as components (e.g. ceramic and daub fragments, cereals) exclusively connected to human presence will appear.

Microphotograph of floor plaster
Microphotograph of floor plaster
Wall plasterings in thin section
Wall plasterings in thin section

Thin section soil micromorphological analysis of the Százhalombatta-Földvár environment provided additional information on the settling of the area. The intact woodland became disturbed as a consequence of human appearance. Trees were cut down and houses, working areas were prepared during the Bronze Age. The microscopic analysis of ancient building materials and building techniques gave additions to the reconstruction of houses and buildings. Microscopic evidence of human activities and the use of space is also investigated at Százhalombatta-Földvár. This is highly important during the reconstruction of everyday life of ancient cultures. So far, evidences of various domestic activites (e.g. food preparation, firing, maintenance, trash desposal, animal husbandry) could be detected at the tell.